Orange Bowl does not live to hype

Jan. 7, 2005, midnight | By Adith Sekaran | 16 years ago

Sooners falter again

Wednesday night's Orange Bowl between the number one and two teams in college football was supposed to be one of the most compelling in the history of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS). The number two seed, Oklahoma Sooners, were challenging the number one seed, the University of Southern California Trojans. Both teams' rankings remained the same throughout the regular season and both posted identical 12-0 records. All over the country this game was discussed as a once in a lifetime event. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a blowout by the Trojans.

The Trojans won the game with the final score 55-19, a rather strange score for teams of such similar talent. Two quarterbacks, who have all the goods to succeed in their professional careers, head both teams. Also, each has won the Heisman trophy, the biggest individual award in college football. The Sooners' quarterback, Jason White, won the award last year. With another stellar season, he was once again one of the five Heisman finalists. This year his counterpart, Matt Leinart of the Trojans won. Two more of the remaining finalists appeared in the Orange Bowl. Both running backs, Adrian Peterson of the Sooners and Reggie Bush of the Trojans, were Heisman trophy finalists.

The game started off matching the expected hype. White led the Sooners' down the field on a near perfect 92-yard drive, resulting in a touchdown and the first score of the game. Ironically for such a potent Oklahoma offense, this was probably the best drive of their day. The Sooners became one dimensional after the Trojans' defense became one of the few to contain freshman running back Adrian Peterson. Peterson was one of the focal points of the Oklahoma attack, but against the Trojans he only ran for 82 yards on 25 carries. This was only his second game where he did not rush for over 100 yards, in a remarkable season in which he ran for 1843 yards with 15 touchdowns.

The other problem for the Sooners was that their much-heralded defense was no match for Leinart and the rest of the Trojans. The defense gave up seven touchdowns and two field goals. Leinart threw for 332 yards with five touchdowns against a defense that had not allowed a single touchdown in their last three games. While this was an uncharacteristic failure by a defense coached by Bob Stoops, the defense does not deserve the blame for the excellent field position of the Trojans.

The Sooners committed four turnovers in the first half alone, each leading to Trojan points. The momentum of the game was changed by one key mistake by the Sooners special teams. Matt Bradley, the son of the famous Sooner quarterback Danny Bradley, tried to pick up a kickoff inside the Oklahoma five yard line. He was hit by a Trojan and fumbled the ball giving the Trojans the ball six yards away from their end zone. The Trojans pounded it into the end zone and made the score 14-7. From here, the Sooners failed to even compete.

On the next Sooner possession, White made a pass into quadruple coverage resulting in an interception. White was blitzed but the pass almost looked like a long ball out of frustration. This turnover led to another Trojan touchdown drive and the score became 21-7. Trojan freshman wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett at 6' 5" was six inches taller than the cornerback on him, Marcus Walker. Leinart exposed Jarrett's height advantage on this drive that culminated with a 54-yard pass to him.

The night would not get any better for the Sooners, after two more turnovers in the first half, including another interception by White, led to a halftime score of 38-10, heavily in favor of the Trojans.

For Stoops and his team, this year's Orange Bowl was déjà vu.

Last year, the Sooners were undefeated and looked to be the favorites until the last few games of the season. This loss was White's second consecutive in BCS title games, as the Sooner lost last year to Louisiana State University (LSU). The Sooners were looking to make up for last postseason's blunders in the Sugar Bowl and Big 12 championship game. Instead, they were demolished by the Trojans, in one of the worst losses ever for this prestigious Oklahoma program.

This is the second year the Trojans have won the National Championship. However, last year they only won part of the National Championship because they were not invited to the Sugar Bowl. This team has the makings to be a dynasty because unlike Oklahoma, they are not losing many of their starters. Leinart, a junior, will probably return for his senior season. Bush is just a sophomore and should be able to improve his already gaudy numbers in his junior season. Jarrett, one of their tall receivers, is a freshman. This Trojan team should be a good team for years to come.

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Adith Sekaran. Adith Sekaran is finally a senior at Blair. Adith is a man who is a big time sports fan and can spend any day to its' entirety watching sports or ESPN. Football season is his favorite, which he spends cheering on his ‘Skins to no … More »

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