Archive for Friday, January 6, 2006

Woodling: Ending to Rose deja vu

January 6, 2006


On the surface, it looked like a bummer, an unfortunate but unavoidable coincidence.

Kansas University was playing a men's basketball game against Yale at the same time as the BCS championship football game between Texas and USC.

Those with tickets to the KU-Yale game would miss most of the football game, and those watching on television would have to do a lot of channel-switching.

As it turned out, however, the Texas-USC game didn't really begin until the KU-Yale game - such as it was - long had ended.

In fact, even though I walked into the house nearly two hours after the basketball game was over, I was able to watch the portion of the BCS championship game everyone will remember.

It was like deja vu, too. I'd seen that ending before.

Texas quarterback Vince Young gained instant immortality Wednesday night by almost single-handedly bringing the Longhorns back from a 12-point deficit in the waning minutes.

Young's tour de force was an astonishing performance on the national stage.

And yet if you were in Kansas University's Memorial Stadium 13 or so months earlier, you would have seen virtually the same act.

Texas was trailing Kansas, 23-13, late in the fourth quarter on that November afternoon. Then Young started the comeback with an 18-yard touchdown run with 4:12 remaining. Compare that to Wednesday night, when his 17-yard TD gallop with 4:03 left started the Longhorns' late run to the national title.

USC had tried to run out the clock, but failed on a fourth-and-one run. In the 2004 game against Kansas, however, the Longhorns were able to regain possession when KU wide receiver Charles Gordon was called for pass interference after catching a third-down pass good for an apparent first down with 2:53 remaining, and KU eventually had to punt.

That call, you'll recall, infuriated KU coach Mark Mangino so much that he blamed the officiating and was fined $5,000 by the Big 12 Conference office.

Even with that big break, the Longhorns still needed at least a field goal to force overtime, but with the seconds shrinking away, they faced a desperate fourth-and-18 situation 55 yards away from the KU goal.

Texas needed a miracle, and Vince Young turned into Our Lady of Fatima. Texas needed 18 yards, and he scrambled for 22, juking linebacker Nick Reid, KU's leading tackler, for the extra yardage he needed. Then, seconds later, with only 11 ticks on the clock, Young threw a game-winning touchdown pass to Tony Jeffery.

At the Rose Bowl, the scenario was only slightly different, with Young scoring the game-winning TD on a fourth-down run with :19 remaining.

In the final accounting, Young ran for 200 yards and passed for 267 in the thrilling victory over the Trojans. In the nail-biter against Kansas, he ran for 114 yards and passed for 289.

Vince Young should have won the Heisman Trophy. He can run, he can pass, and he's a winner. That's right. He can do it all. Those are the reasons I voted for him.

- Sports writer Chuck Woodling can be reached at 832-6348.


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