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USC football: Matt Leinart is Sporting News college football player of decade

September 24, 2009 | 12:27 pm

Matt Leinart won the 2004 Heisman Trophy and helped lead the Trojans to two national titles and a 34-game winning streak.

Not a bad college career, according to Sporting News, which named Leinart the college football player of the decade.

Leinart chose the end of the 2005 Notre Dame game, which featured his fourth-and-nine pass to Dwayne Jarrett and his Reggie Bush-assisted sneak into the end zone, as his favorite moment.

“The thing was, we didn’t panic,” Leinart told Sporting News. “We just executed a play. And then the Bush Push, or whatever they call it, I had to decide whether to spike the ball or go for a touchdown. I told Reggie, ‘I’m going to go.’ He said, ‘OK. I’ve got you.’

“I remember, after the game, being so emotionally drained. Everything that went into that game and getting the rivalry back in the spotlight. That last drive felt like it took years off your life. But I’ll never forget celebrating in the locker room after we won.”

-- Gary Klein