Heisman Trophy winner and likely top NFL draft pick Jameis Winston’s 2-yard touchdown pass in the final moments of the final Bowl Championship Series clinched a victory for Florida State University over Auburn University, 34-31, as the Southeastern Conference finally surrendered the title to a rival.
About 94,000 fans saw a dramatic comeback from the undefeated Seminoles, who squeaked out a victory over Auburn. The Tigers had previously lost only one game but came back twice dramatically to make it to the Rose Bowl. This was the last BCS championship bowl, as college football turns to a limited playoff format next year.
Though Auburn, led by quarterback Nick Marshall, led throughout most of the game, they were undone by an explosive kickoff return and final drive by Florida State that marked a very entertaining final college showdown. Winston, a redshirted freshman, threw for two touchdowns and completed 20 of 35 passes for 237 yards, in addition to tallying running yards on 11 carries.
Auburn led most of the way, but the final five minutes of the game proved volatile. With 4:42 left, Auburn was up 24-20, after a 23-yard field goal by Cody Parkey. But that lasted mere seconds, when Florida State freshman Levonte Whitfield took 11 seconds to return the kickoff for a touchdown.
Though Auburn rallied back, with a 37-yard touchdown run, to gain a 31-27 edge, Florida State proved too much when Winston took back over.
A pass interference call in the waning moments gave the Seminoles every chance they needed to get the ball over the goal line and seal the victory. Auburn tried to score again in the game’s final seconds, opting for a series of lateral passes over a hail mary, but ultimately fell short.