It was 4th and 5 from 9 yard line, twenty-six seconds on the clock. The score: 38-33. With two receivers left, one receiver right, and a one back shotgun formation; Texas QB Vince Young took the snap, dropped back in the pocket, rolled to his right as the protection collapsed, and sprinted to the corner pylon.
The QB made it to that pylon untouched, and gave the Longhorns the go ahead score, and the national championship in the 2006 Rose Bowl. Vince Young's National Title game performance: 30-40 for 267 yards through the air, and another 200 yards on the ground to go along with three rushing touchdowns.
Some called the performance the best individual effort in any title game. And, while it certainly ranks up there with the best, it was even more of a response to the Heisman voters who had given the award to Young's Rose Bowl opponent Reggie Bush just days before.
Reggie Bush was undoubtedly a deserving candidate for the Heisman award. The junior had rushed for over 1,700 yards, and racked up 16 TDs on the ground. He also hauled in 37 receptions for nearly 500 yards and a couple more scores. And, on top of all that, he was just shy of 500 yards in punt returns.
But, had the Heisman been given out after the national title game took place, all of those accomplishments would have likely been overshadowed by the efforts of Vince Young as he single handedly carried his Texas team to the national championship.
And, his numbers on the season weren't too shabby either. Young, also a junior, passed for more than 3,000 yards and 26 TDs, while only throwing 10 interceptions; and he also rushed for another 1000+ yards and 12 touchdowns. And let's not forget; Young also scampered for a 19 yard TD just before his game winning one in the Rose, just to give his team a shot.
Of course, these days its a rarity to find a clear cut winner, or to to determine who is the most deserving. Whether it be it be deciding the Heisman or the participants for the college football national title game, there will always be those feel that either they, or their favorite were snubbed.
In hindsight, we can see that it probably made more sense to give Vince Young the award. Whether that be for his on field performance, or for Reggie Bush's on the take performance, Vince Young turned out to be the more deserving candidate.
As it stands today, the Heisman Trophy for the 2005 college football season has been vacated. Due to the receiving of improper benefits (cash), Reggie Bush was stripped of the award, and forced to return it. So even though no one currently holds the Heisman for that year, looking back; who was more deserving? Reggie Bush, or Vince Young? You make the call.
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