Game Day!


Victory!


With just over 6 1/2 minutes left and two touchdowns to go, things looked bleak. You could sense the worry... the doubt... the fear. We all felt it together.

In the first possesion, we received the ball with 69 yards to go... and in just 2 1/2 minutes, we had our first of two touchdowns. We all felt a little relieved with just one score to win but still ahead was the daunting task of stopping the USC offense... something we hadn't done since the first half.

After USC made some progress down the field, their drive stalled just 44 yards from pay dirt. Faced with a fourth down and just two yards to go, USC decided to go for it. As if we needed the reminder, a young fan sitting with us kept saying over and over... "this is the ballgame... this is the ballgame." USC went with their can't miss play... running right up the middle. The play ended and no one in the stadium could tell if they'd made it or not. The result was that close. It came down to the referree's measurement. They brought out the chains to where they had spotted the ball... and as we all watched the jumbotron with baited breath, the ref sat the pole down giving USC the first down. The USC crowd went completley insane... until he then pulled the chain tight and showed that UT had stopped them. The reversal in the stadium was amazing... from total elation on one side to silenve... the reverse on the other. After nearly half of a game without being able to stop their offense, we held them when it counted.

Just as suddenly, the Texas fans became confident. We'd been here before. Down by less than a touchdown late in the game with Vince Young coming on the field. We knew what would happen... the USC fans had to know what would happen. And just like that, with just over 2 minutes left in the game, Vince marched down the field to the 8 yard line.

Faced with a third and 5 on the 8 yard line, Vince threw the ball to Limas Sweed in the corner of the end zone... and Sweed dropped it. Again, the Texas fans screamed in jubilation as the ball sailed towards Limas' hands and then moaned in disbelief as the pigskin hit the grass. Down to one last play... fourth down. And just like he'd done so many times before... in the exact same location in the exact same stadium exactly one year ago, Vince Young kept the ball and ran into the endzone, scoring the winning touchdown. We all went totally crazy. Just six minutes before, we were all sure the game was over and yet here we were winning the game with just 19 seconds left.

Yet, the game was not over. USC had pulled off as many comebacks in their impressive three year run as Texas so nothing was outside the realm of possibility. With USC starting their drive on their own 31 yard line with 19 seconds left, the entire stadium shook with anticipation.

Imagine a time in life where the most extreme levels of elation and dejection co-exist... from one second to the next you swing wildly from one to the next. That is how the last seconds of this game played out for both Texas and USC fans. Their first play of that last drive had Reggie Bush, their Heisman-winning running back caught a pass from Matt Leinart, their Heisman-winning quarterback, and got down to the Texas 42 yard line. Yet again, another wild swing of emotion as for a brief moment, the USC fans felt like they would cap the game with another thrilling comeback.

With the clock winding down, USC made one last attempt, a pass that fell incomplete. There was a brief pause as the collective Longhorn fan base across the world looked skyward to the game clock, watching it tick down to zero.

What followed could only be described as pandemonium. Confetti flew into the air... the team rushed the field... and Texas fans started screaming uncontrollably, jumping up and down, hugging each other, high-fiving, and experiencing that combination of disbelief and joy that is so delicious.

I started crying... I cried at the end of the last Rose Bowl but this was for a different reason. It was a few seconds after the game ended when I realized what this would have meant to my father. Football was one of our biggest bonding times, having travelled together to the Rose Bowl last year. Add to that the fact that my dad was a USC graduate, and you have the makings of a very emotional moment. I can't help but think that my dad played a part in some way... for me... for everyone.



Watch the inital post-game celebration
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The Eyes of Texas - Post game
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Trophy Presentation
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<< Back to Kickoff Go to Ending the Night >>
Tense moment for Texas fans
Tense moment for Texas fans
Tense moment for Texas fans
Tense moment for Texas fans
Scoreboard after Vince scored the winning TD
Scoreboard after Vince scored the winning TD
Final score
Final score
Jonn at the end of the game
Jonn at the end of the game
Jimmy at the end of the game
Jimmy at the end of the game
Proud UT fans
Proud UT fans
The aftermath of the Rose Bowl
The aftermath of the Rose Bowl