Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston led the Florida State Seminoles on a furious comeback that was one for the ages, as the redshirt freshman phenom and the ‘Noles wrapped up a miraculous 2013-2014 season by winning the BCS National Championship.
Florida State ended a run of seven straight wins for the Southeastern Conference, as the 14-0 ACC champions handed the SEC its first national championship loss in nearly a decade. The No. 1 Seminoles beat No. 2 Auburn, 34-31, to win the BCS national title game on Monday night.
The disappointment over the end of the streak “was etched on (SEC Commissioner) Mike Slive’s face,” writes Tony Barnhart on CBS Sports.com. “This one hurt. It will probably hurt for a while.”
In the biggest game of the year, down by four with 79 seconds left, the Heisman Trophy winner put together the drive of his life, and the Seminoles proved they could take a punch to win a championship.
Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left, and that was the clincher.
“There’s a lot of heart and guts down in Tallahassee, too,” coach Jimbo Fisher said.
It was the end of an era in a number of ways Monday night as the Bowl Championship Series came to the conclusion of its 16-year run as well. Beginning next year, teams will compete in the College Football Playoff to determine the national champion.
The Bowl Championship Series went out with a bang, with one of the best title games in its 16-year history. And the Southeastern Conference’s seven-year winning streak in college football’s biggest game was snapped by the Atlantic Coast Conference school that played in the first three BCS title games but hadn’t been back since.
Winston struggled much of the night, but was near perfect when the Seminoles (14-0) needed it most, going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-winning 80-yard drive.
“It was the best football game he’s played all year,” Fisher said, “and I’ll tell you why — because for three quarters, he was up and down and he fought.
“And to pull it out in the atmosphere and environment and with what was on the line tonight, to me, if that’s not a great player, I don’t know who is.”
Winston was 20 for 35 for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He zipped the Seminoles down the field on the final drive, with help from a 49-yard catch and run from Rashad Green.