Florida State finished off its undefeated 2013 season in dramatic fashion, scoring on a two-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds to go to seal a 34-31 BCS National Championship win.
It wasn’t easy. Things looked dicey for the Seminoles for most of the first half, especially when they were down 21-3 late in the second quarter and were looking for some sort of spark. It didn’t look like it would come as Auburn forced the Seminoles to punt, but Jimbo Fisher reached into his bag of tricks and called for a fake punt from their own 40-yard line. The ball was snapped to the upback and pitched the ball to Karlos Williams who ran seven yards for a first down.
The successful fake fired up the Seminoles and Winston subsequently led the offense on a drive that culminated in a Devonta Freeman three-yard touchdown run. The score cut the Auburn lead to 21-10 and gave the Seminoles the momentum going into the second half.
In the second half, the Seminoles needed a field goal, a Kermit Whitfield 100-yard kickoff return and two Jameis Winston touchdown passes – including the game-winner to Benjamin – to complete the comeback, but they did it.
Winston, who threw for 237 yards, performed like a worthy Heisman winner down the stretch after a shaky first half. Winston threw to his most reliable target, junior Rashad Greene, nine times for 147 yards. Devonta Freeman reeled off a couple big runs. And in the third quarter, the Seminoles defense pitched a shutout before a timely P.J. Williams interception set up the first of three Florida State touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
A big question coming into Monday night’s game was how the Seminoles would handle any potential adversity in a season in which they beat their opponents by an average of 41.2 points per game. Overcoming a 21-3 deficit against Auburn’s top-ranked rushing offense certainly silenced those critics.
The win clinched a perfect 14-0 campaign -- the fifth undefeated season in Florida State football history. Sure the Seminoles didn’t play the most challenging schedule, but when the time came to rise up and beat the best, Winston and company rose to the occasion. They did so against then-third ranked Clemson on Oct. 19. They did so against then-seventh ranked Miami on Nov. 2. And they did so in the ACC title game against Duke.
The BCS title game was only the second time all year that the Seminoles were held to fewer than 40 points. Despite that, they set an NCAA record for most total points in a season with 723.
It hasn't all sunk in yet, but down the line, we may look back at this Florida State team as one of the best teams of the past 25 years.
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