COLLEGE FOOTBALL: FSU edges Auburn in classic game
PASADENA, California, Jan 6 (Reuters) - Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds remaining as the Florida State Seminoles recovered from an 18-point deficit to defeat the Auburn Tigers in the Vizio BCS National Championship Game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
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 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.