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Top Plays from 2014 BCS National Championship Game

Sebastian LenaAnalyst IJanuary 7, 2014

Top Plays from 2014 BCS National Championship Game

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    This game was filled with explosive and thrilling plays.
    This game was filled with explosive and thrilling plays.Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

    The 2014 BCS National Championship Game delivered on Monday night.

    In a back-and-forth contest, the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles put away the No. 2 Auburn Tigers, 34-31, in one of the most exciting BCS national title games in recent memory. Some even called it the best ever.

    Like any other great game, Monday’s contest was filled with amazing plays from both sides of the ball. Most of which occurred within the final five minutes of play.

    Needless to say, this will be one of those games that will have sports fans talking for quite some time.

    Luckily, B/R put together a list of the top 10 plays from the 16th and final BCS National Championship Game so you can relive the moments whenever you’d like.

     

10. Marshall Connects on 50-Yard Play-Action Strike

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 7, Florida State 3; 13:49 remaining (2Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    After scoring on their previous drive, the Tigers defense forced the Seminoles to punt.

    On the ensuing drive, a Tre Mason 23-yard run aided by an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Florida State set Auburn up at the 50-yard line. With the Seminoles expecting run, quarterback Nick Marshall dropped back and faked the handoff.

    The entire Florida State defense bit, allowing Marshall to find a wide-open Melvin Ray. With nobody around him, Ray easily pranced into the end zone for a pivotal 50-yard strike.

    Although the play itself wasn’t flashy, the score put the Tigers up 14-3 and put the pressure completely on the Seminoles to respond.

9. Winston Connects with Abram for a TD

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 21, Florida State 13; 11:03 (4Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    After intercepting Tigers quarterback Nick Marshall, the Seminoles were back in business at their own 44. Four plays later, the team had 1st-and-10 at the Auburn 11.

    As Winston dropped back in the pocket, none of his intended targets were open. However, fullback Chad Abram was wide open on the flat.

    Winston quickly dumped it off to Abram, who raced down the sideline, jumped over the outstretched hands of a Tigers defender and fell into the end zone to capitalize off the turnover.

    Although an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty prevented Florida State from going for two, the team was able to climb within one point.

8. Auburn Strips Winston for Pivotal Turnover

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 14, Florida State 3; 7:25 (2Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    Following a missed field goal by the Tigers, the Seminoles looked to capitalize.

    However, the Auburn defense wasn’t having it.

    As they did most of the game, the front seven got intense pressure on quarterback Jameis Winston as he dropped back. That forced Winston to try and make something happen with his legs.

    Unfortunately, he failed to keep hold of the ball and the Tigers were able to knock it out and recover.

    On the ensuing drive, Auburn capitalized to make it 21-3, putting Florida State in a gigantic hole.

7. Winston Strikes Pose on 21-Yard Scramble

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 21, Florida State 3; 1:42 remaining (2Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    Following a fake punt earlier in the drive, the Seminoles finally seemed to have some momentum going in their favor.

    After taking it down to the Tigers'24, Jameis Winston and Florida State were faced with a difficult 3rd-and-7.

    As Winston dropped back, the pocket collapsed around him. But backed by great presence, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner stepped up and avoided the sack and made a run for it.

    Winston then stiffed armed one Auburn defender before juking out another, taking the ball down to the 3, where he was met by Seminoles ball boy extraordinaire “Red Lightning.”

    On the very next play, running back Devonta Freeman rushed into the end zone to pull Florida State back into the game.

6. Interception Boosts FSU Offense

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 21, Florida State 13; 13:07 (4Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    Aside from a field goal, the Seminoles offense couldn’t get anything going. 

    That’s when the defense decided to make a play.

    On 2nd-and-16 from his own 34, quarterback Nick Marshall made his first mistake of the night. P.J. Williams capitalized on it, bringing it in for an interception and giving Florida State an opportunity to tie the game.

    The play wasn’t spectacular, nor did he return it for a significant gain.

    However, it helped provide a much-needed boost to the Seminoles offense, as the team took the ball 56 yards for a touchdown on the ensuing drive.

5. Catch-and-Run Gives FSU Hope

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 31, Florida State 27; 1:03 (4Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    With all hope seemingly fading away quickly, the Seminoles were in desperation mode. At 2nd-and-2 from his own 28, quarterback Jameis Winston only had a little over a minute remaining to drive his team down the field.

    That’s when Florida State got the play it needed.

    Winston threaded the needle and stuck in a perfectly thrown pass to wide receiver Rashad Greene in between two Tigers defenders. Greene then turned up the field and ran down the sidelines for what ended up being a 49-yard catch and run.

    The play positioned the Seminoles at the Auburn 23 with plenty of time remaining on the clock.

    While the touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin will be the play that everyone remembers, this was actually the one that made it all possible.

     

4. Whitfield Shows off FSU Speed, Returns Kickoff 100 Yards for TD

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 24, Florida State 20; 4:42 remaining (4Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    Even though quarterback Jameis Winston had just thrown his first touchdown pass earlier in the quarter, there was a sense that the Seminoles were in trouble.

    If Florida State was going to win this game, someone else was going to have to make a play. Whether it was someone from the rushing attack, the defense or special teams.

    Fortunately, kick-return specialist Levonte Whitfield answered the call.

    After being so close to breaking one open all game long, the freshman finally found daylight. Once he found the gap, no stiff arm or jukes were necessary. Whitfield simply just outran everyone on the pitch.

    On he went for 100 yards, swinging the momentum largely in the Seminoles' favor.

    The score put Florida State up 27-24—the team’s first lead since being up 3-0—and at the moment, it seemed to be the knockout punch.

3. Fake Punt Breathes New Life into FSU

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 21, Florida State 3; 3:52 remaining (2Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    At this point, the game was in danger of getting out of hand. The Tigers had scored on three of their last four drives and taken the ball into Seminoles territory on four consecutive possessions.

    Meanwhile, Florida State had only gained 28 yards in its last four drives combined.

    Was punting the ball really the right decision to do?

    On 4th-and-4 from their own 40, Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher pulled off one of the gutsiest plays in BCS Championship Game history. With a direct snap to a Florida State player, he rushed to the right before lateralling it to Karlos Williams, reversing the field.

    With the Auburn defense caught off guard, Williams rumbled for seven yards and easily gained the first down.

    The play would wake the Seminoles up as they went on to score a touchdown on the drive.

2. Mason Powers His Way Through the Seminoles for 37-Yd TD Run

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    Score At the Time: Florida State 31, Auburn 27; 1:26 remaining (4Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    Following the kickoff return, the Tigers looked deflated. They were the team that usually pulled off the late-game heroics.

    Instead, Auburn was tasked with driving 75 yards for a touchdown.

    But like the team has throughout the season, it answered the call. Methodically, the Tigers moved the ball downfield. Running back Tre Mason handled the brunt of the work.

    Finally, on 2nd-and-15 from the Seminoles' 37, Auburn again trusted Mason with the ball.

    This time, Mason broke into the open and seemingly had the first down. But that wasn’t enough, as the junior juked out one Florida State defender and absorbed the hit from another before finally breaking free.

    It all left Mason wide open to scamper into the end zone untouched for the final 20 yards of an impressive 37-yard run.

    The Tigers had answered the Seminoles' knockout punch with one of their own.

1. Winston Secures Storybook Ending with 2-Yd TD Toss

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    Score At the Time: Auburn 34, Florida State 31; 0:16 remaining (4Q)

     

    Why It’s Here

    With only 1:19 remaining, quarterback Jameis Winston had 80 yards standing in between him and a BCS national title. Furthermore, the redshirt freshman was this close to putting the finishing touches on one of the greatest seasons by a single player in college football history. 

    And just like he has all season long, Winston answered the call.

    Utilizing great poise and clock management, Winston went 5-of-6 for 77 yards on that final drive. That included a short pass to wide receiver Greene that went for 49 yards to take the Seminoles into Auburn territory.

    From there, Winston was aided by a pass interference call that set the ball up at the 2.

    With 16 seconds left and the entire Tigers defense thinking Florida State would run the ball, Winston dropped back and faked the handoff. The secondary bit just enough to allow Winston to launch a perfectly thrown pass—high and in front of his target—that Kelvin Benjamin hauled in for the go-ahead touchdown.

    It was a fitting ending to one of the greatest BCS title games ever.

     

    All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com.

    For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Facebook, on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

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