PASADENA, Calif. — Check back here for instant, quarter-by-quarter recaps from the BCS championship game.
FINAL SCORE: FSU 34, AUBURN 31
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston. After Auburn's Tre Mason scored on a 37-yard run with 1:19 remaining, Winston orchestrated a 7-play, 80-yard scoring drive in which he completed six of seven passes for 72 yards. He finished the fourth quarter completing nine of 11 passes for 112 yards and two TDs.
Winston hit hulking receiver Kelvin Benjamin with a 2-yard TD pass with nine seconds left to give the Seminoles the victory. Honorable mention: After Auburn kicked a field goal to take the lead, Kermit Whitfield took the kickoff 100-yards to give FSU the lead. Second honorable mention: Mason's 37-yard run to give Auburn the lead with 1:19 remaining. Third honorable mention: Winston's 49-yard pass to Rashad Greene on the final scoring drive.
Winston firing the ball to Benjamin, who towered over Tiger cornerback Chris Davis, in the end zone for the winning score.
AUBURN 21, FSU 13
Auburn defensive end Dee Ford. In a quarter dominated by defense, Ford had a critical sack of Winston when FSU had the ball in its own territory. Ford sacked Winston at the 15 for an 8-yard loss. That forced Florida State to punt the ball away the next play. Auburn could not capitalize, but Clark was able to pin the Seminoles inside the 5 when Auburn was forced to punt.
Auburn had what appeared to be a first down deep in FSU territory on its first possession of the half, when an 18-yard pass from Marshall to Coates was negated by a Greg Robinson holding penalty.Auburn would have had the ball inside the FSU 20. Auburn had been driving before the penalty. Auburn was forced to punt a play later. Auburn was up 21-10 at the time and had just stopped FSU on the first possession of the second half. FSU took the ball after Auburn punted and drove 67 yards in 5:30 for a 41-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-13 and make it a one-possession game with 6:05 to go in the period.
Whatever the FSU defensive coaches did in the locker room at the half to adjust to the Auburn offense. The Tigers did not score in the third quarter and the production was way off from the first half. Auburn had only two first downs and 50 yards offense in the quarter.
HALFTIME: Auburn 21, Florida State 10
Nick Marshall, once again. Auburn's starting quarterback continued to hit open receivers, finishing the first half 7-for-13 for 113 yards and two touchdowns. Fifty of those yards came on one play, as he hit a wide-open Melvin Ray for on a 50-yard touchdown, pushing the Tigers' lead to 14-3. The next time Auburn hit paydirt, Marshall figured prominently once more — and this time, he did the scoring honors himself. Facing a third-and-two from Florida State's 4-yard line, Marshall faked it inside and cut to his left, outrunning Seminole defenders for the Tigers' third touchdown of the half.
Things were still within striking distance for Florida State when it took the ball with 7:54 remaining. But two plays later, Auburn's defense came up with the game's first turnover, as tackle Angelo Blackson knocked the ball out of Jameis Winston's grasp as the Heisman winner attempted to scramble away. Linebacker Anthony Swain jumped on it to give the Tigers the ball at the Seminoles' 27-yard line. Six plays later, Marshall was in the end zone and Auburn was up 21-3.
Up 21-3, Auburn undoubtedly held all the momentum. What's more, Florida State was set to punt it back to Auburn with more than three minutes to go in the half. But then, Jimbo Fisher went into his bag of tricks and called a fake punt, running a reverse with tailback Karlos Williams, who gained seven yards on fourth-and-four. The Seminoles then went on to score to cut the Tigers' advantage to 21-10 as the first half ended.
END FIRST QUARTER: Auburn 7, Florida State 3
Nick Marshall. Auburn's junior quarterback wasn't able to get anything going when it came to running the ball, carrying three times for -8 yards. But he was quite solid in the passing game, going 5-for-8 for 53 yards. That total included the only touchdown of the opening period. On third-and-nine from Florida State's 12-yard line, Marshall dumped the ball off to Tre Mason. The junior running back hauled it in and picked up a key block from left tackle Greg Robinson to put the Tigers on top 7-3.
With Florida State already ahead 3-0, Auburn moved the ball well on the ensuing possession. It stalled at the Seminoles' 40-yard line, however, and they were forced to punt. In stepped senior Steven Clark, already known for clutch kicks this season. He came up with another one, landing a ball inches in front of the end zone with back spin, making Florida State begin the next drive at its own 2-yard line. The Tigers' defense then came up with a three-and-out to give the offense outstanding field goal position on the next possession.
Marshall making the split-second decision to audible into the play that led to Mason's touchdown. The Tigers stepped to the line of scrimmage with another play, but Marshall read the defense and quickly changed things up. It couldn't have worked out more perfectly for Auburn.