|2004 USC Trojans football|
BCS National Champions
|Orange Bowl BCS National Championship Game vs. Oklahoma, W 55–19|
|2004 record||13-0 (8-0 Pac-10)|
|Head coach||Pete Carroll|
|Offensive coordinator||Norm Chow|
|Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum|
The 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 champions as well as the national champions, and remained the top-ranked team for the entire season. USC became just the second team ever to hold the AP No. 1 ranking from the pre-season through the bowl, also referred to as wire-to-wire (Florida State did it in 1999). The Trojans also became the 10th team to win consecutive AP national championships. The 2004 USC team is considered one of the greatest college football teams of all time.
Quarterback Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy as 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 Shaun Cody, Matt Grootegoed and Matt Leinart.
Because of 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.
|August 28*||vs. Virginia Tech||#1||FedEx Field • Landover, MD (BCA Classic)||ESPN||W 24-13||91,665|
|September 11*||Colorado State||#1||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||ABC||W 49-0||85,521|
|September 18*||at BYU||#1||LaVell Edwards Stadium • Provo, UT||ESPN||W 42-10||63,467|
|September 25||at Stanford||#1||Stanford Stadium • Stanford, CA||TBS||W 31-28||55,750|
|October 09||#7 California||#1||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||ABC||W 23-17||90,008|
|October 16||#15 Arizona State||#1||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||ABC||W 45-7||90,211|
|October 23||Washington||#1||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||FSN||W 38-0||72,855|
|October 30||at Washington State||#1||Martin Stadium • Pullman, WA||ABC||W 42-12||35,117|
|November 06||at Oregon State||#1||Reser Stadium • Corvallis, OR||FSN||W 28-20||36,412|
|November 13†||Arizona||#1||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||FSN||W 49-9||80,167|
|November 27*||Notre Dame||#1||Los Angeles Coliseum • Los Angeles, CA||ABC||W 41-10||92,611|
|December 04||at UCLA||#1||Rose Bowl • Pasadena, CA||ABC||W 29-24||88,442|
|January 04, 2005*||vs. #2 Oklahoma||#1||Dolphin
Stadium • Miami Gardens, FL
BCS National Championship Game)
|*Non-Conference Game. †Homecoming. #Rankings from Coaches' Poll released prior to game.|
|(as of August 28, 2004)|
|An * indicates that the player is a "walk-on" (non-scholarship player).|
USC and Virginia Tech opened the 2004 college football season
with the Black Coaches
Association Football Classic at a sold out FedEx
Field in Landover, Maryland.
Days before the game, the NCAA declared star Trojans wide receiver Mike
Williams ineligible to play after a failed attempt to join the
creating concern over whether the defending 2003 National
Champions 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
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
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.
The Trojans made their first visit to LaVell Edwards Stadium, on the
campus of Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
The game marked the return of USC Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow
to the program where he spent 27 years as an assistant under former
Running backs Reggie Bush and LenDale White both broke 100 yards
each en route to victory.
USC had what would be its closest game of the season against the
unheralded Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium in their Pacific-10
Both 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
|#7 Golden Bears||0||10||7||0||17|
ESPN's College GameDay program 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 had a 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.
The 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.
|#15 Sun Devils||0||7||0||0||7|
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 was 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
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
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
USC became the first top-ranked team to visit Pullman,
Washington, as the Trojans took on the Cougars at a sold-out Martin
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 4.
The 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 Bowl
After two weeks off, the Trojans were visited by the rival
Fighting Irish, led by Coach Tyrone Willingham, 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 GameDay made its second-ever visit to the
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
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
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 following
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
in 1929. 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
Reggie Bush scored on a pair of touchdown runs and totaled a
career-best 335 all-purpose yards and placekicker Ryan Killeen kicked a USC and Pac-10
Conference game record 5 field goals.
With the victory, USC sealed a bid for the BCS National Championship
Game in the Orange Bowl.
The 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, Florida. 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, the Heisman runner-up. Both USC and Oklahoma started and ended the season ranked #1 and #2 (wire-to-wire), respectively, in the AP and Coaches polls.
There was some controversy in the final team selections as the Auburn Tigers had also finished the regular season undefeated and won their bowl game, the Sugar Bowl, 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 made 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.
Leinart, the game’s MVP, threw an Orange Bowl record (and USC
record-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 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 Palmer'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 returner; 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 Wyatt.
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.