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National college championship

Late touchdown pass gives Florida State college football’s national championship

STEVEN HERBERT | 1/7/2014, 12:59 p.m.
Jameis Winston threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds to play Monday night to give Florida ...

The loss ended the Tigers (12-2) hope of completing the greatest turnaround in major college football history. A victory would have surpassed the 8.5-game improvement by the 2000 Hawaii team that went from 0-12 to 9-4.

Auburn was 3-9 in 2012, fired coach Gene Chizik, and replaced him with Malzahn, who coached Arkansas State for one season after being the Tigers offensive coordinator for three seasons, including their 2010 national title campaign.

Auburn was seeking to become the eighth consecutive Southeastern Conference team to win the national championship.

The Seminoles were the first Atlantic Coast Conference team to play in the National Championship Game since they appeared in each of the first three, losing in 1999 and 2001 and winning in 2000.

Marshall threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third score in the first half to help give the Tigers a 21-10 halftime lead.

Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo kicked a 41-yard field goal for the third quarter’s only points.

Mason, a son of Vincent Mason, a member of the influential hip-hop group De La Soul, ran for a game-high 195 yards on 34 carries and caught Marshall’s first touchdown pass.

Mason finished the season with a school-record 1,816 yards, breaking the previous record of 1,786 set by Bo Jackson his Heisman Trophy-winning 1985 season. Auburn played 12 games in 1985, two fewer than this season.

Marshall completed 14 of 27 passes for 217 yards and two touchdowns. He had one pass intercepted.

The Tigers led in total offense, 449 yards to 385, and first downs, 25-19.

The Seminoles set the single-season scoring record by a Football Bowl Subdivision team, 723 points, breaking the previous record of 716 set by Oklahoma in 2008. Both teams played 14 games. This was only the second time this season Florida State was held under 40 points.

The game marked the end of the BCS which began in the 1998 season and matched the top two teams as determined by a combination of human and computer polls.

It will be replaced by the College Football Playoff, which begins with the 2014 season. A committee will select the top four teams and determine the semifinal matchups.