Jameis Winston overcame a slow start as the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles edged past the No. 2 Auburn Tigers, 34-31 in the BCS National Championship in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 6 at Pasadena, Calif.

It was one of the most thrilling finishes in recent BCS history. Auburn led 24-20 early in the fourth quarter, but Florida State took a 27-24 lead after freshman wide receiver Levonte Whitfield ran back a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. The Tigers responded with a 37-yard touchdown by junior running back Tre Mason, pushing them ahead 31-27 with just more than a minute left in the game.

That’s when “Famous Jameis” proved why he was the second freshman quarterback ever to win the Heisman Trophy. Winston engineered an 80-yard scoring drive capped off by a game-winning 2-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Kelvin Benjamin with only 13 seconds left on the game clock.

Winston’s fourth -quarter heroics overcame a slow start as the Seminoles failed to score more than three points for most of the first half. But the redshirt-freshman quarterback came through when it mattered most, leading the Seminoles to 24 second-half points.

Winston finished the game 20-of-35 for 237 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Benjamin caught 5 passes for 54 yards.

Mason led Auburn with 195 yards on 34 carries in the loss. Junior quarterback Nick Marshall completed 14-of-27 for 217 yards and two touchdowns, but also tossed a critical interception late in the second half that helped Florida State spark a comeback after trailing 21-10 at halftime.

Florida State finished with a perfect 14-0 season while Auburn dropped to 12-2 on the season. The Seminoles of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) are now the first non-Southeastern Athletic Conference (SEC) team to win the BCS National Championship since 2006.


Perry Green

AFRO Sports Editor