By Zach Walker
#1 Florida State Seminoles vs. #2 Auburn Tigers
Monday – January 6 – 7:30 PM
Rose Bowl – Pasadena
How did they get here?
Florida State simply destroyed any and everyone in their path, no one was a match for what they could do on offense or defense, the closest a game was for the Seminoles was a 48-34 victory at Boston College, other than that, no other opponent scored more than 17 points this season. Auburn didn’t play the same game, they love to take it down to the wire and put fans of an exciting finish on the edge of their seat. Against Mississippi State, the go-ahead touchdown throw with 10 seconds to go in the game, a crazy shoot-out against Johnny Manziel ended with a sack on 4th down to seal it, a tipped “Hail Mary” that dropped right into Auburn’s hands to go-ahead with 25 seconds, and against Alabama, a horrible decision to kick a 56-yard field goal set up possibly the greatest walk-off play in football, a 100-yard kick miss returned for a touchdown by Chris Davis as time expired to win the Iron Bowl.
How do they win?
Florida State: What does Florida State need to do to win this game? They need to play their game, score points and play some very aggressive defense that apparently no one has been figured out yet, because of the previously mentioned keeping teams under 17 points, the Seminoles’ secondary is a smart, disruptive bunch and the linebackers know how to close passing windows. Defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who should be on the Cowboys draft radar, is a menace in the middle and should be working overtime to plug up the Auburn running lanes. Jameis Winston is an extremely cool customer in the pocket, and he can make the throws and he can move as well as anyone. Kelvin Benjamin has become a nightmare, working with Winston, catching 14 touchdowns, and who can blame Winston, Benjamin is 6’5″ and 234 pounds of wide receiving weaponry.
Auburn: Nick Marshall isn’t going to be confused for Cam Newton, but he’s going to run the football, 1023 yards on 156 carries. Auburn is going to run the football. I’m mean, they’re no Navy (running 95% of the time), but Tre Mason is a jack hammer. Anyone who carries the ball 46 times in a championship game, collecting 304 yards and four scores is the real McCoy. Add Marshall, Corey Grant, and Cameron Artis-Payne, each 600 yard rushers, and you have a dominant rushing attack that can keep the Seminoles on the sideline and keep the clock melting away.
Prediction: I think everyone is expecting a truly great game out of these two teams. The Heisman winner hasn’t really fought around any on-field adversity, so if the game gets tight, it’s uncharted territory. I’d love for this game to be tight going into the fourth quarter, and I’d love for the Tigers to need a touchdown to win it late. Florida State 38 – Auburn 34, but I’ve been wrong before…