Written by Adrian Beecher
Pasadena, CA- Marcus Mariota along with some stellar help from his defense, led the Oregon Ducks to a 59-20 rout of the defending National Champion Florida State Seminoles in the 2015 College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game.
The Ducks got off to a slow start, with their opening driving stalling on a 3 and out forcing them to punt. The Seminoles then went 44 yards in 10 plays, capping off their drive with a 28-yard field goal by Roberto Aguayo to give the Noles a 3-0 lead.
Mariota and the Ducks then answered right back with their fast paced offense, with Mariota leading his team 73 yards down the field in 9 plays. The drive was capped off by a 1 yard rushing touchdown from running back Royce Freeman to give the Ducks a 6-3 lead. Then they went for two to set the tempo and converted to make it 8-3 with 6:55 left to play in the 1st.
In the second quarter both teams traded field goals to make it 11-6 Oregon with 5:18 left to play in the half. At this point both teams looked even and continued to trade momentum.
After FSU scored their field goal, this years Heisman Trophy Winner Marcus Mariota led his team back down the field on a 10-play 75 yard drive that took 3:06 off the clock. This time it was Oregon running back Thomas Tyner taking it in for the score on a 1 yard scamper to put the Ducks on top 18-6 with 2:12 left to play in the 1st half.
Jameis Winston and the Noles answered right back with a 6-play 71 yard drive that only took 1:36 off the clock. The drive was capped off by a 10 yard run up the middle by FSU’s Karlos Williams, which brought the Seminoles back within 5. At the half it was 18-13 and it looked as if we were going to have a competitive ball game all night.
The second half was and entirely different story and not one that the Noles’ were used to being a part of.
The Noles’ started off with the ball and were putting a good drive together, looking to take the lead back for the first time since their opening possession, then the nightmare started for Florida State.
Seminoles running back Dalvin Cook took a run up the left side of the field on a 2 and 10 from the Ducks 41, but as he went to the ground Ducks linebacker Derrick Malone Jr. stripped the ball out of Cooks hands and recovered it, giving Oregon possession.
Mariota then led the Ducks on a 5 play 69 yard touchdown drive in 1 minute and 32 seconds to give Oregon a 25-13 lead with 11:54 to play in the 3rd.
Winston and the Noles’ were able to answer back with a score of their own as Winston connected with wide out Travis Rudolph for a 18 yard touchdown reception to make it 25-20 with 8:04 left in the 3rd. That would be the last time the Seminoles would see the end zone.
Mariota wasted no time extending the Ducks lead, connecting with wide out Darren Carrington for a 56-yard touchdown pass making it 32-20 with just 6:37 left to play in the 3rd. It then went from bad to worse for the Noles’.
Winston connected with Dalvin Cook over the middle near midfield and as he was brought to the ground, Cook lost control of the ball yet again getting stripped. The ball was recovered by Ducks safety Reggie Daniels, giving Oregon a 1st and 10 at mid-field.
“I felt comfortable coming out in the second half. I thought defense had played pretty well. But I think momentum and the way they got the ball in the turnover situation, that was the key, and it made the difference.” Expressed FSU Head Coach Jimbo Fisher of the turnovers.
It then took Mariota just 2 plays to get the Ducks back into the end zone with a 2nd touchdown reception by Carrington making it 39-20 with just 4:16 to play in the 3rd.
“This game happened to be his game, and when he had the opportunity to make those plays, it was huge, and he's grown up a ton, realizing early on that I can affect the game without the ball in my hands.” Said Oregon Head Coach Mark Helfrich of Carrington’s performance post game and growth throughout the season.
On the Noles’ next drive, on a 4th and 5 from the Oregon 38, Winston scrambled outside the pocket, making some defenders miss, but not Ducks linebacker Tony Washington, who hit the Noles’ quarterback as he looked to throw causing Winston to fumble. Washington picked up the fumble and sprinted his way 58 yards in the opposite direction for an Oregon Duck touchdown. This made it 45-20 and acted as the true knockout punch.
The Ducks would add two more scores in the 4th quarter to make it 59-20, which would be our final. The Noles were unable to put together anything that amounted to points in the 4th quarter as their 29 game winning steak came to an end, as well as their hope to repeat as National Champions.
Mariota finished the game 26 of 36 passing for 338 yards with 2 passing touchdowns on the night, as well as adding 62 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground, on his way to being named the 2015 Rose Bowl Game Offensive MVP.
The Oregon Ducks will now head to North Texas to face the Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium in Arlington on January 12, 2015, with a 8:30 pm EST kickoff time scheduled.
Photos by Craig Balog / The SkyBoat
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