No one has ever played a better game on college football's grandest stage. The Texas quarterback threw for 267 yards, ran for 200 more and accounted for three touchdowns as the Longhorns stunned USC 41-38 to win the 2005 national title. Young's final touchdown came on an eight-yard run on fourth down late in the fourth. "I wasn't nervous at all when the ball was in his hands in the fourth quarter," Texas defensive tackle Rodrique Wright said, "because I knew he was going to get it done."
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Ndamukong Suh vs. Texas
Texas was supposed to blast Nebraska and waltz into the BCS title game, but Suh refused to let the Longhorns ascend so easily. Facing double teams and getting held on almost every play, Suh singlehandedly dismantled one of the nation's best offenses. He finished with 12 tackles (seven for loss) and 4.5 sacks in what would have been an all-time upset had officials not used video replay to discover that one second remained on the clock after Texas quarterback Colt McCoy's final throw hit a stadium railing. The Longhorns kicked a field goal as time expired and won 13-12.
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Darren McFadden vs. LSU
LSU learned how dangerous Arkansas tailback Darren McFadden could be when he ran for 182 yards and two touchdowns in a 31-26 LSU win in 2006. But the Tigers couldn't develop a scheme to stop McFadden during the offseason. In the 2007 meeting, McFadden ran for 206 yards and three touchdowns and also threw for a score as the Razorbacks stunned the eventual national champs with a 50-48, triple-overtime win.
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Adrian Peterson vs. Texas
Oklahoma's fabulous freshman from Palestine, Texas, started his career with four consecutive 100-yard games, but he saved his best game for the national stage. Peterson shredded fifth-ranked Texas for 225 yards on 32 carries in a 12-0 win. While Peterson ground down the Texas defense and controlled the clock, Oklahoma's defense did the rest. The shutout was the first for Texas in 282 games.
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Alex Smith vs. Texas A&M
The first mid-major team to bust the BCS asserted its dominance right out of the gate thanks to its junior quarterback. With a national television audience watching on a Thursday night, Smith completed 21-of-29 passes for 359 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Smith ultimately led the Utes to a Fiesta Bowl win against Pittsburgh and became the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 NFL draft.
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Crabtree could have stepped out of bounds and let Texas Tech try a field goal to win, but the Red Raiders were using a kicker they'd found during an in-game contest, and Crabtree thought he sensed an opening. So, with the clock ticking down, Crabtree spun to his left and broke free, sprinting into the end zone for the touchdown that ultimately knocked Texas out of the national title race. Crabtree finished the 39-33 win with 10 catches for 127 yards and one enormous touchdown.
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Tim Tebow vs. South Carolina
Heisman Trophy voters had almost come around to the idea of giving the award to a sophomore when the Gators traveled to Columbia. In case anyone was still on the fence, Tebow erased all doubt, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for five more in a 51-31 win. "That was a Heisman performance tonight," Florida coach Urban Meyer said. "In fact, it was one of the best performances by a football player that I have ever seen."
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Roy Williams vs. Texas
Oklahoma defensive coordinator Mike Stoops told his star strong safety Williams not to jump. Williams didn't listen. With Texas backed up near its own goal line, a blitzing Williams launched himself over fullback Brett Robin and into quarterback Chris Simms, who tried to throw the ball away but ended up throwing directly to Oklahoma linebacker Teddy Lehman. Lehman danced two yards into the end zone. Williams intercepted Simms' next attempt -- the third consecutive Simms pass to be intercepted -- to cap the Sooners' 14-3 win. "He's the best defensive player I've ever been around," OU coach Bob Stoops said of Williams.
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Reggie Bush vs. Fresno State
Bush seemed to play his best when USC needed him most. A month after the "Bush Push" helped the Trojans beat Notre Dame, USC trailed Fresno State by eight at halftime. Bush put on a show in the third quarter, scoring two touchdowns to help USC build its lead. On the second touchdown, a 50-yarder, Bush blew the minds of everyone in the Coliseum with a juke along the left sideline that broke at least two of Newton's laws. The Trojans won 50-42, and Bush finished with 513 all-purpose yards.
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Darren Sproles vs. Oklahoma
Oklahoma entered the 2003 Big 12 title game ranked No. 1 in the BCS and left ranked No. 2 in the Big 12 thanks in part to Sproles, the speedy, dual-purpose dynamo who confounded the Sooners all day. Sproles ran for 235 yards and caught three passes for 88 yards and a touchdown -- a 60-yarder -- as the Wildcats rolled to a 35-7 win.
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Troy Smith vs. Michigan
In one of the most meaningful meetings in one of college football's best rivalries, Ohio State's Smith put an exclamation point on his Heisman Trophy resume by tearing apart the second-ranked Wolverines for 316 yards and four touchdowns in a 42-39 victory.
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Aaron Rodgers vs. USC
USC's 2004 national title run almost came to an end because Cal quarterback Rodgers simply couldn't miss. He completed his first 23 pass attempts, breaking the NCAA single-game record and falling three short of former Tennessee quarterback Tee Martin's consecutive completion record set over two games. Unfortunately, Rodgers cooled at the worst possible time -- with an assist from the USC defense. He had completed 29-of-31 passes when the Bears lined up for first-and-goal from the USC nine-yard line with less than two minutes remaining. In the next four plays, he was sacked once, and threw three incompletions. Cal fell 23-17 but Rodgers' accuracy against one of the nation's best defenses turned him into a Heisman Trophy candidate.
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Byron Leftwich vs. East Carolina
Several thousand fans left at halftime, when Marshall trailed East Carolina by 30. Leftwich would make those fans regret their haste. The Marshall quarterback led the Thundering Herd to a 64-61, double-overtime victory in the highest-scoring bowl ever. Leftwich completed 41-of-70 passes for 576 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score. "Lord, have mercy," East Carolina coach Steve Logan said. "I hope everyone got their money's worth."
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Paul Posluszny vs. Ohio State
Buckeyes quarterback Troy Smith seemed to have time to throw after he rolled to the right, but Posluszny came screeching through a gap and tossed Ohio State quarterback Troy Smith to the turf for a 10-yard loss the effectively ended Ohio State's day. Penn State held on for a 17-10 win; Posluszny finished with 14 tackles, and he was named the Big Ten defensive player of the week for the third consecutive week.
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Colt McCoy vs. Oklahoma
Sam Bradford had better numbers (387 passing yards, five touchdowns), but McCoy led his team to victory when it mattered most. Down five midway through the fourth quarter, McCoy completed all four of his passes on a 74-yard drive that ended with Cody Johnson crashing over the goal line to give Texas the lead against top-ranked Oklahoma. The Longhorns went on to win 45-35, and McCoy finished with 277 passing yards and a touchdown.
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Rohan Davey vs. Illinois
Davey had gotten knocked out of LSU's win against Tennessee in the SEC title game, but he returned with a vengeance against Illinois in the Sugar Bowl, eviscerating the Illini for 444 passing yards and three touchdowns as the Tigers rolled to a 47-34 victory.
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Drew Brees vs. Michigan
Purdue kicker Travis Dorsch missed a potential game-winning field goal with 2:11 to play, but he got another chance thanks to quarterback Brees, who moved the Boilermakers from their own 41 to the Michigan 17 in 1:33 to set up Dorsch's game-winner with four seconds remaining. Brees threw for 286 yards and two touchdowns, and ran for 80 yards in the 32-31 win. In the process, Brees broke Chuck Long's Big Ten record for passing touchdowns and Mark Hermann's conference record for passing yards.
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Larry Fitzgerald vs. Texas A&M
Fitzgerald, then a Pittsburgh sophomore, already had racked up big numbers, but his nationally televised performance against Texas A&M made him a household name among college football fans. Fitzgerald caught seven passes for 135 yards and three touchdowns, including a touchdown catch made between two Aggies defensive backs.
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Chase Daniel vs. Kansas
Hated rivals Missouri and Kansas hadn't met under such meaningful circumstances in decades. The winner would take the Big 12 north title, and the Tigers, thanks to LSU's loss the previous day against Arkansas, could ascend to No. 1 in the BCS standings with a win. Missouri quarterback Daniel reveled in the moment, completing 40-of-49 passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns to lead Missouri to a 36-28 win.
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Ed Reed vs. Boston College
Miami safety Reed led the nation with nine interceptions in 2001, but it was a takeaway from teammate Matt Walter -- who had intercepted a Boston College pass -- that helped the Hurricanes keep their undefeated season alive. With Miami up five late in the fourth quarter, BC drove deep into Miami territory. Brian St. Pierre threw a slant, but the ball bounced off Ryan Read and into the hands of Walter, who charged the other direction. As the Eagles were about to tackle Walter, Reed ran alongside and grabbed the football. He then raced into the end zone to seal an 18-7 win.
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