2004 USC Trojans
football team represented the University of
Southern California in the 2004-2005 NCAA Division
I-A college football season.
The Trojans ended this
season with 13 wins and no losses. They were the Pacific 10 Conference
well as the national champions, and remained the top-ranked team
for the entire season. USC became just the second team ever to hold
No. 1 ranking fromthe pre-season through
the bowl, also referred to as wire-to-wire (Florida State did it in 1999).
Trojans also became the 10th team to win consecutive AP national
won the Heisman Trophy
the most outstanding collegiate football player in the U.S.;
teammate, running back Reggie Bush
finished fifth in Heisman voting,
winning the following year. Both were named co-winners of the
Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. The team captains were
, Matt Grootegoed
and Matt Leinart.
the controversy that ended the 2003 NCAA Division I-A
football season with a split national title between LSU and USC, the motto for the Trojans' 2004 season
became "Leave No Doubt."
Ironically, the changes made to the
BCS due to the 2003 season did not resolve issues with multiple
undefeated teams, as Auburn finished undefeated, yet they did not
get to play USC or any other team for the title.
The Trojans finished the season with a 13–0 record, 8–0 in the
Ranks are based on the time the game
was played, USC remained number 1 throughout the season.
Virginia Tech opened the 2004 college football season with the
Black Coaches Association
Football Classic at a sold out FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
Trojans take the field at the 2004 BCA
Days before the game, the NCAA
declared star Trojans wide receiver Mike Williams
play after a failed attempt to join the NFL
early, creating concern over whether the defending 2003 National
were prepared try for another title. This was the
first time the two teams had competed in football; and with the
game held only three hours away from Virginia Tech, the crowd was
dominated by Hokies fans. The game marked the emergence of running
back Reggie Bush, who often lined up at wide receiver, catching
five passes for 127 yards and scored three touchdowns
in a tight game. Although Virginia Tech
was not ranked going into the game, they ended the season ranked
9th, going 10-3 (7-1 in the ACC
), becoming ACC Champions in
their first year in the conference and were invited to the 2005
Nokia Sugar Bowl
Colorado State visited USC in the first meeting between the two
programs. The Trojans dominated the Rams in route to a 49-0 shut
out, led by running back LenDale White
who ran for 123 yards on 14 carries, scoring three touchdowns. Matt
Leinart went 20-of-31 for 231 yards in three quarters before being
retired from the game, Dwayne Jarrett
caught a touchdown on what was his 18th birthday, and the Trojans
handed the Rams their worse loss in eight years and first shut out
in 85 games.
Trojans made their first visit to LaVell Edwards Stadium, on the campus of Brigham Young
University in Provo,
Fans enter the stadium before USC at
The game marked the return of USC Offensive
Coordinator Norm Chow to the program where he spent 27 years as an
assistant under former Coach LaVell
. Running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White both broke
100 yards each en route to victory.
what would be its closest game of the season against the unheralded
Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium in their Pacific 10 Conference opener.
USC and Stanford had just previously beat BYU in convincing
fashion, however Stanford had the added benefit of a bye week
to rest and reorganize between games. By
halftime, USC found itself down 11 points after the Cardinal caught
them by surprise with an 82-yard run final play while trying to run
out the clock to end the half. After an energetic and emotional
halftime in the locker room, the Trojan defense shut down the
Cardinal while the offense put together the drives that gave the
Trojans the lead and the victory.
California at USC before the first
non-rivalry-game sell out at the Los Angeles Coliseum in 52
's College GameDay
visited the Los Angeles Coliseum for the first time in anticipation
of a game between highly ranked and undefeated teams: 7th-ranked
California had given USC its only loss in the 2003 season,
resulting in the Trojans sharing the 2003 National Championship. It
was the first time since 1968 that the teams met when both were
ranked and it also was the highest-ranked Cal squad USC had faced
since 1952, also the last time the two programs were ranked in the
top ten. The Cal Golden Bears, led by Coach Jeff Tedford
, were already ranked their highest
since 1991 and looking to earn one of the biggest victories in
program history. The crowd was USC's largest crowd for a
non-UCLA/Notre Dame rivalry game since the 1952 Cal game.
The game was tightly fought: Cal dominated the statistics, more
than doubling USC’s first downs (28-12) and total yards (424-205)
while getting more plays (79-50) and possession time(37:11-22:49);
Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers
career performance, tying an NCAA single game record by completing
his first 23 passes and guiding the Golden Bears to a
first-and-goal at the Trojan 9-yard line with 1:47 to play.
However, in the key final series, under heavy crowd noise, the USC
defense caused an incomplete pass, a sack by defensive tackle Manuel Wright
, and two more incomplete passes
to cause a loss of possession and effectively end the game.
The game was highly touted by the media, with both teams earning
praise for their performances. Beyond the 2004 season, the game
marked a turning point in terms of crowd participation at the
Coliseum, which thereafter garnered a reputation as a loud and
difficult place to play for opposing teams.
quality of play met expectations and had major ramifications for
both programs that season: It would be the only game the Bears
would lose in the regular season, costing them a shot at the
national title and their first BCS bowl appearance, including what
could've been their first appearance at the Rose
Bowl since 1959; and it was the Trojans' toughest game
of the season on their way to winning the national championship in
the Orange Bowl.
The 15th-ranked Sun Devils, under Coach Dirk Koetter
, were out to prove that they were
a part of the national title picture and USC was out to prove it
deserved its top-ranking after a series of close games to the Bay
Area schools. USC quickly put the game out of reach, scoring 42
points in the first half behind 4 touchdown passes Matt Leinart and
school single game record-tying 3 scoring grabs by Dwayne Jarrett.
ASU quarterback Andrew Walter
rendered ineffective by the USC defense which achieved eight sacks,
the same total ASU allowed in its previous five games. The decisive
victory helped USC dispel concerns over its ability to dominate
opponents. It was the second time the Trojans played before
consecutive sellout crowds in the Coliseum, the first was in 1947
when the UCLA and Notre Dame rivalry games sold out, and the first
against non-rival opponents.
The struggling Washington Huskies visited the Trojans for the 75th
meeting in the series, with the Trojans dominating 38-0. The
shutout was Washington's first since 1981, ending a national-best
active streak of consecutive games without being shut out at 271.
The victory put USC's winning streak at the Coliseum at 19, tying
the school record set from 1931-33. The game marked the first
career start for Husky quarterback Isaiah Stanback
the first top-ranked team to visit Pullman, Washington, as the Trojans took on the Cougars at a sold-out
The Trojans had lost in their previous
visit to WSU, a 30-27 overtime game in 2002; since then the Trojans
had gone 28-1. USC took the upper hand early on, taking a 14-0 lead
before WSU’s offense got on the field; by halftime, it was 35-0, as
the Trojans had 289 yards and 16 first downs to the Cougars 54 and
Trojans prevailed over the Beavers in a tight game in heavy
fog at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Oregon.
After trailing 13-0 in second quarter, USC
scored the next 28 points with a pivotal 65-yard scoring return by
Reggie Bush in the 4th quarter with the game close at 14-13.
Although the fog was thick enough at times to interfere with pass
plays, USC tight end Dominique Byrd
caught two touchdowns.
USC clinched its third consecutive conference championship with a
victory over the visiting Arizona Wildcats. LenDale White ran for
118 yards and three touchdowns while Matt Leinart passed for 280
yards and three more scores; the game guaranteed USC a spot in, at
worst, the Rose
After two weeks off, the Trojans were visited by the rival Fighting
Irish, led by Coach Tyrone
, in the inter-sectional rivalry for the Jeweled Shillelagh
. The Irish had been
inconsistent during the season, coming into the game at 6–4 having
defeated strong teams and lost to weak teams. ESPN's College
made its second-ever visit to the Coliseum. Matt
Leinart passed for a career-high 400 yards and a school
record-tying five touchdowns Saturday, leading the top-ranked
Trojans to a 41-10 victory and adding a highlight performance to
his ultimately successful Heisman campaign. Trailing 10–3, USC
scored the final 38 points. Irish quarterback Brady Quinn
completed 15-of-29 passes for 105
yards and a touchdown. The Trojans set a record for home wins
(including pre-Coliseum), with their 21st victory; coincidently,
the previous team to defeat them at home were the Stanford Cardinal
then-under Coach Willingham. USC set both a school home attendance
(511,373) as well as the Pac-10 home per game average attendance
(85,229) records. It was Willingham's third consecutive 31 point
loss to USC in three seasons at Notre Dame; the Irish fired him the
top-ranked Trojans visited the Bruins for their annual crosstown
rivalry game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on the 75th anniversary of the first USC-UCLA game
The Bruins, having come off a three week break of
consecutive bye weeks, came into the game as serious underdogs in
the battle for the Victory
. Despite low expectations, the Bruins were able to shut
down Leinart and give the Trojans a close game that was not decided
until the final minutes. Reggie Bush scored on a pair of touchdown
runs and totaled a career-best 335 all-purpose yards and placekicker Ryan
kicked a USC and Pac-10 Conference game record 5
. With the victory,
USC sealed a bid for the BCS National Championship
in the Orange Bowl.
undefeated, top-ranked Trojans met the also undefeated,
second-ranked Sooners in the 2005 BCS National
Championship Game held at the FedEx Orange Bowl at Pro Player
Stadium in Miami,
The game was the first time two Heisman
Trophy winners had faced each other in a college football game with
Sooners quarterback and 2003 winner Jason White
facing 2004 winner
Matt Leinart. The game also featured four out of five of the 2004
Heisman finalists with Leinart, White, Reggie Bush and Sooner
running back Adrian Peterson
Heisman runner-up. Both USC and Oklahoma started and ended the
season ranked #1 and #2 (wire-to-wire), respectively, in the AP and
There was some controversy in the final team selections as the
also finished the regular season undefeated and won their bowl game
, the Sugar
, against the same Virginia Tech team USC defeated in the
season opener; Auburn began the season ranked outside the top 15
and perhaps because of this they were unable to secure a spot in
the national championship game, although they did tie Oklahoma at
#2 in the AP poll at one point late in the season.
The Sooners scored first, having stopped an opening USC drive. USC
scored next 28 points en route to a 38-10 halftime lead. The
turning point in the game came early in the first quarter, with the
game tied 7–7, Sooner Mark Bradley
a critical special teams error that resulted in USC gaining
possession on the Oklahoma 6-yard-line; after that the game turned
into a USC rout.Pete Thamel, College Football: USC ends doubts as to who's No. 1
The New York Times
), January 6, 2005.
Leinart, the game’s MVP
, threw an Orange Bowl
record (and USCrecord-tying) 5 touchdowns, including 3 to wide receiver Steve Smith
, tying both an
Orange Bowl and USC record; Ryan Killeen set the USC career scoring
record with 329 career points; USC’s 55 points tied its most ever
in a bowl and were the most ever allowed in a bowl by Oklahoma.
White threw for 24-of-36 for 244 yards with three interceptions and
two touchdowns; Peterson ran for 82 yards on 25 carries. USC gained
525 total yards, averaging 8.3 yards per play, to the Sooners’ 372;
OU ran off 13 more plays, 76 to 63, and held the ball for 35:06;
however Oklahoma had 5 turnovers to USC's none.
After the season
Matt Leinart hoists his Heisman Trophy at a 2005 campus rally
regular season, the University of Mississippi hired USC Assistant Head Coach Ed Orgeron, who also served as Defensive Line
Coach and Recruiting Coordinator, to be the new head coach of the
Ole Miss Rebels football team;
although hired on December 16, 2006, he remained with USC through
the Orange Bowl.
Quarterback Matt Leinart was awarded the Heisman Trophy as the most
outstanding collegiate football player in the United States, with
teammate Reggie Bush coming in 5th place.
A school-record 6 Trojans were awarded All-American
first team honors in 2004: Matt
Leinart, RB Reggie Bush, DE Shaun Cody, LB Matt Grootegoed, DT Mike
Patterson and LB Lofa Tatupu. Wide receiver Dwayne Jarrett,
offensive tackle Sam Baker and defensive end Lawrence Jackson were
named to the Freshman All-American first team. In addition to
winning the Heisman Trophy, Matt Leinart also won the Walter Camp Award
and was named the AP
Player of the Year.
In conference, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush were named 2004 Pac-10
Co-Offensive Players of the Year, while DE-DT Shaun Cody was Pac-10
Co-Defensive Player of the Year; it marked the first time teammates
had ever shared the honors on one side of the ball, the third time
a school had won both offensive and defensive players of the year,
and it was Leinart's second consecutive year being named the
Offensive Player of the Year—making him the fourth to do so. Dating
back to former Trojan QB Carson
's 2002 season, it was the third year in a row that a
Trojan was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. All three
players made the All-Pac-10 first team, with Bush making the team
as both a running back and punt
; they were joined by Mike Patterson, Matt Grootegoed,
Lofa Tatupu and P Tom Malone. Making the second team where RB
LenDale White, OT Sam Baker and S Darnell Bing, and honorable
mentions to TE Dominique Byrd, TE Alex Holmes, WR Dwayne Jarrett, S
Jason Leach, LB Dallas Sartz, DT Manuel Wright and CB Justin
Coach Pete Carroll was named the National Quarterback Club College
Coach of the Year, as well as a finalist for the Bear Bryant and
Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Awards semifinalist, and was named
the ESPN.com Pac-10 Coach of the Year.
2004 Team Players in the NFL
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Media Guide, USC Athletic Department, pp. 65-71.
- PREVIEW: (1) USC vs. UCLA, Yahoo! Sports, December 4,
- All-Time USC Record, 2006 USC Football
Media Guide, USC Athletic Department, pg. 96.
- Ben Malcolmson, Trojans leave no doubt with blowout, Daily
Trojan, January 11, 2005.
- PREVIEW: (1) USC vs. Virginia Tech, Yahoo! Sports,
August 28, 2004.
- Ralph D. Russo, RECAP: (1) USC 24, Virginia Tech 13, Associated Press,
August 29, 2004.
- 2004 Virginia Tech Hokies Football Schedule,
San Diego Hokies Alumni Chapter, Accessed June 13,
- PREVIEW: Colorado St. vs. (1) USC, Yahoo! Sports,
September 11, 2004.
- John Nadel, RECAP: (1) USC 49, Colorado St. 0, Associated Press,
September 11, 2004.
- PREVIEW: (1) USC vs. BYU, Yahoo! Sports, September 18,
- Doug Alden, RECAP: (1) USC 42, BYU 10, Associated Press, September
- Doug Alden, RECAP: (1) USC 31, Stanford 28, Associated Press,
September 25, 2004.
- PREVIEW: (1) USC 31, Stanford 28, Yahoo! Sports,
September 25, 2004.
- PREVIEW: (7) California vs. (1) USC, Yahoo! Sports,
October 9, 2004.
- Ralph D. Russo, RECAP: (1) USC 23, (7) California 17, Associated
Press, October 9, 2004.
- Michael Ventre, USC-Cal was matchup of nation's best,
NBCSports.com, October 10, 2004.
- Jay Heater, L.A. crowd turns up noise, Oakland
Tribune, November 17, 2006.
- Pat Forde, Southern passion propels SEC to top of conference
ladder, ESPN.com, August 16, 2007.
- PREVIEW: (15) Arizona St. vs. (1) USC, Yahoo! Sports,
October 16, 2004.
- John Nadel, RECAP: (1) USC 45, (15) Arizona St. 7, Associated
Press, October 16, 2004.
- John Nadel, RECAP: (1) USC 38, Washington 0, Associated Press,
October 23, 2004.
- PREVIEW: Washington vs. (1) USC, Yahoo! Sports,
October 23, 2004.
- PREVIEW: (1) USC vs. Washington St., Yahoo! Sports,
October 30, 2004.
- John K. Wiley, RECAP: (1) USC 42, Washington St. 12, Associated
Press, October 30, 2004.
- Anne M. Peterson, RECAP: (1) USC 28, Oregon St. 20, Associated Press,
November 7, 2004.
- PREVIEW: Arizona vs. (1) USC, Yahoo! Sports, November
- John Nadel, (1) USC 49, Arizona 9, Associated Press, November 14,
- Notre Dame (6-4) at No. 1 Usc (10-0) 8:00 pm EST, ESPN
Ticker, November 27, 2004.
- Junior QB passes for career-high 400 yards,
Associated Press, November 27, 2004.
- AD cites lack of on-field progress, ESPN.com
news services, December 1, 2004.
- John Nadel, RECAP: (1) USC 29, UCLA 24, Associated Press, December
- Pete McEntegart, Orange Bowl Running Commentary, SI.com, January
- Justin Einhorn, PREVIEW: (1) USC vs. (2) Oklahoma, AP MegaSports
Writer, January 4, 2004.
- USC, Oklahoma to play in Orange Bowl, NBCSports.com
news services, December 6, 2004.
- Ray Melick, Sugar Bowl leaves Auburn with bitter taste,
NBCSports.com, December 22, 2004.
- Auburn dealt first loss by BCS standings, Associated
Press, December 5, 2004.
- Ralph D. Russo, (1) USC 55, (2) Oklahoma 19, Associated Press,
December 4, 2004.
- Ole Miss to hire USC aide Orgeron, San
Diego Union-Tribune, December 16, 2004.
- 2004 All-Americans, 2005 USC Orange Bowl
Guide, USC Athletic Department.
- 2004 All-Star Honors, 2005 USC Football
Media Guide, USC Athletic Department, pp. 63-64.