Texas Was Anything but ‘Lucky' Against USC

The Los Angeles Times can do better than this. In a special story about "unlucky" moments in Los Angeles sports history, this is what the Times had to say about 2005's Rose Bowl:

USC held a 7-3 lead in its BCS title game against Texas when Longhorns quarterback Vince Young seemed to touch his knee down before throwing an option pitch that went for a touchdown. The play was screaming for a replay review, but on college football's biggest stage of the season, the replay-review system malfunctioned, depriving officials of the right play to review. The illegal touchdown stood, setting up Young's final scrapbook moment - fourth-and-five from the Trojans' eight, an obvious passing situation. USC plays it that way, looking for a pass that never comes, as Young pulls the ball down and sprints for the pylon for the winning score. Texas fans and the national media immediately declared Young "unstoppable," but here we saw it differently. Here we are aware of the truth. Here we know that twice in that big game, Young was nothing but awfully lucky.

Oh puhleeeze. Let's talk about that game a little bit, after the jump.

Facts are facts, so let's address Young's "knee" situation.

Was it down? Sure looks like it, but honestly - whatever. I've seen enough games in my life to know things are rarely decided that early in a game. If that touchdown had catapulted Texas to a scoring binge, maybe the writer has a point, but USC recovered just fine and held the Longhorn scoring offense in check most of the night. USC recovered from that allegedly bad break well enough to have an 11-point lead late in the 4th quarter. It had zero effect on their end-game performance.

The truth is that Young made a great play. He had the presence of mind to pitch the ball as he was going down to a teammate who ended up scoring. Reggie Bush tried the same thing later on in the same game to disastrous effect. Good ideas both times, but only one man properly executed it.

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As for the game-winning touchdown, that had nothing to do with luck. USC's defense almost perfectly defended the pass play Texas called, but their end charged inside instead of playing to contain creating a gaping lane for Young to walk into the end zone. That's called USC making a bad play and Vince Young making a good play, not luck. The rest is history.

As a fan, a situation like that first half pitch can be frustrating, and replay probably should have spotted the ball where Young went down. However, I was there and realized Texas was going to score on that drive regardless of what replay did. Arguing about that moment in the Rose Bowl is lame and needs to be put to bed except for future reference about how not to organize replay in championship games.

Texas was not lucky in that game. They were good, they were prepared and they played well enough to win a close one in the end. That's preparation and a transformational athlete making things happen.

USC's hometown paper cannot reasonably complain about Texas being lucky. They can talk about USC being unlucky (which I'll buy, as the Trojan defense was decimated with injuries heading into a game against a great offense) or arrogant (which I'll buy - where was Reggie Bush on the crucial 4th and two?). They can talk about USC making stupid plays like Reggie Bush's foiled pitch or Matt Leinart's floating end zone interception on what would have been a wide-open touchdown pass.

All of that is debatable. Texas' "luck" isn't.

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