Jan. 5, 2006
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - Mack Brown began his first day as a national championship coach with a wake-up call he'll never forget.
After leading Texas to its first outright national title in 36 seasons, his phone rang early Thursday. President Bush on the line.
"You know your life is different when the first call you get this morning is from President Bush at 6 o'clock and (my wife) Sally asked me if I was awake and wanted to take it," Brown said. "I said, 'I think so."'
Brown and his Longhorns ended Southern California's two-year championship run and 34-game winning streak with a 41-38 victory in the Rose Bowl on Wednesday night.
Vince Young set a Rose Bowl record with 467 total yards - 200 rushing and 267 passing - and scrambled 8 yards for his third touchdown with 19 seconds left to make Texas No. 1.
Confetti fell on Young and the celebrating Longhorns in Pasadena and Texas became a unanimous No. 1, receiving all 65 first-place votes in the AP media poll.
That snapped another USC streak - the Trojans had been No. 1 for a record 33 consecutive polls.
Penn State finished third, its highest final ranking since finishing No. 2 in 1994.
Brown and the Longhorns received their championship trophies Thursday and brought along a huge crowd of supporters to take in the scene.
Bus loads of burnt-orange clad friends, family and fans filled the ballroom at the Beverly Hilton Hotel to listen to Brown, Young, David Thomas and Michael Huff reflect on the thrilling victory over USC and the school's first outright national championship since 1969.
The coach of that Texas team, Darrell Royal, was there.
"I just enjoy being along for the ride," said Royal, who got a handshake from President Richard Nixon in the Longhorns' locker room after beating Arkansas to clinch the '69 crown.
Royal has been one of Brown's staunchest supporters, backing the coach who critics said couldn't win the big game.
Now, the guy they called "Coach February" because he appeared to be better at recruiting players than coaching them up has his picture on Wheaties cereal box.
"Vince should be on there, me holding him up," Brown said.
Young is facing the same decision USC quarterback Matt Leinart needed to make after last season's national championship game.
NFL or college?
Young has said he intends to return to Texas for his senior year, but plans to explore his options with guidance from his family and coaches.
He'll certainly never play better in a bigger game than he did in the Rose Bowl.
"All I do is go out there and play for my teammates and do whatever it takes to get the 'W,"' Young said.
On Thursday, Young got a nice reward. He was scheduled to appear on the "Tonight" show with Jay Leno.
The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft is Jan. 15.
Leinart bypassed NFL riches to return for his senior year, but an unprecedented third straight national title eluded him and the Trojans.
"I don't have any regrets," Leinart said. "We're champions. They just got us this night."
The 2004 Heisman Trophy winner passed for 365 yards in his final college game, and finished 37-2 as a starter.
Reggie Bush, who beat out Young for this season's Heisman, had 177 total yards and somersaulted into the end zone on a 26-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The 200-pound tailback is also a junior and could be the first pick in the draft.
Leinart's 22-yard TD strike to Dwayne Jarrett gave USC a 38-26 lead with 6:42 to left.
But Young scored on a 17-yard run less than three minutes later and Texas stuffed USC's LenDale White on a fourth-and-2 at the Texas 45 with 2:13 left to put the game in Young's hands.
Young completed three passes and ran twice for 12 yards to get the Longhorns to the USC 8, with help from a facemask penalty on the Trojans.
It came down to a fourth-and-5. Texas went to play called Menu 2. When Young couldn't find an open receiver, he took off and ran untouched for the game-winning score.
Now Texas has the longest winning streak in the country at 20 straight games.
"What we're going to do is enjoy this run right now," Brown said. "We'll be in spring practice Feb. 24 and get ready to start over because next year's team hasn't won a game."
Texas coach Mack Brown receives the AP National Championship Trophy