As the orange and white confetti rained down on Vince Young, Mack Brown and the rest of the Texas Longhorns following one of the greatest college football national championship games ever played, the 93,987 in attendance at the Rose Bowl, and millions more watching on TV, knew they had just witnessed history.
Young danced into the end zone on a remarkable run that put Texas ahead of favorite USC by one point, and then by three, 41-38, with 19 seconds left to play after the Longhorns legend completed the 2-point conversion to seal the game and the long-awaited national championship for Texas.
The Trojans, with their two Heisman trophy winners, quarterback Matt Leinart and running back Reggie Bush (who later returned the trophy following NCAA violations), and riding a 34-game winning streak, were the favorite to win the game.
So just where does this sensational, back-and-forth battle between the season’s only undefeated teams rank among the greatest sports moments of all-time?
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The publication has released its latest undertaking: The 100 Greatest Moments in Sports History. With a passage entitled, “The Night is Young’s,” SI ranked the unforgettable night on Jan. 4, 2006 as the 34th greatest sports moment of all-time.
So cool, in fact, that of eight college football moments selected for the top 100, only one ranked higher: The unforgettable Cal-Stanford marching band game in 1982. Called “The Play,” SI deemed it the 29th greatest sports moment ever.
It’s hard to believe more than a decade has passed since Texas claimed its last football national championship. Much has changed since. Young’s NFL career never blossomed after a promising rookie season, and Brown is three years removed from coaching the Horns.
That’s Charlie Strong’s job now, and unfortunately for him, he doesn’t have Vince Young.