FOX College Football’s Matt Leinart at the State Fair

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FOX College Football's Matt Leinart at the State Fair

CAMERAMAN: All right.

- We got speed?

CAMERAMAN: Yeah.

- Matt Leinart won the Heisman Trophy, two-time National Champion. He's no stranger to big games, the Red River Rivalry. Welcome to Texas, man. How's it going so far? Hot enough for you?

- Besides the sweat coming down my face, I mean, this is awesome. And what a great atmosphere.

COACH: Toughen up. Toughen up.

- Coach, come on! But obviously, it's going to be packed tomorrow for the game. Excited to be here. You know, two teams playing really good football, both ranked for the first time, I think, since 2012. So a lot at stake. It's fun. It's fun to be here in the environment.

- No doubt. Kyler Murray. Of course, all eyes will be on him tomorrow. He's a dual threat. You got it done with your arm through the air. What makes this guy so difficult? How do you try and stop him?

- Well, you-- I don't know if you can stop him. You just hope to contain him for the most part. And let me tell you something. You stop him by running the football for Texas and keeping him on the sideline. That's what Army did a couple weeks ago.

But you know, he's so talented. We know he's a great athlete, obviously, with baseball, but I've been really impressed with the way he's throwing the football. I mean, to take over for a legend in Baker Mayfield, and to be able just to come in, seamlessly handle the pressure, go out there like Baker never even played, you know, almost, in a sense, which is not a slight to him. It's just Kyler Murray's been on fire.

I love the way he's thrown the ball. He's accurate. He's obviously a really great runner. He can tuck the ball at any time. So you know, I think defensively, you just want to contain him as much as you can in the pocket-- easier said than done-- and force him to have to dink and dunk and throw the football and make him earn tough yards.

But the kid is a special talent. I got a chance, actually, to sit down with him last week, and really humble kid. You know, confident, but just humble in demeanor. So looking forward to see how he plays in this game, too. This is a big one.

REPORTER: He's a true leader, no doubt. Hey, let's talk about this. Film study, as a quarterback-- I mean, that's what made you great before you stepped on the field, your preparation. You obviously have to do it for this job. Take us into that a little bit, and then what you see out of the Texas defenses if you study the tape?

- Yeah, I mean, first of all, Texas defense playing really good. You know, last three games they've held opponents to 16 points or less. Their run defense has been outstanding. They give up some plays in the pass game. You know, explosive pass plays, which, for us, is, you know, 20 yards or more.

And obviously, Oklahoma, offensively, that's what they live or die by, so that'll be a key. But Todd Orlando's done a really good job, and you know, I always say, like, year one to year two, how does your team improve overall? Tom Herman, the offense.

And you really see the improvements from the first year to this year. Guys have more experience. They're in the right places. They're tackling better. They're playing with more confidence, and like in any sport, once you start playing with confidence, it just-- it carries over. So Texas' defense is going to have their hands full with this offense, but a big reason why Texas is in the spot they are is because, defensively, they've been outstanding.

REPORTER: Any time you say the name Matt Leinart and Texas in the same sentence, everybody goes back to the Rose Bowl, man.

- I know.

- Lasting memory from that game. I mean, you guys played so well. It was so back and forth in the fourth quarter. I was standing there in the end zone as Vince crossed the pile-on to win it, covering that game as a young reporter. One lasting memory from that game, what would it be?

- God, I don't know, We lost, so it's tough. But you know what? It's funny. Vince and I have been-- remained close, you know-- god, 2006, so what, 12 years now. And as I've gotten older, obviously, it still burns just to lose that game, and thinking we had it won. But you know, to be a part of history, you know, is kind of what I've developed into. So OK, you know, didn't win the game, but a part of, in my opinion, the greatest game every played in college with just the lead-up to that game, the hype, the expectation, and all of the talent on that field, I mean, it was ridiculous on both sides of the ball for both teams. So I just remember being a part of that, you know, and playing in the Rose Bowl my final game, even though we lost was-- the Rose Bowl was so much tradition and history and, you know, being in LA, obviously. But overall, being a USC in that time was terrific. That game against Texas was epic and one that will go down as one of the best ever.

REPORTER: We won't ever forget. OK, last question for you. 37 and 2 as a starter-- there's Notre Dame. There's UCLA.

You know rivalry games. Right? What makes these things so special? And as a player, you can play with emotion, but you can't be emotional. How do you keep the two in check?

- It's really hard. You know, it's funny. My last-- my last game against UCLA, the home game, I was-- it was Senior Day, so it was a little bit different. But I was an emotional wreck, you know, because I knew it was my last game, and I couldn't frigging hit the table if I threw a ball there.

But yeah, you're right. I think it feels different. There's a different feel throughout the week, and I play-- [INAUDIBLE] embraced it. You know, he was, hey, embrace it. But when Saturday came, it's just another opponent in our way trying to get us-- you know, block us to where we want to go.

I think rivalry games are special because it's really about the fans, the school, the tradition, the pride, you know, of for here, Oklahoma, the two states in, like, you know, heated rivalry forever. You know, so-- and this game in particular is exciting because both teams are ranked high and playing for something. And Texas is firmly in the mix for the Big 12, and Oklahoma-- we know the success they've had. But there's nothing different than rivalry games, you know, and the feel of them.

But you're right, you can play-- you know, you can have emotion, but you can't be emotional during the game. You have to understand, at the end of the day, you've got to go out and execute. You beat them, and you move on to the next week. And we'll see which one of these teams is ready to do that.

- Matt, thanks for the time, man.

- All right, man. Good to see you.

- Matt Leinart, the legendary quarterback at USC. Check him out tomorrow, pregame show, right here on Fox.