Florida State came into tonight’s BCS title game favored by 10 points over Auburn. But with five minutes left in the first half, it was the Tigers who were leading 21-3, their running game slashing and gashing the Seminoles’ top-ranked defense, and their own defenders throwing Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston off his game.
Florida State would score before the half to bring the deficit to 11, then draw a field goal closer in the third quarter. In the fourth, fullback Chad Abram rumbled to a 21-yard touchdown on a check-down pass.
Auburn responded with a field goal. And then:
That’s Levonte Whitfield running 100 yards for a kickoff-return touchdown with only 4:31 left to take the lead. But Auburn — author of two amazing last-minute wins already this year — responded with what would have been a classic game-winning drive in its own right. On 2nd and 16 after a sack, superstar running back Tre Mason (195 yards on the day) took a carry through and over the Florida State defense to put Auburn ahead 31-27 with only 1:19 left.
It wasn’t enough. The ‘Noles drove to the Auburn 5-yard line in only six plays, a 48-yard catch-and-run by Rashad Greene doing most of the damage. An interference penalty on third and 8 — called against Iron Bowl hero Chris Davis — gave Florida State the ball on the 1-yard line. On the next play, 6’5” receiver Kelvin Benjamin elevated to pull in the game-winning score with only 13 seconds left. Auburn was out of miracles.
It’s the Seminoles’ third national title (all since 1993), the first championship for a non-SEC team since Texas in 2005, and another classic in the books for the Rose Bowl.
The 2014 season opener (Alabama vs. West Virginia) is seven months away. Until then, Florida State is king. See you in September, kids.