What is your favorite moment in college football history?
The sport of college football has produced some of the most iconic moments in sports history. In this article series, I wanna take a look at the 10 best moments in the 2000s era of college football. Number 10 is a little bit of a throwback for everyone as this happened 17 years ago. Now the landscape of college football was vastly different 17 years ago as Alabama wasn’t the team to beat every single season in the SEC and had not yet discovered their dominant stranglehold over the sport. Back in 2005, it was the lakes of Southern California and Texas that were the pinnacle of the college football world.
This was a game that would forever order the future and the present of college football as it had a major impact on how the rest of that year ended up. Years later it would also come to light that there was a huge scandal going on at USC and the eventual Heisman Trophy winner and the main subject of this moment Reggie Bush was caught in the middle of it all. This was one of the most star-studded Southern Cal teams ever with the likes of Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart making waves throughout college football.
College Football Moment Ten: The Bush Push
The USC Trojans already won a national championship in 2004 and they were looking to repeat as national champions in 2005. Their season got off to an incredible start as they were four and zero heading into South Bend, Indiana to meet a four and one Notre Dame Fighting Irish team. It was a calm mid-October evening in South Bend but by the end of that game, nothing in the world of college football was calm again. It was a top 10 matchup for the jeweled shillelagh between two of the most historic programs in sports history and two of its fiercest rivals.
It was the most watched college football game of the season with over 10 million people tuning in and boy did it sure deliver as this game went down to the very end and even included an illegal play that sealed the win. However, even with all the excitement surrounding it it started off slow as neither team was able to get on the board for the first few possessions. Heading into halftime Notre Dame was leading by seven points and looked ready to end USC’s huge winning streak.
Skipping to the fourth quarter late in the game USC how to four. Lead before Notre Dame led by Brady Quinn drove all the way down the field to retake the lead. Here’s where things got interesting and where One of the most iconic moments in college football history went down as the “bush push” was born. With only a minute and a half remaining in the ballgame USC moved the ball all the way down to the Notre Dame 13 yard line. Then pandemonium broke loose.
The USC assistant coach attempted to call time out when they didn’t have any remaining and the subsequent penalty that should’ve been called was missed. USC also fumbled the football and when the time ran out the Notre Dame student section rushed the field. However there was still time remaining and they placed the ball on the 1 yard line as the Trojans had one final play.
At the time this was illegal but Lienart snuck the ball to his left and it appeared to be stopped before reaching the goal line. Suddenly Reggie Bush from behind thrust himself into Matt Leinart’s body and pushed him over the goal line to give the USC Trojans one of the most miraculous wins in college football history. That forever altered the outcome of that season as it led to a national title appearance for USC and for Notre Dame they would go on to finish the year at nine and three.
The bush push will forever be synonymous with this great hate filled rivalry that takes place every single season either midseason in South Bend or the end of the year in the Rose Bowl. It is the most iconic moment in a list of iconic moments that define one of the fiercest and longest rivalries in the history of the sport. Who’s to say what would’ve happened if the flag or any of the flags would’ve been thrown that night? Notre Dame could’ve won a national championship in 2005 or USC’s streak could’ve ended prematurely.
One thing for certain is it is a memorable moment that will live on forever as one of the top 10 moments of the 2000s in the sport of college football. And every time these two teams meet somewhere in the back of the mind of the fans of both of them they will always see that moment where Reggie Bush pushes Matt Leinart into the end zone and either excited the hearts of Trojan fans or broke the hearts of Irish fans forever.
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