PASADENA, Calif. (AP) — Nick Marshall threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to Tre Mason, and No. 2 Auburn led No. 1 Florida State 7-3 after one quarter Monday night in the final BCS championship game.
All-America kicker Roberto Aguayo made a 35-yard field goal for Florida State, which hadn't trailed in any game since Sept. 28 until the Tigers capitalized on a short field for 25-yard TD drive ending in Mason's catch on a screen pass.
Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston was 4 for 8 for 43 yards on his 20th birthday for the unbeaten Seminoles, who had run over every opponent in their path to a third national title.
Marshall passed for 53 yards early in the final game of the Bowl Championship Series, college football's much-maligned postseason system designed to match the nation's top two teams. The BCS will be replaced by a four-team playoff next year.
Auburn shrugged off early-game jitters including a dropped pass by Ricardo Louis to take an early lead after a short Florida State punt. Marshall threw a screen pass to Mason, who followed his blocking to the end zone.
Devonta Freeman rushed for a 21-yard gain on Florida State's first play, and Winston drove the Seminoles to the Auburn 16 on their opening drive. An incomplete pass to the end zone and a third-down sack forced Aguayo to kick just 5:07 in.
Auburn stranded Florida State inside its 5 with an exceptional punt moments later, and Winston couldn't move the Seminoles. Tigers defensive end Dee Ford sacked Winston to stall Florida State's next drive, but Auburn's Johnathan Ford roughed the punter, keeping the drive alive.
Auburn is making its second BCS championship game appearance after beating Oregon for the title three years ago behind Heisman winner Cam Newton. The Tigers went 3-9 last season, but first-year coach Gus Malzahn quickly returned them to the national spotlight.
Florida State is chasing its third national championship after a spectacular season. Led by their freshman quarterback, the Seminoles won their 13 games by an average of 42.3 points, never even playing a close game.