PASADENA, Calif. — Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds remaining as the Seminoles recovered from an 18-point deficit to beat the Tigers in the BCS National Championship Game.
Levonte Whitfield returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Winston threw a TD pass to Chad Abram in a 21-point fourth quarter as Florida State (14-0) won its first national crown in 14 years. Winston, who passed for 237 yards, went 6-of-7 for 77 yards on the decisive drive and Benjamin soared high above Auburn’s Chris Davis to haul in the winning points.
Tre Mason rushed for 195 yards, including a 37-yard score with 1:19 remaining to give the Tigers (12-2) a four-point lead. Nick Marshall passed for two touchdowns and rushed for one for Auburn, which built a 21-3 over the first 25 minutes.
The Tigers possessed an eight-point lead entering the final quarter and the Seminoles pulled within 21-20 when Winston tossed an 11-yard scoring pass to Abram with 10:55 remaining. Auburn pushed its lead to four after a 23-yard field goal by Cody Parkey before Whitfield fielded the ensuing kickoff and meandered toward the left sideline and scampered untouched to give Florida State a 27-24 lead with 4:31 to play.
Florida State struck first on Aguayo’s 35-yard field goal before Auburn scored three consecutive touchdowns. Marshall tossed a 12-yard scoring pass to Mason late in the first quarter and spotted an uncovered Melvin Ray for a 50-yard catch-and-run score to make it 14-3 with 13:48 left in the first half.
Winston lost a fumble that was recovered by Auburn’s Anthony Swain at the Seminoles’ 27-yard line midway through the quarter and the Tigers cashed in on Marshall’s 4-yard run with 5:01 left until halftime. Florida State converted a fake-punt play on its ensuing possession to keep a drive alive and ultimately cut its deficit to 21-10 on Devonta Freeman’s 3-yard run with 1:28 to go.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Florida State WR Rashad Greene led all receivers with nine receptions for 147 yards. … Auburn DE Dee Ford had two sacks. … The victory by the Seminoles of the ACC ends the SEC’s run of seven straight championships.