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Sunday, 4 January 2015

Remembering the 2006 Rose Bowl 9 Years Later: USC vs. Texas

January 4th, 2006, if you are a diehard Texas Longhorns’ fan you know what this date signifies. This was the date Texas experienced arguably the greatest day in their prestigious college football history.

On this Wednesday night, Texas saw their program achieve something they haven’t accomplished in 35 years and ended one of the greatest dynasties the sport has ever seen. Texas not only ended a streak that was one of the best, but defeated a team that was deemed as one of the best ever to take the field in the sport’s 150 plus year history.

I am of course talking about the 2005 national championship game between number one USC and number two Texas. It was a game for the ages and by most accounts the greatest college football game ever played. It was a scene combined with a script that you couldn’t picture in a Hollywood movie.  

It was a battle of two Heisman winners in Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart against the Heisman Trophy finalist Vince Young of Texas. It was the battle of the team of the century against the team of destiny. This game changed lives, futures, careers and most importantly the game of college football.

On the nine year anniversary of this historic game, I wanted to take a look back and relive the moments of that night that people will never forget. It was a 68 degree night in gorgeous Pasadena, California in what seemed to be heaven on earth for college football fans.

The burnt orange and white of Texas mixed with the red and yellow of USC just seemed to be college football royalty together at once. The pregame hype of this game couldn’t possibly be matched and be duplicated by the actual game on the field and it wasn’t, it blew past the hype.

Texas and USC put on a game for the ages that will live in college football and sports lure forever. There were so many factors that made this game perfect, well unless you were an USC fan.

There are tons of numbers, facts and stats that could be given to describe this game, but rather than doing that I just want to relive the atmosphere and emotion that this game provided. It was something that you want to describe to the younger generation, but unless you actually lived through the 2005 season and the actual day of January 4th, 2006 it doesn’t do this occasion justice.

Texas quarterback Vince Young stole the night with his 267 passing yards on 30 for 40 passing and 200 rushing yards on 19 attempts. He turned the Rose Bowl into his own personal stage and put on the performance of a lifetime. Young showed that the unthinkable can be done and that the impossible can be accomplished by just one individual.

Young’s winning touchdown on a 4th and 5 with 19 seconds remaining will live in Longhorns’ football lure forever. I personally feel this is the greatest play in the history of Texas Longhorns’ football with everything that was at stake.

As it has been well documented, the game of the century was in 1969 between Texas and Arkansas. Texas defeated Arkansas 15-14 in dramatic fashion to take home the 1969 national championship and their second overall as a program.

That was the game of the century, but if we had to give a name to the Texas and USC battle I would say the game of the millennium. Texas captured the 2005 national title trophy and in the process won their 800th game in program history.

It was the sweetest victory of them all and still feels like a dream to the most diehard of fans in Longhorn land. Texas ended USC’s 34 game win streak and prevented what would have been the first three peat national title winner since Minnesota in the 1930’s.

The Longhorns showed on this perfect January night that dreams can come true and that one person can accomplish more than imaginable. Texas’ football has had a ton of memorable moments, historic wins, all-time great players, but in terms of moments the 2005 national title game on January, 4th, 2006 has to rank as the greatest of them all.

Texas ended the 2005 season 13-0 and set numerous team and college football records. The Longhorns scored an incredible 652 points during the 2005 season and held their 13 opponents to a combined 213 points. Their combined total margin of victory of 439 points is one of the greatest in the history of college football, which dates back to November, 6, 1869.

So, as we come to another January 4th date the moment is perfect for Texas’ fans to sit back and reflect for a moment on what was the greatest time in the history of Texas’ football. The nine years since then have not been the best of Times in Austin, but when you sit and recall that January 4th, 2006 night and the season it capped off everything seems just fine in Longhorn land.

The 2005 season was titled by some “The Dream Season” and I second that 110 percent. There has always been the saying that the night is still young, well on January 4th, 2006 the night was Young’s and always will be.


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