Florida State & Auburn were a part of the final chapter of the BCS in Monday night’s BCS National Championship Game in Pasadena, California. Next year begins the new College Football Playoff, which will see the top 4 teams in the country duke it out for a national championship. The BCS came to an end on a magical note, as many people believe Florida State and Auburn played one of the best championship games ever.
No. 1 Florida State came in as a 14-point favorite over No. 2 Auburn. However, Auburn came out with intensity and an edge that Florida State could not match from the start. Auburn jumped out to an early 21-3 lead in the 2nd quarter. Auburn’s defense that had been torched all year played out of their mind and was able to put pressure on Freshman Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston.
One of the key plays of the game was late in the first half. Auburn was winning 21-3, and just stopped Florida State on a third down. It looked as though we might be in store for a blowout as the final BCS game ever. However, head coach Jimbo Fisher had something else in mind. On a 4th and 4, he called a brilliant fake punt end-around, giving FSU a momentum boost, and another chance to put some points on the board before halftime. Winston drove them down the field, and they punched it in the end zone, as they went into the locker room down 21-10.
In the second half, Auburn’s offense stumbled a bit, and could not move the ball on the talented, NFL prospect-filled FSU defense. One of those prospects, P.J. Williams, intercepted Auburn QB Nick Marshall at the start of the 4th quarter. Winston and the FSU offense capitalized, as they drove down for another touchdown, cutting the Auburn lead to just one after 17 unanswered points, 21-20.
After an Auburn field goal, freshman LevonteWhitfield returned the kickoff 100 yards for a TD with just 4 minutes left in the game, giving FSU their first lead, 27-24. This seemed to be the backbreaker that Auburn would not be able to overcome. However, Nick Marshall drove the Tigers down the field once again, and Tre Mason capped it off with a 37-yard TD run, giving Auburn a 31-27 lead with 1:19 remaining.
However, after struggling all night long, Winston found his form on FSU’s final drive, going 6-7 for 77 yards, including a 2-yard TD pass to Kelvin Benjaminwith 0:13 left. Winston came up big when it mattered most, and put his team in a position to win the ball game, and a national championship. This all happened on Winston’s birthday no less, as he turned 20 years old on Monday. Most likely the best birthday he could have ever asked for, capping off an undefeated season with a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship. He is the 3rd QB in history to go undefeated, capture a Heisman Trophy, and win a National Championship all in the same season… and he did it all as a freshman.
One thing is for sure: college football and its fans are extremely satisfied with the way the BCS era came to an end last night. Hopefully the College Football Playoff will bring us new and exciting memories in the years to come.
By Dave Guberman