PASADENA, Calif. — Jameis Winston led his first collegiate game-winning drive and it couldn’t have come at a bigger time, as the FSU quarterback lead his team down the field with 1:19 remaining in the game, to cap off a 34-31 come-from-behind win against the Auburn Tigers in the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship in front 94,208 fans at the Rose Bowl.
“I was ready. I wanted to be in that situation because that's what great quarterbacks do. That's what the Tom Brady’s, Peyton Manning’s, Drew Brees, that's what they do.” said Winston about his feelings going into that final drive. “Any quarterback can go out there and perform when they're up 50 0 in the second quarter. That's what you're judged by, especially by your teammates.
“I'm pretty sure I got more respect from my teammates and the people around more on that last drive than I got the whole year.” he added.
The ‘Noles went into the second half trailing 21-10, but used 10 unanswered points to put the game within 1 points with 10:55 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Auburn extended their lead to 24-20 when Cody Parkey hit a 24-yard field goal with 4:42 left in the game, but the 4-point lead would be short lived as FSU’s Kermit Whitfield would go on to return the ensuing kickoff 100-yards for a touchdown, putting the ‘Noles up 27-24.
“They settled down at halftime and in that third quarter, they were totally dominant, I mean, very dominant in the game which allowed us on offense to get the ball back a couple times,” said FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher about his defense. “This is a complete team effort. I say this all the time, people say defense wins championships. Great teams win championships. Tonight our defense had its moments, our offense had its moments, and our special teams had its moments.”
Tre Mason re-gave the Tigers the lead with 1:19 left in regulation, when he scored his 2nd touchdown of the game on a 37-yard run. Mason’s first touchdown came on a screen pass late in the opening quarter.
The touchdown by Mason left FSU and Winston with 1:19 left on the clock. Winston would go on to go 6-7 during the drive before finally hitting Kelvin Benjamin with a 2-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead at 34-31. The touchdown came after Auburn was called for pass interference on 3rd and 8 play which fell incomplete.“It's the best football game he played all year” said Fisher about his quarterback. “Because for three quarters he was up and down, and he fought. And just like any great player, some nights you don't have it.
“When you can go back like the great ones do, it's not my night but we've got a chance to win this ballgame, it's in the fourth quarter, I've got one or two touches left and you can take your team down the field and lead them to victory, that's what a great player is to me.” added Fisher.
Auburn would have one last try at the win, but would fall short after trying a hook-and-lateral with the final play of the game. The Tigers would finish the game out gaining the Seminoles 449-385, while also limiting FSU to 2 of 12 on third down conversions.
With the 34-31 win FSU completes a perfect 14-0 season, while claiming the final BCS National Championship before next year’s playoff format begins.
The Tigers record falls to 12-2 with the loss, but Auburn is still in the record books for the biggest turnaround from one season to another, after going 3-9 just a year ago.
Now Jameis Winston will shift his focus to baseball, as the ‘Noles begin the season on Feb. 14 at home against Niagara University. Winston plays outfield and pitches for the FSU baseball team.