Florida State Wins BCS Nationwide Championship
PASADENA, Calif. – For all Jameis Winston had finished as a redshirt freshman for Florida State, he never had to pull the Seminoles from the brink of defeat.
Within the largest sport of the year, down by four with 79 seconds left, the Heisman Trophy winner put together the drive of his life, and the Seminoles proved they might take a punch to win a championship.
Winston threw a 2-yard landing go to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left and No. 1 Florida State beat No. 2 Auburn 34-31 to win the BCS national title recreation on Monday night.
"There's a lot of coronary heart and guts down in Tallahassee, too," coach Jimbo Fisher said.
The Bowl Championship Sequence went out with a bang, with top-of-the-line title games in its sixteen-yr history. It will be replaced by a 4-group playoff subsequent season. And the Southeastern Convention's seven-year winning streak in faculty football's greatest recreation was snapped by the Atlantic Coast Convention college that played in the first three BCS title video games but hadn't been back since.
Florida State was voted a unanimous No. 1 within the last AP High 25. Auburn completed second.
Winston struggled much of the night time but was close to perfect when the Seminoles (14-zero) needed it most, going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-profitable 80-yard drive.
"It was the most effective football sport he's performed all yr," Fisher mentioned, "and I will tell you why, because for 3 quarters he was up and down and he fought.
"And to drag it out within the ambiance and environment and with what was on the road tonight, to me if that is not an ideal participant, I don't know who's."
Winston was 20 for 35 for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He zipped the Seminoles down the field on the final drive, with a 49-yard catch and run from Rashad Green.
Florida State also bought assist from Auburn, too. A pass interference penalty on Chris Davis on third-and-eight from the 10 gave Florida State a first down on the 2.
"Thought it was nice protection. That is all I can say," Davis stated, including, the officials "ought to have just let us play."
On the subsequent play Winston flipped excessive to the 6-foot-5 Benjamin for the landing.
"As soon as the ball is within the air on that put up route, I've obtained to go get it, and I did," Benjamin said. "Easy as that."
There was no miracle end this time for the turnaround Tigers, who went from three-9 to SEC champions of their first season under coach Gus Malzahn. They tossed the ball around on one final play, nevertheless it ended with Florida State leaping on a fumble, and the Seminoles sprinting onto the field below a storm of garnet and gold confetti.
Florida State scored 21 points within the fourth quarter, and the groups combined for twenty-four in a breathtaking last four:forty two.
"It felt storybook again," Auburn defensive sort out Gabe Wright mentioned. "It really felt like we were going to bring it out once more. We're simply on the opposite finish of the stick. It's normally us going out on the field and celebrating. It has been a long time since we had an `L' in this locker room."
Auburn won 9 straight to get here after beginning the season unranked.
Tre Mason gave Auburn (12-2) a 31-27 lead with a 37-yard landing run with 1:19 left after Kermit Whitfield had put Florida State within the lead for the first time since the first quarter with a one hundred-yard kickoff return to make it 27-24 with four:31 left.
Mason ran for 195 yards and Nick Marshall threw two landing passes for the Tigers.
"I informed them in the locker room, we put collectively the most important turnaround in the history of school football. We were on the brink of making it one of those magical seasons," Malzahn said.
Florida State hadn't been challenged like this all season, successful by an average of 42 factors.
Florida State and Winston's greatest downside this season got here off the sphere. Winston was investigated for a year-outdated sexual assault grievance in November, but after three weeks the Florida state attorney's office determined it did not have sufficient evidence to charge him.
Winston, who turned 20 Monday, told his teammates before the ultimate drive: "Guys, we did not come here for no reason.' I said `Y'all, that is ours, man."
The Seminoles have been down 21-three within the first half, and wobbling, but by no means fell over.
And now Florida State is nationwide champion for the first time since 1999, the first staff to win the BCS title game after being down at halftime.
Winston was jumpy against a robust Auburn pass rush, led by Dee Ford. Winston was sacked four times.
The Seminoles cut it to 21-10 with a late landing in the second quarter, following a faked punt and a troublesome 21-yard run by Winston, and chipped into Auburn's lead with a forty one-yard discipline goal by Roberto Aguayo with 6:05 left within the third.
Meanwhile, Florida State had discovered some answers to Auburn's spread offense. A holding penalty that wiped out a protracted pass also helped keep the Tigers scoreless in the third quarter, and the Seminoles started the fourth with P.J. Williams intercepting Marshall's cross and organising Florida State at its 38.
When Winston tossed within the flats to Chad Abram, who hurdled over a tackler on the way to an 11-yard touchdown, the lead was 21-19. Florida State was considering going for two to tie, however Devonta Freeman was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct and that pushed the additional point again 15 yards and compelled the Seminoles to kick and make it 21-20.
Auburn responded with Cody Parkey's 22-yard field aim to make it 24-20 with four:forty two left.
During Winston's report-breaking season, full of blowouts and fourth quarters spent watching from the sideline, he by no means confronted a scenario wherein he had to drive his workforce to a winning score.
Now he had an opportunity to add that last line to his remarkable resume – until Whitfield handled it for him.
Whitfield broke by means of a seam around the 30 and hit the sideline at full velocity. Fisher ran down the other sideline yelling "Go! Go!" with Winston chasing behind pumping his arms and slapping his coach on the again. Florida State was on high, however Auburn was not performed and Winston can be known as upon one final time.
"Only thing is we're victorious and glad to say Florida State is the national champion again, and I assure you we're bringing that swag back," Winston stated. "You'd better imagine it."