Florida State seizes moment, national championship

  • Article by: RALPH D. RUSSO , Associated Press
  • Updated: January 7, 2014 - 1:04 AM

Florida State’s TD with 13 seconds left toppled Auburn, preserved an unbeaten season and secured the final BCS national title.

hide

Florida State’s Kelvin Benjamin jumped in front of Auburn’s Chris Davis to catch the game-winning touchdown pass with 13 seconds remaining.

Photo: Chris Carlson • Associated Press,

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

– Jameis Winston and Florida State faced down adversity for the first time this season, and showed they could take a punch if that’s what it took to win a national championship.

The Heisman Trophy winner threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left and No. 1 Florida State beat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 to win the BCS championship game on Monday night.

“There’s a lot of heart and guts down in Tallahassee, too,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said.

The Bowl Championship Series went out with a bang, with one of the best championship games in its 16-year history. And the Southeastern Conference’s seven-year winning streak in college football’s biggest game was stopped.

Winston struggled much of the night but was nearly perfect when the Seminoles (14-0) needed it most, completing six of seven passes for 77 yards on the game-winning, 80 yard drive. A pass interference penalty on Auburn’s Chris Davis gave Florida State a first-and-goal at the 2 and on the next play, Winston hit his big receiver, Benjamin, for the touchdown in traffic.

“When I stepped to the line of scrimmage I knew it would be a touchdown,” Winston said. “When you see K.B. in one-on-one coverage, it’s like a dream come true.”

There was no miracle finish this time for the turnaround Tigers. They tossed the ball around on one final play, but it ended with Florida State jumping on a fumble, and the Seminoles sprinting onto the field under a storm of garnet and gold confetti.

Tre Mason had given Auburn (12-2) a 31-27 lead with a 37-yard touchdown run with 1:19 left after Kermit Whitfield had put Florida State in the lead for the first time since the first quarter with a 100-yard kickoff return to make it 27-24 with 4:31 left.

Mason ran for 195 yards and Nick Marshall threw two touchdown passes for the Tigers.

“I told them in the locker room, we put together the biggest turnaround in the history of college football. We were on the brink of making it one of those magical seasons,” Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said.

Winston was 20-for-35 for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. Florida State hadn’t been challenged like this all season, winning by an average of 42 points.

“This is why it’s the best game he [Winston] has played,” Fisher said. “He struggled, but great players have great moments. If that’s not a great player, I don’t know what is.”

The redshirt freshman, who turned 20 Monday, told his teammates: “I said ‘Guys, we didn’t come here for no reason.’ I said ‘Y’all, this is ours, man.’ ”

Winston was jumpy against a strong Auburn pass rush, led by Dee Ford. He was sacked four times.

Auburn defensive end Dee Ford, who successfully pressured Winston early, said he saw signs of youth from the redshirt freshman.

“He was hesitating a little bit, holding on to the ball too long,” Ford said. “I thought we had him rattled.”

The Seminoles were down 21-3 in the first half and wobbling, but never fell over.

And now Florida State is national champion for the first time since 1999, the first team to win it after being down at halftime.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Chicago Cubs - LP: J. Arrieta 2 FINAL
Cincinnati - WP: D. Axelrod 7
NY Yankees - LP: S. Kelley 2 FINAL
Detroit - WP: P. Coke 3
Colorado - LP: J. Lyles 1 FINAL
San Francisco - WP: Y. Petit 4
Tampa Bay 4 Bottom 8th Inning
Baltimore 5
Atlanta - WP: M. Minor 6 FINAL
NY Mets - LP: J. Niese 1
Cleveland 2 Top 7th Inning
Chicago WSox 1
Minnesota 5 Bottom 6th Inning
Kansas City 4
Texas 2 Top 6th Inning
Houston 4
Oakland 0 Top 1st Inning
LA Angels 0
Atlanta 24 FINAL
Jacksonville 14
Detroit 23 FINAL
Buffalo 0
Indianapolis 7 FINAL
Cincinnati 35
Kansas City 14 FINAL
Green Bay 34
NY Jets 7 FINAL
Philadelphia 37
St. Louis 13 FINAL
Miami 14
Carolina 10 4th Qtr 2:00
Pittsburgh 0
New England 13 4th Qtr 6:51
NY Giants 13
Washington 24 4th Qtr 2:46
Tampa Bay 10
Baltimore 19 4th Qtr
New Orleans 13
Chicago 13 3rd Qtr 4:24
Cleveland 23
Denver 24 3rd Qtr 2:36
Dallas 3
Minnesota 19 4th Qtr 14:51
Tennessee 0
San Francisco 24 3rd Qtr 3:41
Houston 6
Arizona 3 1st Qtr 12:20
San Diego 0
Seattle 7 1st Qtr 13:15
Oakland 0
(21) Texas A&M 52 FINAL
(9) So Carolina 28
Wake Forest 10 4th Qtr 1:19
ULM 17
Boise State 3 3rd Qtr 5:42
(18) Ole Miss 7
Tulane 21 3rd Qtr 11:35
Tulsa 14
Rutgers 7 1st Qtr 11:54
Washington St 0
Weber State 9:30 PM
(19) Arizona State
Temple 9:50 PM
Vanderbilt
BYU 8/29/14 6:00 PM
Connecticut
(6) Jacksonville St 8/29/14 6:30 PM
(8) Michigan State
Bowling Green 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Western Ky
TX-San Antonio 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Houston
Colorado State 8/29/14 8:00 PM
Colorado
UNLV 8/29/14 9:30 PM
Arizona
Penn State 8/30/14 7:30 AM
UCF
Troy 8/30/14 11:00 AM
UAB
(7) UCLA 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Virginia
Western Mich 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
(5) Ohio State 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Navy
Appalachian St 8/30/14 11:00 AM
Michigan
Ga Southern 8/30/14 11:30 AM
NC State
Boston College 8/30/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
West Virginia 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(2) Alabama
Rice 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(17) Notre Dame
(10) South Dakota St 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(24) Missouri
Fla Atlantic 8/30/14 2:30 PM
(22) Nebraska
California 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Marshall 8/30/14 2:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
UC Davis 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(11) Stanford
Arkansas 8/30/14 3:00 PM
(6) Auburn
(16) Clemson 8/30/14 4:30 PM
(12) Georgia
Liberty 8/30/14 5:00 PM
(23) North Carolina
Ohio U 8/30/14 5:00 PM
Kent State
Louisiana Tech 8/30/14 6:00 PM
(4) Oklahoma
Idaho 8/30/14 6:00 PM
Florida
Stephen F Austin 8/30/14 6:10 PM
(20) Kansas State
Fresno State 8/30/14 6:30 PM
(15) USC
Southern Miss 8/30/14 6:30 PM
Miss State
Texas-El Paso 8/30/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico
North Texas 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Texas
(1) Florida State 8/30/14 7:00 PM
Oklahoma State
(14) Wisconsin 8/30/14 8:00 PM
(13) LSU
South Dakota 8/30/14 9:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(25) Washington 8/30/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Utah State 8/31/14 6:00 PM
Tennessee
SMU 8/31/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
Miami-Florida 9/1/14 7:00 PM
Louisville
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Ottawa 8/29/14 6:30 PM
Montreal
Winnipeg 8/31/14 3:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Toronto 9/1/14 12:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 9/1/14 3:30 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Which upcoming event are you most excited about?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close