'04 USC vs '05 Texas Game Preview

The quarterfinals are here! The Scout.com/WhatIfSports.com Tournament of Champions pits 16 national championship teams from 1988 through 2005 in head to head battles to determine just which team from this exciting era of college football would be the best. Here is a look at our final quarterfinal matchup between the '04 USC Trojans and the '05 Texas Longhorns.

This is the dream matchup of the quarterfinals featuring Heisman Trophy winners Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush for '04 Southern Cal against '05 Texas and the incredible Vince Young.

Southern Cal got to this point by scoring 16 fourth quarter points to come from behind for a 30-16 win over LSU. A 45-yard run by LenDale White (138 yards, 2 touchdowns) with 5:32 remaining in the game sealed it for USC to advance. Leinart was an efficient 25-40 for 255 yards and two touchdowns, hooking up with Steve Smith 10 times for 131 yards and two touchdowns. Bush (84 rushing yards, 0 pass receiving yards) was pretty much held in check.

Texas advanced over '00 Oklahoma with a bend but don't break defensive effort. Even though the Longhorns were outgained 454-307, they kept Oklahoma out of the end zone in the second half. Young rushed for 86 yards and passed for 102 (8-18) for Texas. Eric Hall had a sack and an interception to lead a Texas defense that picked off three passes.

Southern Cal's hopes to advance to the semi-finals rest on maintaining balance in the offense and keeping the Texas pass rush out of Leinart's face. For Texas, Young has to step it up and take over the game offensively.

SECOND ROUND EDGE: Southern Cal has all the weapons on offense but Texas has the better defense here. The Texas defense has to get some stops early and keep Bush under control. Still, if the Longhorns don't get more offensive production in this game than they got against LSU, there is no way they can win. The magic number here is 300. If Young combines to run and pass for 300 yards, this will be a Texas victory.

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