Oregon Ducks Win Rose Bowl
Quarterback Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks hands the Leishman Trophy to linebacker Tony Washington #91 after defeating the Florida State Seminoles 59-20 in the College Football Playoff Semifinal at the Rose Bowl Game presented by Northwestern Mutual at the Rose Bowl on January 1, 2015 in Pasadena, California. Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The Oregon offense has been labeled the “best in the country,” but it was the Ducks defense that dominated the defending National Champion Florida State Seminoles 59-20 in the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl.

The Ducks defense caused five Florida State turnovers including a disastrous fumble by Jameis Winston on 4th and five in the third quarter that Oregon linebacker Tony Washington recovered and ran 58-yards for the game clinching touchdown.

“It was fourth down, so, obviously, I’m trying to compete, compete my tail off to try to get us in a good situation, but it was just a very unfortunate play,” said the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner Winston of the play. “That’s probably going to be on C’Mon Man. That was crazy.”

The game was highly touted by the media as a high magnitude matchup of the past two Heisman Trophy winners. As far as the numbers were concerned, Winston matched his counterpart, Marcus Mariota. However, Mariota made the big plays when it mattered, while Winston crumbled under the pressure.

“He’s a fantastic player,” said Winston of Mariota. “Got to tip your hat off to him because he won the game. He led his team to victory… this game could have gone either way. We turned the ball over a lot. We beat ourselves.”

Mariota threw for 338 yards, rushed for 68 yards and had three total touchdowns. Sophomore, Thomas Tyner, led the Oregon ground game with 124 yards and two touchdowns. Darren Carrington was Mariota’s favorite target as he finished with seven catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns.

The Oregon (13-1) defense dominated the Seminoles in the second half as Mariota and the offense converted four Florida State turnovers into touchdowns. At one point, Oregon had scored on six straight possessions in the second half after just scoring 18 points in the first half, their second lowest total of the season.

“The defense played incredible,” said Mariota. “For us as an offense, it gives us an opportunity to have good field position and to turn those into points.”

Florida State had to feel confident going into the half. They had held the high-octane Oregon offense to only 18 points. Only the Arizona Wildcats defended the Ducks like that all season and resulted in the team’s only loss.

The Seminoles were moving the ball well, had left at least 10 points off the board, and found themselves in a familiar position: trailing.

It was the fifth time Florida State had trailed at the half all season, and before tonight they had come back to win each and every one of those games in the second half. With the loss, the Seminoles ACC record 29 game winning streak ends and it culminates the first ever loss on the Collegiate level for Winston who most likely played his final game in a Florida State uniform.

“I’m not focused on that (his future) at all,” said Winston on whether or not he was going to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft. “I’m looking forward to next season and playing baseball.”

The game kicked off under perfect weather conditions in Los Angeles as a stealth jet flew over a cloudless sky before the game. Early on it looked like College Football fans that longed for a playoff for years were going to get a game for the ages as both teams went back and forth early.

Florida State got on the board first with a 28-yard field goal by Latino kicker Roberto Aguayo. It was only the fourth time the Seminoles scored first all season, and they won each one of those games handily.

Things took a turn for the worst however in the second half when freshman running back, Dalvin Cook, fumbled twice for the Seminoles, each turnover leading to an Oregon touchdown and more importantly, costing Florida State the momentum for the remainder of the game.

“We competed very well and had a great chance in the second half. We started turning it over,” said Florida State head coach Jumbo Fisher. “One of the worst quarters we’ve had. We turned it over four times in the third quarter, and every time we were moving the football and had a chance to score points.”

The defining moment of the game came midway through the third quarter just as the sun was setting over the beautiful San Gabriel Mountains. Oregon was up 39-20, a 19 point lead that Florida State had overcome three times before including in last year’s National Championship on the same soil when they trailed Auburn by 18. The Ducks forced the Seminoles into a fourth-and-five deep in Oregon territory and with the game on the line, the outcome was disastrous.

Winston was flushed from the pocket and evasively avoided two separate sacks before finding space and a wide-open receiver down field. Just as he went to throw, he slipped and the ball fell out of his hands and bounced backwards behind him. Ducks linebacker, Tony Washington, picked the ball up on a bounce, and ran untouched for 58 yards to the end zone, knocking over the referee in the process.

The mistakes snowballed from there as Winston threw a pick on the next Florida State possession and by the time you blinked, Oregon was up 59-20 and the sun had set on the Seminoles season.

“For it to come to an end, it’s definitely a bitter taste in our mouth,” said, Mario Edwards Jr., junior defensive end.

The Ducks now set their sights on the “house that Jerry built,” as AT&T stadium will host the national championship game in Arlington, Texas. Oregon awaits the winner of the Sugar Bowl between Ohio State and Alabama. It will be the second time in five years Oregon has reached the title game, the last time in 2010 when Chip Kelly was the coach.

Kelly, currently the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, still has his fingerprints on the program and will be in attendance in Texas to watch the Ducks try and win their first ever national championship.

“Chip is always going to be a part of this program,” said Oregon Offensive Coordinator Scott Frost. “He’s a good friend, and a great coach. He texted me on the bus ride over to the stadium this morning and the last thing he said was ‘I’m coming to Dallas, see you there!’”

© 2023 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.