On the brink of history

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson “We made note of it, had some fun with it on the practice field (Monday night), kind of dedicated the night’s work to it, and Matt went on and lit it up and had a great practice and hit every ball he threw and did it with flair.” Leinart, the 2004 Heisman winner, and Bush, the winner this year, have been key members of a modern dynasty that has already won two national titles and has lost only once the past three years. If they can win what will most likely be the last college game for both of them, their Trojans will become the first team to win three straight Associated Press national titles in the 69-year history of the poll. Leinart is a senior. Bush is a junior but is debating whether to return to USC or declare for the NFL draft, where he would most likely be the No. 1 pick. “My place in history, I don’t really think about it a lot,” Leinart said. “Somewhere in the future, I will probably look back and maybe appreciate this more. I appreciate it now, but at the same time when you’re playing, you’re not thinking, I’m going to do this or do that.’ You’re out there playing. “The emotions are different this game. It’s my last game. I just want to soak it in and enjoy it and have a blast in my last college football game.” Game time is 5 p.m. “They’ve been through a lot,” USC coach Pete Carroll said. “They’ve created a tremendous amount of momentum for us in the program over the years and they’ve been here with all of the winning. And Matt has been the leader of all of that. PASADENA – Matt Leinart will be history tomorrow. Reggie Bush could be, too. But the duo, who have helped resurrect the West Coast’s premier college football power, can make history of another sort tonight if they can lead No. 1 USC past No. 2 Texas in the 92nd Rose Bowl. center_img USC’s team already has been compared to the greatest of all time and could shoot up to the top of the list with a victory over Texas. It could come crashing down with a loss. The Longhorns spent the better part of the last month biting their tongues while members of the media and the public at-large held an early coronation for the 2005 Trojans. Texas watched USC battle legacy teams on ESPN’s SportsCenter, listened as pundits spoke in awe of the Trojans’ 34-game winning streak and read press clippings casually refering to the USC offense as the greatest in the history of the sport. Through it all, the Longhorns have been portrayed as nothing more than a the final footnote on USC’s historic run, an image they’re eager to destroy. “I really appreciate y’all,” Texas coach Mack Brown joked to the press. “You’ve been really good. I don’t need a pregame pep talk.” Texas has been on a storied run of its own the past 15 months. The Longhorns have won 19 straight games, including a 38-37 victory over Michigan in last year’s Rose Bowl that set the stage for the program’s first undefeated regular season since 1983. Quarterback Vince Young has run roughshod over nearly every opponent this year after gaining national prominence with a five-touchdown performance (four rushing, one passing) in last year’s Rose Bowl. The dual-threat quarterback, who has turned the Longhorns’ zone-read offense into his personal showcase, has Texas a win away from its first national championship since 1970. “Vince being so mobile makes it very tough,” USC defensive lineman Frostee Rucker said. “No one can ever simulate that … We don’t see that in the Pac-10.” Texas has the nation’s highest-scoring offense and a defense that has yielded the fourth-lowest point total this year. It also brings a cockiness matched only by the two-time defending champs. “If you’re in this game and you’re not confident, you’re in bad trouble because they’re the ones that scream,” Brown said. “People have talked about the SC team and their confidence and the Texas team. This isn’t a week for a weak guy. You better walk with a swagger and you better feel good about yourself.” USC’s swagger comes from its faith in a philosphy that has guided it to dominant victories in Bowl Championship Series games the past three seasons, including the BCS national championship game at last year’s Orange Bowl. Through Carroll’s preachings, the Trojans have dispatched Iowa, Michigan and Oklahoma in January bowls. If they can do the same to Texas, they will have a place in history all to themselves. “We’d be lying if we said we never looked at the opportunity or the big picture that we could win three straight national titles,” Trojans running back LenDale White said. “This might be the end of this generation of Trojans, but I think the dynasty continues. The guy over there, coach Carroll, he’s going to be hard to stop.” [email protected] (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2239 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! 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