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ROSE BOWL | USC VS. TEXAS

BCS title games

January 04, 2006|Jim Barrero

* Where: 2005 Orange Bowl, Miami.

* Who: No. 1 USC 55, No. 2 Oklahoma 19.

*--* 2004 SEASON

*--*

* Attendance: 77,912.

* MVP: Matt Leinart, USC.

* What happened: In the most one-sided of all the BCS title games, the Trojans completed their first undefeated season since 1972 and won their 11th national championship after a strong performance by Leinart, the Heisman Trophy winner. The quarterback completed 18 of 35 passes for 332 yards and an Orange Bowl-record five touchdown passes, including three to Steve Smith. USC generated 525 yards of offense and had its highest-scoring game of the season against an Oklahoma defense that was giving up an average of 13.7 points. The Trojan defense held Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson to 82 yards in 25 carries and intercepted three passes by 2003 Heisman winner Jason White. USC forced four first-half turnovers and built a 38-10 lead by halftime.

* Key play: With the score tied, 7-7, Oklahoma's Mark Bradley tried to field a punt that had rolled inside the five-yard line. Instead, USC's Collin Ashton knocked the ball loose and Josh Pinkard recovered at the six to set up a Trojan touchdown, triggering an avalanche of offense.

* Bottom line: USC became the first school since Nebraska in 1994 and 1995 to win consecutive national titles and also the first since Florida State in 1999 to start the season ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll and maintain the ranking to the end.

*--* 2003 SEASON

*--*

* Where: 2004 Sugar Bowl, New Orleans.

* Who: No. 2 Louisiana State 21, No. 1 Oklahoma 14.

* Attendance: 79,342.

* MVP: Justin Vincent, LSU.

* What happened: The BCS had a problem when three one-loss teams stood at the top of the college football pile at the end of the regular season. With 11-1 USC left out of the picture despite being ranked No. 1 in the writers' and coaches' polls, LSU's victory in the BCS title game ended up being a tad anticlimactic. USC had already defeated Michigan in the Rose Bowl and was voted No. 1 in the Associated Press poll, producing college football's 11th split national championship and the first since 1997. In the Sugar Bowl, LSU's defense certainly earned its keep by holding Oklahoma's top-ranked offense to 154 total yards, more than 300 off its season average. LSU's Marcus Spears returned a third-quarter interception 20 yards for a touchdown and the Tigers' final points. LSU clinched it when Lionel Turner sacked Oklahoma quarterback Jason White on fourth and 10 with less the two minutes left.

* Key play: After Oklahoma blocked a punt deep in LSU territory and scored to make it 7-7 in the second quarter, the Tigers marched 80 yards in nine plays and took back the lead on an 18-yard touchdown run by Vincent.

* Bottom line: LSU earned a share of its first national title since 1958 and quarterback Matt Mauck, dismissing the BCS controversy, said, "I don't know how you could possibly not consider us the national champions."

*--* 2002 SEASON

*--*

* Where: 2003 Fiesta Bowl, Tempe, Ariz.

* Who: No. 2 Ohio State 31, No. 1 Miami 24 (2 OT).

* Attendance: 77,505.

* MVPs: Craig Krenzel, Ohio State; A.J. Hawk, Ohio State.

* What happened: In the most dramatic of the seven BCS title games to date, the Buckeyes won their first national championship since 1968 and put an end to the Hurricanes' 34-game winning streak after a controversial ending. Running back Maurice Clarett scored on a five-yard run in the second overtime to give the Buckeyes the lead and the Ohio State defense held Miami on four plays after the Hurricanes had a first and goal at the two. On fourth down at the one, Buckeye linebacker Cle Grant put pressure on Miami quarterback Ken Dorsey and forced him into an incompletion to clinch the victory. Miami had been a 13-point favorite but three turnovers during regulation led to 17 Ohio State points.

* Key play: Trailing, 24-17, in the first overtime, Miami thought it had won the game when Krenzel, the Ohio State quarterback, threw an incomplete pass on a fourth-down play at the five. But a late flag resulted in a pass-interference penalty on Miami's Glenn Sharpe and Krenzel later scored on a one-yard run to push things into the second and decisive overtime.

* Bottom line: Miami suffered its first loss since September 2000 and the drama of it all inspired Ohio State Coach Jim Tressel to say, "That's what the national championship game should look like -- double overtime."

*--* 2001 SEASON

*--*

* Where: 2002 Rose Bowl, Pasadena.

* Who: No. 1 Miami 37, No. 2 Nebraska 14.

* Attendance: 93,781.

* MVPs: Ken Dorsey, Miami; Andre Johnson, Miami.

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