The game of the week this week is Clemson/FSU but I really don’t feel like watching any of the Bowden bowls right now. So instead we will look back at the 2005 USC at ND game that is most famous for the “Bush Push” at the end of the game.
While this year’s USC/ND game has almost none of the ‘05 versions hype it is still fun to reminisce of this game because of Reggie Bush (xoxo) and Charlie Weis. The big guy was in his first season in South Bend and had ND ranked in the top 10 and felt bold enough to break out the green jerseys for this game. Despite the fact that they lost this game ND ended up giving Weis an absurdly large contract that they will be paying for the next decade.
To be fair though this game was awesome and had entertaining touchdowns and the crowd was alive at Notre Dame Stadium. Lets take a look back at one of the more entertaining games of the last decade…
Who and When: #1 USC at #9 Notre Dame October 15, 2005 330pm
Announcers: Tom Hammond and Pat Haden
The Situation: USC was ranked #1 and had won 27 games in a row coming into this game. They had an absurd offense that included Heisman winner Matt Leinart, RBs Bush and White, Steve Smith and Dwayne Jarrett at WR and an NFL offensive line. Despite being loaded they had struggled in first half games against Oregon and Arizona State before pulling away in the 2nd half. ND on the other hand was feeling confident under their new coach Weis and were 4-1 with their only loss coming at home to Sparty in the infamous “plant the flag” game. ND had a bye week prior to this game and used the time to craft a “schematic advantage” over USC. (I had to use it somewhere.)
USC: QB Matt Leinart, RBs Reggie Bush and Lendale White, WRs Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith, OL Fred Matua and Ryan Kalil, DL Lawrence Jackson and Sedrick Ellis, LB Keith Rivers
Notre Dame: QB Brady Quinn, RB Darius Walker, WR Jeff Samardzija and Maurice Stovall, TE Anthony Fasano, DB Tom Zibikowski
The Game: Here is the full game if you have lots of time and no life
Normally I don’t like music in these highlights but the dramatic music from Star Wars is a nice touch here by the video editor. Not every game can pull off such music.
:11: Tom Hammond has never SEEN a better atmosphere in his life. This is meaningful people.
:30: Flea flicker gone horrible wrong. Quinn throws an int to Keith Rivers. USC DOMINANCE IS HERE TO STAY
:38: Reggie Bush hurdles people on his way for his 1st TD of the day. 7-0 USC
1:05: Travis Thomas TD run for ND. All tied up at 7-7. (Thomas would be a LB the next year. Charlie Weis=Genius)
1:23: Lendale White TD 14-7 USC. I like to think if I was a football player I would have been Lendale White
2:10: Samardzija TD pass from Quinn, 14-14. This music is really dramatic
2:41: Tom Zbikowski punt return for a TD. 21-14 ND. I assume at this point Brendan Meyer was just assaulting people out of joy in the stands.
3:15: Matt Leinart Int. Uh oh, starting to get in Matty’s head.
3:30: Creepy view of Touchdown Jesus. I assume he was just messing with all the ND fans by them leading at halftime.
3:48: Another Leinart Int. Not sure he will make it in the NFL you guys. (Yes he will, he is too good and focused on football.)
3:58: Reggie Bush TD #2. 21-21. When in doubt give it to number 5.
4:21: Overly dramatic Anthony Fasano fumble. You would have thought someone would have gotten their hand cut off with a lightsaber.
4:52: FG ND, 24-21 4th Q
5:24: Screen pass to Darius Walker that Weis reacts to like ND just run the Super Bowl. Its just a screen pass dude. This leads to a missed FG
6:20: Reggie Bush reverse
6:30: Pete Carroll somehow morphs into a play calling poodle. I think I am going to go as this for Halloween. Everyone will get it.
6:45: Reggie Bush TD #3. 28-24 USC. The drama is at an absurdly high level.
7:02: Even the Moon looks dramatic
7:30: Quinn TD run, 31-28 ND. They might just pull this out.
7:50: 4th and 9 pass to Jarrett to break ND fans hearts.
8:03: To even further break their hearts it looks like the clock runs out on a Leinart run but the ball was fumbled out of bounds
8:23: The Bush Push. 35-31 USC wins and stays unbeaten.
Fallout from the game: USC would go on to play Texas in the National title game and lose in just as epic fashion but on the bigger stage. They would continue to be good for another 3-4 years before Carroll left and Kiffin took over.
Weis would get a fat contract because of this near win and take ND to a BCS game where they got crushed by OSU and Troy Smith. (I know the feeling.) Quinn and many others returned in ‘06 to high hopes which lead to another 10 win season but no wins over anyone in the top 10. From there it all went south for Charlie Weis who ended up bottoming out and Brian Kelly getting hired.
Now it is USC is looking for its new coach and in the meantime will have Ed Orgeron entertain us on the sidelines. I know they won’t hire him full time but it is fun to dream.
This was 8 years ago, this week, and it feels like yesterday. People started showing up on campus on Tuesday. I remember the Gameday guys saying theyve never seen an atmosphere quite like it. 100 years from now and this will still be the biggest heartbreaker of them all; losing at the horn to your arch rival and #1 team in the country in your Senior year is a tough pill to swallow. In hindsight, this game defined Weis’ legacy more so than any other. It’s sad to think that his biggest “win” was a loss to SC.