Top stats to know: FSU 34, Auburn 31
January, 7, 2014
By ESPN Stats & Information | ESPN.com
Florida State overcame long odds to emerge on top in a roller-coaster finish.
The BCS Championship saved its best for last.
It took the biggest comeback in the history of the BCS Championship to end Auburn’s amazing season, as Florida State won the national title, 34-31.
The Seminoles overcame an 18-point deficit to win their third national championship, their first since 1999.
The three-point margin of victory tied for the smallest in BCS Championship history.
Only two past BCS champs rallied from double-digit deficits to win— Texas, which came back from 12 points down against USC to win the 2006 Rose Bowl, and LSU, which overcame a 10-point deficit against Ohio State in the 2008 BCS Championship Game.
The Seminoles ended the streak of seven straight titles for the SEC and four straight titles for the state of Alabama.
The last time a team outside the SEC team won a national championship game against an SEC team was when Nebraska beat Florida in the Fiesta Bowl to end the 1995 season (’96 Fiesta Bowl).
Florida State joins LSU as the only other program to win a national championship with two different head coaches during the BCS era.
Jameis Winston became the the third QB since 1950 to go undefeated with a national championship and a Heisman Trophy all in the same season. The first two to do it were USC’s Matt Leinart in 2004 and Auburn’s Cam Newton in 2010.
Winston is the first freshman starting quarterback to win a BCS national championship. In fact, Winston is the first quarterback to lead a team to a national championship within two years of finishing high school since Oklahoma true freshman Jamelle Holieway in the 1985 season.
Winston is only the fifth quarterback to win the Heisman Trophy for an undefeated title-winning team, along with Davey O’Brien (1938 TCU), John Lujack (1947 Notre Dame), Matt Leinart (2004 USC) and Cam Newton (2010 Auburn).
How they won
Winston won Game MVP honors on the strength of his fourth quarter. He was 11 for 24 passing in the first three quarters, but was 9 for 11 for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Seminoles receivers aided Winston by racking up 89 yards after the catch in the game's final 15 minutes.
Winston did not have any experience with close games in the fourth quarter, as the Seminoles plowed through the 2013 regular season with ease. He had thrown 25 fourth-quarter passes all season before Monday, a total that ranked 171st in FBS. In fact, 47 teams had two quarterbacks with more fourth-quarter pass attempts than Winston.
Kelvin Benjamin caught Winston's last pass of the game in the end zone with 21 seconds left. Benjamin finished the season with at least one touchdown reception in each of his last six games.
Benjamin did not catch a pass in the first half, the first time all season he went without a reception in the first two quarters. He had four catches on six targets in the second half.
Winston also had success throwing to Rashad Greene, who finished with nine receptions for 147 yards. Winston was 9 for 14 throwing to Greene and 11 for 21 throwing to everyone else.
Auburn came closer than any other team to ending Florida State's unbeaten run.
The Tigers played seven games this season that were decided by one score and won six of them.
Auburn went from 3-9 to 12-2. The eight-game improvement is tied for the second-biggest in NCAA Major-College history, trailing only an 8.5 game improvement by Hawaii in 1999.
Stat of the Night
Florida State finished the season with 723 points, setting the FBS record for most points in a season (Oklahoma had the previous record with 716 points in 2008).