A Seminole moment: Florida State wins thrilling BCS finale, 34-31

Jameis Winston's TD pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left caps Seminoles' rally for wild win over Auburn in last title game of BCS era.

Florida State players comment on their 34-31 win over Auburn for the final BCS national championship.

Until the fourth quarter Monday night, USC versus Texas in 2006 was considered the greatest college football game in the 16-year Bowl Championship Series era, maybe ever.

Move over, Trojans and Longhorns, you have company.

Eight years later, on the same Rose Bowl field, in the last BCS game ever, Florida State rallied from 18 points down to defeat Auburn, 34-31, before a worn-out crowd of 94,208.

The winning score came with 13 seconds left, on a two-yard scoring pass from Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin.

SUMMARY: Florida State 34, Auburn 31

It came in the same south end zone where Vince Young defeated USC with his dazzling last-minute run.

"Winston to Benjamin" now becomes one of the all-time pass-and-catch phrases in Florida State history.

How did the Seminoles do it?

"We had the ball last," Coach Jimbo Fisher said, and boy, was he right.

Winston, this year's Heisman Trophy winner, struggled for much of the game but drove his team 80 yards in seven plays to cap a remarkable freshman season.

"I was ready," Winston, who fumbled earlier in the game, said of the last drive. "I wanted to be in that situation. That's what great quarterbacks do."

Winston won the national title on his 20th birthday and became the first freshman quarterback to win a BCS title.

Because his team had been so dominant, Winston had not led a game-winning drive all season — until now.

"It was the best football game he played all year," Fisher said. "For three quarters, he was up and down. He fought and fought. Anyone can do it when it's their 'A' game night. . . . If that's not a great player I don't know what one is."

Winston finished 20 for 35 for 237 yards with two touchdowns.

It was Florida State's second BCS title but first since the 1999 season.

The Seminoles (14-0) capped the school's second undefeated season, with former coach Bobby Bowden in the house. Bowden always lamented he never got to coach a big game in the Rose Bowl. Well, at least he got to watch one.

Florida State's win was remarkable on several fronts. The Seminoles overcame the greatest deficit to win in BCS history. Texas trailed USC by 12 in the fourth quarter in 2006 rallied for a 41-38 victory.

The Seminoles also snapped the Southeastern Conference's seven-year streak of BCS titles. The SEC still finished with nine titles out of 16, but could not close the BCS era with the bookend to Tennessee's win in 1998.

"There's some other folks in the country that can play football too," Fisher said.

Connect
Advertisement

VIDEO