What would've happened had the NCAA and USC compliance offices not been asleep at the wheel... cue Keith Jackson, Jan. 4, 2006.
KJ: "Good evening, folks, and welcome to the 2006 Rose Bowl, the BCS national championship game. We're in for a dandy tonight. Could it be just one year ago the Penn State and legendary head coach Joe Paterno were written off after their fourth losing season in five years? Was it just 13 months ago that President Graham $panier and athletics director Tim Curley trudged up the walkway JoePa's humble homestead hoping to replace a legend? Why, yes, yes it was..."
Dan Fouts: "And I'm Dan Fouts..."
KJ: "Thanks, Dan, but this is my swan song, so we'll hear more from overrated Oregon quarterbacks later, thank you.
We've got a great game tonight, with the undefeated and top-ranked Texas Longhorns hoping to win Mack Brown his first title. Heisman winner Vince Young will have to run over and around Linebacker U tonight if that's going to happen. Plus, he'll have to avoid what seems like a curse that plagues Heisman winners that play the Nittany Lions in bowls. Who could forget the Lions stuffing Marcus Allen, Herschel Walker and then bombing Vinny Testaverde back to the stone age for the 1986 national championship. I can already seem the steam rising from Paul Posluszny's crewcut he's so anxious to hit someone, preferably Young. Why that young man is so clean cut I can safely predict he'll never have a mullet or long hair. We'll be right back for the kickoff of this great game."
/ABC goes to commercial. While at the break, KJ bludgeons Fouts with the mike for interrupting him, then calls him "Joey Harrington" by "mistake."
KJ: "The Nittany Lions have won the toss and they'll take the ball in something of a surprise. The Lions almost always defer. Well, anyway, Texas is lined up and we're ready to get this hoedown under way. Kinlaw and freshman Justin King are deep for the Lions. Here's the kick, end-over-end, fielded by King, he'll crash into PSU's typically slow moving wedge at about the 18 yard line.
Michael Robinson, the Big Ten player of the year and Heisman runner up, brings the Lions out. In one of the many ironies in this game, Paterno called up Mack Brown and sent some members of his offensive staff down to Austin to see how they used Young in their version of the spread. Well, lo and behold, look how the Lions have bounced back behind their leader. Robinson throws a quick bubble screen to King, who's played some on offense this season. King gets tackled for a gain of 6. Look for the Lions to try and keep the Longhorns off balance with plenty of screens and draws to slow down the rush. The Lions need to run Hunt effectively to win. It's 2nd and 4 for the Lions, and here's a screen attempt, and Robinson misses the connection with Hunt. It appears that Hunt's ankle is hurt. That could be a big blow to the Lions. His backup, though, is the highly touted Austin Scott, who's sure to get his shot at the NFL someday, maybe even drafted as high as the third or fourth round. Third and 4 four the Lions, Robinson looks to pass, he's going for the bundle, he's got Deon Butler down the far sideline and BUTLER's GOT IT, and he's going all the way for six as the Lions strike first and strike quickly... that'll bring on star freshman Kevin Kelly for the point after, and it's good. It's 7-0 Lions, we'll see what Vince Young can do with the ball after this."
/commercials for Monster.com and upcoming local news
KJ: Welcome back, it's 7-0 Penn State aand Kelly kicks off to Texas, which returns it to the 23 yard line. Folks, I think it's time for Paul Posluszny to meet Vince Young. The big uglies of the Longhorns might have something to say about that, though. It's 1st and 10 for Texas. Young fake the handoff and attempt to go around the outside and he's met by Dan Connor, another in a linebacking stampede to Happy Valley... the other backer is junior Tim Shaw, who is a bit undersized and hopefully will never be asked to play the position of defensive end..."
OK, it's MMQ again. PSU effectively shuts down Texas through most of the first half, the Lions are leading 10-0 as we move ahead in the action to late in the 2nd quarter. Texas has the ball inside PSU territory at the 37 yard line. It's 3rd and 4.
KJ: "The Lions have thus far bottled up Young. He takes the snap in the shotgun, and he's going to the wide side, fakes the pitch and slips Connor's tackle, takes off down the far side, here comes Calvin Lowry, who applies the hit, but no, Young pitched the ball at the last second, and the back is going to take it in for a Texas touchdown! I don't know about that, though "Akili" (a still groggy Fouts), what do you think?
Fouts: "Huh, oh, yeah it looks like his knee is down before he pitches the ball. Yes, this will almost certainly be overturned by the crack Pac-10 officials, who were only accused of outright incompetence 16 times this season, one less that the Big Ten."
KJ: "Well, there seems to be some kind of ruckus in the replay booth. It appears some rogue Big Ten official, wearing a Michigan sweater with what appears to be "Honig" embroidered onto it, is arguing with the replay officials. This can't be good, 'Joey' can it?"
Fouts: "I'm Dan Fouts, not Joey Harrington, Keith! Stop it."
KJ: "Well, the ruling inexplicably stands. Touchdown Texas. It's 10-7 Lions, we'll be right back."
OK, MMQ again. Surprisingly, Scott and King are back to return the ensuing kickoff and, another surprise Scott fumbles. Vince Young and the 'Horns take quick advantage and things are starting to horribly wrong for the Lions as we return to the booth.
KJ: It's 14-10 Longhorns, as Michael Robinson leads the Lions onto the field. They've got a little over 2 minutes and three timeouts left. Robinson is back to pass and hits Jordan Norwood, another freshman in there for Paterno, for a 1st down and more, down to the Penn State 48 yard line. The Lions seem to be a bit slow here as the 2nd quarter winds down. There's 1 minute and 48 seconds left. Robinson, back to pass again, he spots Brendan Perretta crossing the middle and hits him with it, and Perretta is turning the corner, down to the Texas 20, 15 10, and he's hit and fumbles the football. Oh my, it's a scrum down there... and the Longhorns have it, extinguishing the Lions drive. They're pinned deep, though. Let's see what the Lion defense can do with three time outs. Can they hold the Horns and force a punt? We'll be right back after this..."
/ABC commercials for the second season of "Lost" and the debut of some show about C-list celebs training to be ballroom dancers... that's never gonna last.../
KJ: OK, we're back and the Horns are backed up on their own 2 yard line. Young, who will line up under center in shadow of his own goal, takes it and pushes the pile forward for a yard, maybe two. 2nd and 8, Horns. Young hands it to the fullback who is completely BLOWN UP by Scott Paxson. Boy, did that boy whip some Texas big uglies there. He was almost in there to intercept the handoff. The fullback was lucky to get out of the end zone. Mack Brown's got a decision to make here. The Lions call timeout, their 2nd. Let's take a moment to wish Pete Carroll well. Pete, as you know, suffered a stroke earlier this year when it was revealed that Reggie Bush was ineligible. Pete's doing fine, still, but he's been replaced at USC by young wunderkind Lane Kiffin, who appears to be 16 years old, but will probably be the next hot coaching prospect. Only time will tell.
OK, 3rd and a whole lot for the Longhorms, and Brown just has Young sneak forward for a yard or two. That'll bring on the punt team and the Lions call their final timeout.
Calvin Lowry will field the punt for the Lions. Not surprisingly, he calls for a fair catch. It's the Lions ball at the horns 49 with 36 seconds left in the half.
Robinson lines up in the shotgun and looks to pass, he's Butler on the near side, and Butler gets out of bounds for a gain of 13 yards. Penn State is in business, perhaps field goal range, at the Texas 36. 26 seconds remain in the half. Robinson, again in the shotgun, is back to pass, looking, looking, he's tucked the ball away, scrambling, looking to get out of bounds, he's hit, down at the 24 yard line for a 12 yard gain. It's a first down, and the clock stops while the chains are moved. There's 14 second left, it's running and he spikes the ball with 13 ticks on the clock. What does Paterno do here, Rashad?"
Fouts: "The name's Dan you drunken old man."
KJ: "Well, that's not very neighborly for a Duck. But what else would anyone expect. OK, Galen Hall has to have something up his sleeve. Robinson, again in the gun, takes the snap, he lifts it high toward the near side and UNBELIEVABLE! Ethan Kilmer uses his unbelievable Michael Jordan-like vertical jump and comes down with it! Touchdown, Penn State! Wow, have anyone ever seen a little white kid from tiny Wyalusing, Pa., ever jump that high? I have now. INCREDIBLE! And there's Kelly with the point after. Boy, he's just automatic down the middle tonight and the Lions go the the locker room leading No. 1 Texas 17-14."
MMQ here. Surprisingly, PSU plays extremely conservatively in the 2nd half. The 3rd quarter is a field position struggle as JoePa and Mack play chess looking for a title. The Lions get a break when Alan Zemaitis strips Young and returns it deep into Texas territory, but have to settle for a FG. It's 20-14, late in the 4th quarter. Young has the ball after Kelly misses a chip shot wide right. There's les than two minutes to play, and the Horns are driving. KJ has the call as we move forward in the action...
KJ: Well, it's now or never for the Longhorns and Vince Young. 1st and ten from their 20 and an awful lot of green between them and the Penn State end zone. The Penn State defense has played its heart out. Posluszny has had 18 tackles, and Tamba Hali has three sacks. Their white jerseys tell a tale, a sweaty, dirty story, one that's not quite seen its final chapter. What will it be? How will it turn out? Here's Young in the shotgun, the Longhorns all spread out. He's set to pass, he hits freshman Jordan Shipley for a 1st down and more, he's out to the 42 yard line. The clock is running, one timeout left for Texas. Young gets them set, again in the gun. He's looking, looking, he take off, scrambling through the middle, but he's taken down hard by Tim Shaw. It's a gain of 5, and Young bounces up, ready for more. Clock still running... 1 minute to play... Young calls the play quickly and breaks the huddle...50 seconds....take the snap, looking, looking, he takes off again, breaks a Connor tackle, and Matt Rice takes him down by his shoelaces. Boy, Rice better be careful with those hands. He's very artistic, you know... A gain of 9 more for Young, but the clock is stopped for the 1st down. Texas lines up at the Penn State 45. In the gun again, he's looking, looking, he hits Shipley again, down to the State 25 yard line. Clock is stopped at 35 seconds. 1st and 10. Young quickly barks out a play, the Horns hurriedly get set... Young, gets the snap, he's looking, can't find anyone again the Lions are clamping down on the receiver and he takes off... Chris Harrell comes up to meet him at the 18 yard line but Young squeezes by him barely and gets out of bounds, stopping the clock... 2nd and 3, Texas still in the shotgun, Young takes the snap and hits Shipley on a quick out at the 12, 1st and ten, clock stopped with 20 seconds. Young gets the call from the sideline and informs the huddle. Shotgun again...he takes the snap, looking, looking, here comes Alford and he's sacked! Young calls time with 13 seconds left, the final timeout for Texas... it's 2nd and a bunch, 18 to be exact, from the 20. Mack Brown's hair seems to be graying by the second... he's aging in front of us. And there's JoePa, arms crossed, he's seen it all before...calmly surveying the field of battle. Players are back on the field, and Young takes a quick snap surveys the scene, looking, he's tucks and runs again, shedding a tackle, then another, before Posluszny forces him out of bounds at the 11. Third down and 9 from there. 6 seconds left. Young gets the play, gets his team set, takes the snap, looking into the end zone... he fires, over the head of Shipley, it's 4th down with 1 second left. Texas is at the 11 yard line and here we go, and I'll unabashedly quote my ol' pal Charlie Jones here... '4th down, national championship.' Here we go, Young takes the snap, eludes a hard-rushing Hali, sidesteps Paxson, stiff arms Connor, he's scrambling town the pylon, he's almost there... and WHAT A PLAY BY PAUL POSLUSZNY!!!!!! He takes down the Heisman winnner at the 2 yard line and the NITTANY LIONS ARE YOUR NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!! It's their first since 1994, I don't care what the pollsters say about the Cornhuskers, and it's JoePa's 4th national title... this is Keith Jackson, signing off for the last time, and WHOA! NELLIE!! what a game it's been... thank goodness the Lions play defense, who knows how many points USC might've given up to Young tonight! Good night from the Rose Bowl here in Pasadena. Again, Penn State wins the title, beating No. 1 Texas 20-14.
MMQ: And that, dear friends, is really why 2005 is on the front of the suites. National champs, 'nuff said.
What would've happened had the NCAA and USC compliance offices not been asleep at the wheel... cue Keith Jackson, Jan. 4, 2006.