It almost looked like a Super Bowl out there!
The USC Trojans are the BCS Champions….and will win their second straight Associated Press Championship [Nebraska last did that a decade ago], marking an end of a great two-season run….or maybe just a continuance of something bigger…of a dynamic era of Trojan pigskin. I guess Auburn will settle for the Golf Digest title.
In a game…that as the last few weeks have gone by….that looked very even on paper, quickly turned into a USC rout when Oklahoma made two huge mistakes and couldn’t hold back the Trojans massive offensive attack.
In the first ever meeting of two Heisman winners, both Jason White and Matt Leinart played pretty well. White’s stats were nice [24 for 36, 244 yds, 2 TD], except in that INT category . Leinart set an Orange Bowl record of 5 TD passes and 342 yards. But White’s bad toss into quadruple coverage in a second quarter that saw Oklahoma meltdown really was the back breaker. Leinart, who became the first Heisman winner to win the National title since Charles Woodson, in the meantime was zipping passes and launching bombs to capitalize on White’s, and others, mistakes.
If I was Matt Leinart….I’d start looking for an agent to represent me in negotiations to be the San Francisco 49ers new QB as the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft.
The game turned on a botched punt return in the second quarter. Sooner returner Mark Bradley watched a short punt hit the ground and roll back into his redzone. As Trojans were running to down it….Bradley inexcusably tried to scoop the ball up and run. He instead got popped instantly, which dislodged the ball and was recovered by USC at the Sooner six yard line. The very next play was a TD run by LenDale White. Right after that….White threw that bad pass, which led to Leinart working of freshman CB Marcus Walker…who got smoked on two straight plays [a 3rd and 18.…then on a “oops blitz”] and USC was up 21-7. Another White pick deep in his own territory quickly turned into another TD and USC didn’t look back as they ended the first half with a 38-10 lead.
And just as the Trojans will be celebrating their second straight National Title [this one for dolo]….the Sooners have the wipe themselves off the championship stage for the second straight year. Last season, the Sooners were beaten in the Sugar Bowl [the BCS title game] by LSU 21-14. While the score wasn’t as bad…the Sooners were completely outplayed by the Tigers. All that means, is that Oklahoma has lost 3 of their last 4 Championship games [last year’s Big XII title game and the last two BCS title tilts.
Coming into this game….the Pac-10 was on a downer. Cal was smacked by Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl after whining about not being in the Rose Bowl. UCLA lost to freaking Wyoming. Oregon State and Arizona State did win…but against struggling teams. Actually, aside from that Tech win and a great Rose Bowl victory by Texas…the Big XII didn’t look that great. Stalwart program Nebraska missed the bowl season for the first time since, what, corn was discovered?? Texas A&M was blown out by Tennessee…basically in a home game. Oklahoma State failed to show up against a tarnished Ohio State [and lose their coach to LSU]. Iowa State and Colorado did win….but barely against Miami-OH and UTEP?
But, this game looked to be a classic. Four of the five Heisman finalists were in this game. The last two winners were at QB. Two of the biggest names in college coaching. Two storied programs in a storied bowl. Two excellent sets of college football fans. The City against the Country. The champ against the top contender.
And the Champ did their thing.
Congrats to Trojan Nation!