With tonight’s BCS Championship game finally upon us, ScoreBoard takes a look back at our greatest performances in the battle for the crystal football:
5. Andre Johnson and Ken Dorsey (Tie) – Miami Hurricanes, 2002 Rose Bowl
It was the first time in 83 years that both the Big Ten and the Pac-10 didn’t participate in the Rose Bowl, and the result left many feeling that the Rose Bowl tradition should never be broken again. Coming in was arguably the greatest college football team in the modern era from Miami. On the other side of the field was a team from Lincoln, Nebraska many didn’t think should have been there in the first place. Not only did they fail to win their own conference, but didn’t even have the chance to play for the conference championship – thanks to a 62-36 pummeling by Colorado. Stacked with arguably the greatest NFL prospective backfield in college football history with Clinton Portis, Willis McGahee, and Frank Gore – it was the aerial assault of Ken Dorsey and Andre Johnson who powered the Hurricanes to their first and only BCS Championship. Dorsey finished with 362 yards on 35 attempts while fellow co-Rose Bowl MVP Johnson finished with 7 catches for 199 yards and two touchdowns as Miami embarrassed the Cornhuskers 37-14. Meanwhile, the Canes’ defense held Heisman Trophy winning QB Eric Crouch and the Nebraska offense to a season low 239 yards and no offensive touchdowns.
4. Peter Warrick – Florida St. Seminoles, 2000 Sugar Bowl
Led by freshman phenom Michael Vick, Virginia Tech entered the 1999 BCS Championship game with one of the nation’s best offenses, outscoring their opponent by an average of 31 points a game, and a defense ranked 3rd in the nation. But it was the Peter Warrick show in the 2000 Sugar Bowl. The Florida State receiver grabbed 6 catches for 163 yards and scored a Sugar Bowl record 20 of the Seminoles’ 46 points; including touchdown catches of 64 and 43 yards. Warrick also returned a punt for a 59 yard score and added a two-point conversion from Chris Weinke as FSU downed the Hokies 46 to 29, making it the highest scoring Sugar Bowl in history.
3. Oklahoma Sooners Defense – 2001 Orange Bowl
In only his second year as a collegiate head coach, Bob Stoops brought the Oklahoma Sooners back to national prominence and firmly established himself as one of the premiere coaches in college football. And it all started with the Sooners defense in the 2000 BCS Championship game against defending National Champions, Florida State. Led by Orange Bowl MVP Torrance Marshall, the Sooners hounded Heisman winner Chris Weinke and held the Seminole offense scoreless for the entire night. In becoming the only undefeated team in the 2000 season, the Oklahoma defense held the Seminoles to 27 yards rushing, only 274 yards passing on an incredible 51 attempts, forced 3 fumbles, and picked off the Heisman winner twice. The Sooners’ 13-2 victory remains the lowest scoring BCS Championship game.
2. Matt Leinart – USC Trojans, 2005 Orange Bowl
It was the first game in the history of college football where two Heisman Trophy winners squared off against each other. With four Heisman finalists, there has never been a more prolific group of college football players assembled on one field. Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush on one side of the field. Jason White and Adrian Peterson on the other. Undefeated USC versus undefeated Oklahoma. The buildup was immeasurable. But in the end, the result was…well…total annihilation. After falling behind early 7-nothing, Leinart and the USC Trojans stormed back to score 55 of the next 58 points in a 2004 BCS Championship game blowout. Leinart silenced the critics, who thought the Heisman belonged to Oklahoma’s Peterson, finishing with 332 yards passing and an Orange Bowl record 5 touchdowns. Meanwhile, Heisman runner up Peterson finished with only 82 yards on 25 carries, a pedestrian 3.3 yards per carry average.
1. Vince Young – Texas Longhorns, 2006 Rose Bowl
It has been called by many as the greatest game in college football history. USC came in with a 34-game winning streak, while Texas boasted a 19-game streak of their own…which included entering this contest as the defending Rose Bowl champions. With that year’s Heisman winner Reggie Bush having his worst game of the season, Vince Young led the Longhorns back from a 12 point fourth quarter deficit and propelled Texas to its fourth national championship. Young finished with a Rose Bowl record 467 yards of total offense, including 200 yards rushing, and three touchdowns…none more spectacular than his game winning run on 4th and 5 with 19 seconds remaining to seal the epic 41-38 victory.