2006 Rose Bowl
|2006 Rose Bowl|
|presented by Citi
92nd Rose Bowl Game
National Championship Game
|Date||January 4, 2006|
|MVP||Offensive: Vince Young (Texas QB)
Defensive: Michael Huff (Texas S)
|Favorite||USC by 7|
|Referee||David Witvoet (Big Ten Conference)|
|United States TV coverage|
|Announcers:||Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts, Todd Harris and Holly Rowe|
|Nielsen ratings||21.7 35 Share|
The 2006 Rose Bowl Game, played on January 4, 2006, was a college football game that served as the national championship of the 2005–2006 Bowl Championship Series (BCS). It featured the only two unbeaten NCAA Division I-A teams: the defending Rose Bowl Champion and Big 12 Champion Texas Longhorns played Pac-10 titleholders and 2-time defending AP National Champions, the Southern California Trojans.
The game was a back-and-forth contest, and the Texas victory was not secured until the final nineteen seconds of the game. Vince Young, the Texas quarterback, and Michael Huff, a Texas safety, were named the offensive and defensive Rose Bowl Players Of The Game, respectively. Young's game winning touchdown run was named the fifth greatest play in college football history by ESPN. The game is widely considered one of the greatest games in the history of college football.
Texas' Rose Bowl win was the 800th victory in school history and the Longhorns ended the season ranked third in Division I history in both wins and winning percentage (.7143). It was only the third time that the two top-ranked teams had faced each other in the history of the Rose Bowl, with the 1963 Rose Bowl and 1969 Rose Bowl games being the others.
This was the final game ever called by longtime broadcaster Keith Jackson (as well as the final Rose Bowl to telecast under ABC Sports branding); the 2007 Rose Bowl would be an ESPN on ABC presentation.
Pre-game buildup 
Southern California entered the game with a 34-game on-field winning streak, then the longest active streak in Division I-A, having been named 2003 AP National Champions by the Associated Press. (Many of those wins have since been vacated due to NCAA sanctions surrounding illegal benefits given to USC's Reggie Bush.) Texas brought the second-longest active streak, having won 19 straight games, and also entered as Rose Bowl defending champion, having defeated Michigan in the 2005 Rose Bowl. Their combined 53-game win streak was an NCAA record for teams playing each other. The game was also the first to have matched teams ranked first and second in every iteration of the BCS standings. This was Texas's second trip to the Rose Bowl in two years (and second trip in the history of UT football).
A few weeks before the game, USC's Reggie Bush won the Heisman Trophy (since vacated in 2010) ahead of second-place finisher Vince Young. Bush had the second highest number of first place votes in Heisman history (behind O.J. Simpson) and the highest percentage of first place votes, while Young had a record number of second place votes. Bush's 933-point margin of victory was the 17th highest in the history of the Heisman voting. The other finalist was USC's Matt Leinart, who had won the Heisman trophy in 2004. This meant that the Rose Bowl would mark the first time that two past winners of the Heisman trophy had ever played in the same backfield.
The 2006 Rose Bowl was, in the eyes of many, the most-anticipated matchup in college football history. Both teams were considered to be good enough to win the National Championship had they existed in different years instead of having to play each other. USC had been ranked No. 1 since the preseason and Texas had held the No. 2 spot that entire time. Prior to the game, some commentators had postulated that the 2005 USC team was one of the greatest college football teams of all time. ESPN analysts were virtually unanimous in their declaration of the 2005 USC Trojans as the best offense in the history of college football, despite the fact that they did not lead the nation in points scored (Texas did). Lee Corso was one of the rare analysts who said that Texas was a better team and that they were going to win. ESPN analysts Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit declared, before the 2006 Rose Bowl had even been played, that the 2005 USC Trojans were the second best college football team of the past 50 years (May placed them behind only the 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers; Herbstreit behind only the 2001 Miami Hurricanes). This led to Texas fans at the Rose Bowl mockingly chanting "Best...Team...Ever" during the post-game celebration. Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated later observed, "ESPN spent the better part of Christmas season comparing that Trojans squad to some of the most acclaimed teams of all time only to find out that they weren’t even the best team that season."
Game summary 
First quarter 
Southern California received the opening kickoff and managed just three yards against a Texas defense that was especially stout early in the game. Aaron Ross fumbled the ball on the ensuing punt return, committing the first of four Texas fumbles on the day (although the only one that would be lost), and the Trojans recovered. A 23-yard Leinart pass to senior fullback David Kirtman, who received a hard hit from Cedric Griffin knocking off Kirkman's helmet and forcing him to leave the game briefly. Kirkman finished the game with three catches for 61 yards on the day, set up a four-yard touchdown run by running back LenDale White, a bruiser who out-rushed his speedy counterpart, Bush, on the day, gaining 124 yards on 20 carries. Kicker Mario Danelo's extra point gave Southern California the early seven-point lead. The teams twice exchanged possessions to end the first quarter, as each defense held the opposing offense in check.
Second quarter 
On the second play of the second quarter, Reggie Bush exploded for 35 yards off a Leinart pass, reaching the Texas 18-yard line before attempting to lateral pass the ball to an uncovered teammate; the loose ball was recovered by Texas strong safety Michael Huff. The Pac-10 coordinator of football officiating later stated that the Reggie Bush pass was incorrectly officiated, because the pass that had been ruled a lateral was, in fact, an illegal forward pass, after which the Trojans would have maintained possession of the ball. Young drove his team 53 yards on the ensuing possession, twice hitting senior tight end David Thomas, who finished the day as Vince Young's leading receiver, catching 10 passes for 88 yards. The Trojans' defense tackled sophomore running back Ramonce Taylor five yards behind the line of scrimmage, forcing a fumble, which was recovered by Vince Young for an additional five-yard loss. A Texas field goal attempt was thus forced, and David Pino converted from 46 yards to cut the Texas deficit to four.
On USC's next possession, Leinart once more drove his team into Texas territory, this time to the 25-yard line, before throwing an interception to Texas free safety Michael Griffin, who appeared to be out of the play but ran halfway across the field before making a leaping catch and barely staying in-bounds, in the end zone. The turnover ended a second Trojans' drive with Southern California in scoring position. In the forthcoming Texas drive, Vince Young connected with wide receiver Limas Sweed, who caught eight balls for 65 yards on the day, for a key first down. Vince Young then led his team with his legs, capping the drive by running 10 yards before throwing a lateral pass to open running back Selvin Young, who ran for 12 more for the touchdown. The lateral, made after Young's knee had touched the ground, was not reviewed because of issues with the replay equipment. The game continued with a failed extra point attempt by Texas, which, not knowing of the equipment issues, appeared to rush the attempt hoping to get the play off before the previous play could be reviewed. The national coordinator of NCAA football officiating later asserted that Young's knee had been down, and expressed confusion about how the call had been handled.
A defensive stop on USC's next possession series and a 15-yard punt return gave Texas the ball near midfield, and, once again, the Longhorns capitalized with Vince Young finding Thomas for 14 yards on one play, and Taylor running 30 yards for a touchdown on another. The subsequent Pino extra point took the Longhorns lead to 16–7. On the next drive, Leinart threw a pass intended for Reggie Bush that was grabbed by Texas linebacker/safety Drew Kelson. However, Kelson landed on his back after catching the pass and the ball popped out. The pass was ruled incomplete, and again, equipment issues meant no review was possible. The USC drive continued with a Leinart pass to wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett, the top Trojans receiver of the day with 10 catches totaling 121 yards, a quarterback keeper of 14 yards, and a Bush 12-yard run took the Trojans to the Texas 13-yard line with 40 seconds to play in the half. However, two sacks by defensive tackle Frank Okam pushed Southern California back 13 yards and forced the Trojans to use two timeouts. Consequently, a Danelo 43-yard field goal allowed USC three points, and the half ended with Texas still ahead, the score then 16–10.
Third quarter 
The Trojan defense came back strong from the halftime break and forced a punt on the Longhorns' opening drive of the third quarter. During the following USC drive, Leinart hit Jarrett for three passes totaling 35 yards, and White added the final 17 yards over two carries, capping the seven-play, 62-yard drive with a three-yard touchdown run, his second of the game. The touchdown put the Trojans ahead by one, 17–16.
Behind the running of Jamaal Charles, who finished the game having carried the ball five times for 34 yards, and Vince Young, who ran the ball 19 times for 200 yards in the game, Texas quickly answered on their possession. Vince Young scored the first of his three rushing touchdowns from 14 yards out, and Pino's successful extra point attempt moved the Longhorns back ahead, 23–17.
The lead changed hands once more with 4:07 to play in the third quarter, as Leinart hit tight end Dominique Byrd for two of his four catches and 21 of his 32 yards in the next drive and set up the next score. Although USC had been stopped on a 4th and short attempt earlier in the game, they decided to make the same gamble again on 4th and 1 from the 12, and this time White muscled it all the way to the endzone to record his third rushing touchdown of the game and 57th of his career, setting a Southern California record.
The Longhorns reached Southern California territory on the ensuing drive, with a 45-yard run by Vince Young constituting most of the work, but ultimately the Trojans forced a field goal attempt from the USC 14-yard line, and, on the first play of the fourth quarter, David Pino missed a 31-yard kick that would have put his team ahead by two.
Fourth quarter 
Behind the precise throwing of Matt Leinart, who despite his one interception, finished the day with otherwise stellar numbers, completing 29 of 40 passes for 365 yards and one touchdown, the Trojans drove 80 yards over nine plays in 3:36. Reggie Bush scored his only touchdown of the game on a 26-yard run to end the drive. (Bush finished the game with 95 yards on just six catches and gained 82 yards on 13 carries; he also averaged 20.2 yards on five punt returns.)
The Longhorns’ next possession began with an apparent reception and fumble by Jamaal Charles which would have given USC the ball on the Texas 40, but a controversial replay ruled the catch incomplete. Two Vince Young completions to wide receiver Billy Pittman, who caught four passes for 53 yards on the day, helped the Longhorns drive to the USC 17-yard line on the next possession. When Young fumbled on third down, Texas settled for a 34-yard field goal that brought the Longhorns to within five, 31–26.
On their ensuing possession, The Trojans gained 48 yards with a 33-yard Leinart pass to Kirtman and a 15-yard roughing-the-passer penalty. This set up a 22-yard toss from Leinart to Jarrett – a play during which Texas cornerback Tarrel Brown was injured while trying to tackle Jarrett at the goal line. Brown and a teammate collided as Jarrett stretched the ball over the goal line, and the successful extra point attempt gave USC its biggest lead of the game, 38–26.
As Texas took the ball trailing by two scores with just 6:42 to play in the game, Young accounted for all 69 yards of a Longhorns' scoring drive that took just 2:39 to complete, rushing for 25 (including a 17-yard touchdown run) and completing five passes for the rest of the necessary yardage. (For the game, Young completed 75 percent of his passes – 30-of-40 – for 267 yards, with no passing touchdowns and no interceptions.) A successful Pino extra point again brought Texas to within five with 3:58 to play.
Though the Longhorns' defense yielded one first down on the subsequent Southern California drive, it held the Trojans, who turned to LenDale White on a third down at midfield only to see him lose the ball and have it recovered by wide receiver Steve Smith just two yards short of a first down. A Texas timeout stopped the clock with 2:13 to play. Then, in what may have proven to be the most pivotal coaching decision of the game, Trojans coach Pete Carroll elected to give his #2-ranked offense (behind only Texas), which had averaged 582.2 yards and 50.0 points per game on the year, an opportunity to convert fourth down and two at the Texas 45-yard line. However, pre-snap adjustments by the Texas defense, who had failed to stop this same play three times all leading to USC touchdowns, caused White to only gain slightly more than one yard, and Southern California turned the ball over at the Longhorns' 44-yard line with 2:09 to play in the game.
During the next and final Texas drive, the Longhorns faced third down and twelve and converted for a first down at the USC 46-yard line after a completed pass for seven yards and a Trojans face mask penalty. From there, Young rushed once for seven yards between two passes totaling 26 to little-used wide receiver Brian Carter, moving the ball to the USC 14-yard line. Facing fourth and 5 from the 9-yard line, Young received the shotgun snap and found his receivers covered. Young then bolted towards the right sideline and received a critical block from Justin Blalock as he won the footrace to the end zone. The score, Young's third rushing touchdown of the game, gave the Longhorns a one-point lead with 19 seconds left to play. When Texas lined up for two, USC used their last time out. Vince Young successfully reached the end zone on the ensuing two-point conversion, giving his team the 41–38 lead. The lead held as Leinart took the ball with only eight seconds left and no timeouts, and was only able to drive the Trojans to the Texas 43-yard line before time expired. The loss would be only the second of Leinart's college career, and the first Rose Bowl loss for USC since the 1989 game.
Analysis and aftermath 
Vince Young was named the MVP of the Rose Bowl for the second time (the first time being the 2005 Rose Bowl) becoming only the fourth player in the long history of the Rose Bowl (and, to date, the only player from a Big 12 Conference team) to accomplish this feat.
Though the Trojans converted on 57 percent of third downs on the day (to only 27 percent for the Longhorns), they were unable to gain two yards on the Texas defense when such gain likely would have ensured a Trojans victory. They also hurt themselves with two turnovers in Texas territory early in the game. Mack Brown, previously maligned for his inability to win big games, thus ended the fourth-longest winning streak in Division I-A history – and the longest since a 35-game streak by Toledo ended in 1971 – and, behind Young, who accounted for 839 yards of total offense in his two Rose Bowl appearances, won the first national title for Texas since 1970. Vince Young accounted for 467 yards in the championship game, which is the best performance ever in a BCS Championship game. In winning the BCS national championship game, the Longhorns assured themselves of a first-place ranking in the USA Today coaches' poll, and their achievement was confirmed when AP polling sportswriters unanimously voted Texas number one on January 5, 2006; Southern California finished a unanimous second in each poll. On January 11, 2006, Vince Young would be announced as the winner of the Manning Award, given annually to the nation's top quarterback and based in part on bowl results, unlike any other major college football award.
Four players who participated in the game went on to become top ten picks in the 2006 NFL Draft: Reggie Bush (2nd overall, New Orleans), Vince Young (3rd overall, Tennessee), Michael Huff (7th overall, Oakland), and Matt Leinart (10th overall, Arizona). Taitusi Lutui, Fred Matua, LenDale White, David Kirtmen, Winston Justice, Cedric Griffin, David Thomas, Frostee Rucker, Dominique Byrd, Darnell Bing, Jonathan Scott, LaJuan Ramsey, and Rodrique Wright were drafted in the next six rounds. This was the last game of longtime ABC Sports announcer Keith Jackson's broadcasting career, and was also the last college football game aired on ABC under the ABC Sports name, as ABC's sports division began going by the name of corporate sibling ESPN on ABC in September of that year.
The victory, Texas' 800th of all time, gave UT its fourth national championship in football. Since the game, the media, coaches, and other commentators have heaped praise upon the Texas team, Vince Young, and the Rose Bowl performance. For instance, Sports Illustrated called the game "perhaps the most stunning bowl performance ever". Both the Rose Bowl win as well as the Longhorns' overall season have both been cited as standing among the greatest performances in college football history by publications such as College Football News, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Scout.com, and Sports Illustrated. The Longhorns and the Trojans were together awarded the 2006 ESPY Award by ESPN for the "Best Game" in any sport. In December 2006, both Sports Illustrated and Time Magazine picked the game as the Best Sports Moment in 2006. Voters on Yahoo Sports also voted it as the Sports Story of the Year for both college football and overall, edging out 12 other stories in the overall voting and receiving 13,931 votes out of 65,641.
In the days that followed the Longhorns' victory, the Trinity River in Dallas mysteriously turned a "burnt orange" color. Authorities said that it may have been caused by someone dumping dye into the river.
The game received the highest Nielsen ratings for the Rose Bowl since the 1986 Rose Bowl between UCLA and Iowa. In 2007, ESPN compiled a list of the top 100 plays in college football history; Vince Young's game-winning touchdown in the 2006 Rose Bowl ranked number 5.
The 2006 Rose Bowl Game and its unreviewed, controversial officiants' rulings have been cited as a key reason the NCAA Football Rules Committee added a coach's challenge in the subsequent season.
Game records 
|Team||Performance vs. Opponent||Year|
|First downs||30, Texas vs. USC
30, USC vs. Texas
|Rushing yards||289, Texas vs. USC (36 att.)||2006|
|Passing yards||365, USC vs. Texas||2006|
|Total yards||574, USC vs. Texas (209 rush, 365 pass)||2006|
|Individual||Performance, Team vs. Opponent||Year|
|Total offense||467, Vince Young, Texas vs. USC (267 pass, 200 rush)||2006|
|Rushing yards||200, Vince Young (QB), Texas vs. USC (19 att.)||2006|
|Rushing TDs||3, Vince Young (QB), Texas vs. USC
3, LenDale White, USC vs. Texas
|Passing yards||365, Matt Leinart, USC vs. Texas (29–40–1, 1 TD)||2006|
|Field goal||46, David Pino, Texas vs. USC||2006|
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