National Championship moments: 2005 Football
Following an 11-1 campaign in 2004 that culminated in the Longhorns' first Bowl Championship Series (BCS) win over Michigan in their first Rose Bowl, Texas entered the 2005 season ranked No. 2 behind defending champion USC. The ranking was UT's highest in the preseason since 1970, its last national championship season.
The Longhorns opened with a 60-3 win over Louisiana-Lafayette as QB Vince Young accounted for four TDs and freshman RB Jamaal Charles made the top freshman rushing debut in UT history with 135 yards.
The win set up an historic first meeting with No. 4 Ohio State in Columbus. Trailing 22-16, Young connected with WR Limas Sweed on a 24-yard TD with 2:17 remaining. The defense held firm, forcing a safety for the 25-22 final to give UT its second straight win over a Big Ten power.
A 51-10 win over Rice at home, in which Charles racked up 189 rushing yards and three TDs, sent Texas in to conference play, where it opened at Missouri. Young produced his first 100-yard passing/rushing game of the season with 236 passing and 108 rushing yards in the 51-20 victory.
The Red River Rivalry arrived with much being made of Oklahoma's five-game winning streak in the series. However, 2005 produced a stark contrast, as Texas rolled to a 45-12 win, highlighted by an 80-yard run by Charles for a 14-6 lead. The Longhorns never looked back, capping the win with a 67-yard fumble return by DT Rod Wright.
Next was No. 24 Colorado, and Young would have one of his finest days passing. He broke his own school record for completion percentage by connecting on 25-of-29 (86.2%) attempts for a career-high 336 yards and two TDs, while also reaching the end zone three times on the ground for a 42-17 win.
That set the stage for undefeated No. 10 Texas Tech. WR Billy Pittman collected his third 100-yard game with a career-high 138 yards and two TDs, while the defense held the nation's top-ranked scoring offense to 17 points for a 52-17 win.
The Longhorns traveled to Oklahoma State, a team that in 2004 held a 35-7 lead before Texas made the greatest comeback in school history with 49 unanswered points. Again, the Cowboys jumped ahead, this time 28-9, and again UT responded. This time with 38 unanswered points. Young became the first player in NCAA history to rush for over 250 yards and pass for over 230 yards in the same game for a UT record 506 yards of total offense.
Texas closed the regular season with wins over Baylor, Kansas and Texas A&M for its first undefeated regular season since 1983, while clinching a spot in the Big 12 Championship, where it would meet Colorado again. The final score was set midway through the third quarter at 70-3, giving Mack Brown his first Big 12 title and sending the Longhorns to the BCS National Championship to face No. 1 USC.
The two teams played a game for the ages. Young took the spotlight away from Heisman Trophy winners Reggie Bush and Matt Leinart, becoming the first player in history to pass for at least 200 yards and rush for at least 200 yards in the same game twice in a career. He recorded 267 yards passing and 200 yards rushing with three TDs, topped by his fourth-down, eight-yard TD run with 19 seconds to go for the 41-38 win.
Young won the Maxwell Award, the O'Brien Award and the Manning Award, and was consensus first-team All-America. Safety Michael Huff became UT's first Thorpe Award winner and was unanimous first-team All-America, along with OT Jonathan Scott. Wright was also named consensus first-team All-America.