(Richard Mackson/USA Today)
In the final BCS Championship Game, Jameis Winston ran past Auburn defenders and into history.
Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston capped off his 20th birthday by leading the Seminoles on an 80-yard drive in the final minute of regulation to seal the school’s third National Championship with a 34-31 victory over the Auburn Tigers.
Kermit Whitfield’s 100-yard kickoff return gave the ‘Noles their first lead of the game
Jameis Winston became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy and lead his team to the National Championship in the same season (Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway led the Sooners to the championship in 1985 after stepping in for an injured Troy Aikman). Auburn took advantage of a slow start by the Seminoles — jumping out to a 21-10 halftime lead. Winston rallied Florida State to 21 fourth quarter points, including going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-winning drive. After a pass interference call placed the ball at the 2-yard line, Winston found Kelvin Benjamin in the end zone with 11 seconds left.
The Auburn Tigers — who were in the championship game thanks to two improbable plays against Georgia and Alabama were out of miracles.
It’s no doubt Winston will return to Tallahassee as the 2014 Heisman favorite and the Seminoles will most assuredly rest at the top of the preseason polls. Whether it was dismantling Clemson in his first big game or being peppered with questions about his role in an alleged sexual assault last year, this very engaging, young man has remained cool beyond his years. On the game’s final drive, Winston attacked history as well as the Auburn defense. His late game heroics evoked memories of freshman center Pervis Ellison leading the Louisville Cardinals to the NCAA Championship a generation ago.
The return to dominance of Florida State football has coincided with the undeniable emergence of Jameis Winston.