Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, right, scores past Florida State defensive back P.J. Williams during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015, in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Marcus Mariota scored three touchdowns and produced 400 yards of offense to lead the No. 2 Oregon Ducks to a 59-20 blowout over the No. 3 Florida State Seminoles in the Rose Bowl, the first College Football Playoff semifinal, on Jan. 1 in Pasadena, Calif.
It marked the first loss in 30 games for the Seminoles, who won the National Championship last year.
It was a close contest early on as Florida State scored a touchdown just before halftime to cut Oregon’s early lead to 18-13 at the break. The Seminoles again cut the Ducks’ lead to five points, 25-20, midway through the third quarter following a touchdown pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston.
But Florida State suffered a complete meltdown from that point onward, as they turned the ball over three straight times late in the game and allowed Oregon to catch a rhythm on offense and run away with a big lead. The Seminoles turned the ball over five times total in the game.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston throws a pass while playing Oregon during the second half of the Rose Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2015 in Pasadena, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Mariota was masterful in orchestrating Oregon’s up-tempo offense; the junior quarterback completed 26 of 36 pass attempts for 338 passing yards and two touchdowns. Mariota also ran for 62 yards and a touchdown. Ducks sophomore running back Thomas Tyner ran for a game-high 124 yards and two touchdowns.
Winston, the 2013 Heisman winner, completed 29 of 45 passes for 348 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also fumbled the ball in blooper reel fashion, a turnover which was picked up by the Ducks and run back for a 58-yard defensive touchdown. The loss was Winston’s first in 27 starts for Florida State.
Mariota, the first Samoan-American quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy, can also become the first to win the national title game, scheduled for Jan. 12. Oregon will face the winner of the Sugar Bowl matchup between No. 1 Alabama and No. 4 Ohio State.