Florida State Edges Auburn 34-31 To Capture 3rd National Championship
Florida State entered Monday night's BCS National Championship matchup with Auburn undefeated, and untested. The Seminoles dominated their competition all season, never being challenged. Conversely, the Auburn Tigers entered the game with a loss, winners of several close games with storybook endings.The Tigers gave FSU all they wanted and more.
Many wondered how Florida State would respond if they faced a heavy deficit. The Noles answered those critics, coming from 18 points down (the largest comeback in a BCS National Championship Game) for a thrilling 34-31 win.
FSU Heisman trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston struggled in the first half, facing constant pressure from the Auburn defense that generated 4 sacks on the night. With his team trailing 21-10 at halftime, Winston and the Seminole offense found a better rhythm in the 2nd half, chipping away at the Tiger lead, before a major special teams play changed the game.
After a 22 yard Auburn field goal with 4:22 left in regulation, football fireworks began. Florida State's Levonte Whitfield returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown, giving the Noles a 27-24 lead.
Auburn answered with an authoritative 8 play, 75 yard drive, capped off with a 37 yard Tre Mason rushing touchdown. Mason finished with 195 yards on the ground, the most ever in a BCS title game. The only problem? Leaving Winston and the Seminoles 1:19 on the clock.
Winston orchestrated a game-winning 7 play, 80 yard drive, ending with a 2 yard passing touchdown to Kelvin Benjamin. FSU took the 34-31 lead, leaving the Tigers with only 0:13. With all the magic plays Auburn had in 2013, they couldn't begin 2014 with one, ending the game on the wrong side of the 50.
"I said this from Day 1 in spring ball. These kids are special," Seminole head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "This group never faltered. They wanted to be elite. They wanted to go to the top and there's so much character in this group."
Florida State (14-0) passed their toughest test of the season at the Rose Bowl Monday night, and they came out of it with their 3rd national championship in school history.