Florida St. wins title with dramatic rally over Auburn: Florida State won the U.S. college football championship game 34-31 with a dramatic rally over underdog Auburn last night in a thrilling BCS national title game played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California on Monday night.
The heavily favored Florida State Seminoles look like they were going to get blown out early when Auburn took a 21-3 lead late in the second quarter, as their Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston struggled mightily in the first half.
Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall was making huge plays, throwing two touchdown passes, and Tre Mason was running well as usual. The Auburn defense was shutting down the powerful Florida State offense, and the Seminoles looked rattled.
All of this was unfamiliar territory for Florida State, who came into the game with a 13-0 record, winning by an average of 42 points per game. Indeed, the last time they had trailed in any game was way back in September.
But Auburn, who had completed a remarkable turnaround from last year’s 3-9 record, seemed like a team of destiny this year. The Tigers had come into the game with a 12-1 record after winning two late-season games with astonishing finishes.
They beat Georgia on a miraculous tipped pass that fell into their receiver’s hands for a long touchdown, and then upset #1 ranked and two-time defending national champion Alabama (also Auburn’s in-state archrival) in a wild finish when they returned an Alabama missed field goal 109 yards for a touchdown on the game’s final play.
Auburn then won the Southeastern Conference (SEC) Championship game by defeating Missouri. A team from the SEC had won the previous seven national championship games before tonight’s game.
But after Auburn took the big lead, Florida State slowly got untracked and began moving the ball. The Seminoles cut the lead to 21-13 heading into a fourth quarter that would prove dramatic.
Winston threw a touchdown pass to cut the Auburn lead to 21-20 early in the final quarter. The last five minutes of the game would see 24 points scored as the team trailing kept rallying to retake the lead.
With 4:42 left, Auburn kicked a field goal to increase their now-narrow lead to 24-20, but Florida State returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown to grab the lead 27-24. But Auburn wasn’t finished.
Auburn drove back down the field, and Tre Mason’s 37-yard touchdown run put Auburn back ahead 31-27 with just 1:19 remaining in the game. Florida State’s win probability was just 6% at that point, according to ESPN stats and information.
But Winston guided Florida State 80 yards downfield, the biggest plays coming on a 49-yard pass play to the Auburn 20, and then a pass-interference call that gave the Seminoles the ball on the Auburn 2-yard line in the closing seconds.
Winston then threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left to give Florida State the 34-31 win and the national title.