Nick Marshall runs for a first-half touchdown (USA Today Sports)
With the score 14-3 early in the second quarter, Florida State faced the biggest deficit of its undefeated season. After a Jameis Winston fumble at the FSU 24-yard line gave Auburn great field position soon after, the deficit increased.
Three Tre Mason runs and a 10-yard catch by Quan Bray put the Tigers inside the Seminoles’ 10-yard line. Two plays later, Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall took the snap out of the shotgun, faked the handoff to Mason on the read option, and took off toward the end zone.
Marshall, one of the nation’s fastest quarterbacks, had no trouble outrunning the defense for a 4-yard touchdown run that put Auburn up 21-3 with 5:01 to go in the half.
Down 18 points, Florida State needed to respond, but the Seminoles quickly faced a third-and-4. Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston looked left and found an open Rashad Greene for a first down, but Greene dropped the pass, forcing another punt.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher refused to let the drive die there. He reached into his bag of tricks and called for a fake punt. The ball was snapped to the up-man, and Karlos Williams took a pitch and ran to the left side for a 7-yard gain and a crucial first down.
The successful fake gave Florida State new life. Winston found Greene on two completions and the Heisman-winner ran twice for 28 yards to get inside the Auburn 5-yard line. On first-and-goal, Winston handed off to running back Devonta Freeman for a 3-yard touchdown.
Auburn regained possession with 1:28 to go in the half, but Florida State forced a punt to end the half with the score 21-10 Auburn.
Florida State got the ball to start the second half and finally has some momentum on its side.
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