By Gary Montgomery
Oregon 59 Florida State 20
Oregon proves their critics wrong by stopping Seminoles 29 game winning streak in the Rose Bowl Game.
Watching college football’s first ever Final Four, one couldn’t help but think “things have got to turn around for the Seminoles at some point”. But it never did, and the first ever national semi-finals game of the latest college football national championship format is a Duck Walk for the team from Oregon.
This year’s 101st Rose Bowl Game saw its tradition slightly altered in support of college football’s newest attempt at satisfying the seeming unsatisfiable demand for a true national championship game.
After 14 years of BCS experimentation the college football tinkerers have delivered the latest bonanza, a final four shootout. Number 2 ranked Oregon and Number 3 ranked Florida State played at the Rose Bowl Game in the first game and Number 1 Alabama and Number 4 Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl to produce the two teams for the national championship game.
After winning the toss, Florida State deferred to the Ducks, held on the first offensive assault and scored the first points of the game on a 48-yard field goal by Roberto Aquayo at which point things were going rather well. In spite of the eventual score all the doom and gloom articles chronicling the game, it was a 13-18 contest at the half in spite of mounting number of Seminole mistakes already holding them back.
The Seminoles’ offense fumbled the ball 7 times losing 4 with all four losses resulting in Oregon scores. It was incredible examples of everything that can possible go wrong on the field of play.
Hopes for a more mistake free Florida State second half faded quickly. After taking the opening kickoff to the Oregon 41-yard line, former Colton High Star Derrick Malone stripped Florida States’ Dalvin Cook for the first turnover of the second half. Oregon States’ Royce Freeman capped off a 5 play 69-yard scoring drive with 11:54 in quarter to make the score 25-13.
The Seminoles bounced back again, shrugging off their latest giveaway and put together a 10 play 75-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard pass from Winston to Travis Rudolph to stay close with the score at 25-20 with 8 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
Mariota quickly responded with a 1- play 75-yard drive capped by a Royce Freeman 3-yard run to stretch the lead to 32-20. And that’s when the Florida State wheels came completely of the rail. On the seventh play of the following Florida State drive Dalvin Cook committed his third turnover of the day leading to another Oregon score making it 39-20.
With an entire quarter remaining for a Seminole comeback, it could have still been a game but on the next possession lightning struck once again. Florida State committed turnover number six when Winston found himself eluding a wave of rushers, as he turned outside the pocket and looked up field he found himself face-to face with Ducks outside Linebacker Tony Washington. Winston threw on the brakes, falling backwards losing the football. Washington, a former Los Osos Rancho Cucamonga star scooped up the loose football and took it to the house basically putting the game out of reach and starting a mass exodus of the 91,322 mostly Oregon fans in attendance.
Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota was named the games Offensive MVP and Former Los Osos Star Tony Washington was the game’s Defensive MVP. The Ducks scored two more times to complete the blowout, both after a Jameis Winston interceptions on successive possessions to make the final score a humiliating 59-20.
As the Seminoles 29 game winning streak comes to an end, The Jameis Winston critics and detractors are having a field day and he is being vilified with narratives like “The Fall of the Evil Empire”. Ridiculous. The young man battled like a champion all day against incredibly bad odds. Nothing went right for the Seminoles. And yet it was a game for three quarters. Jameis actually threw for a game high 348-yards. Ten yards more than Mariota the game’s MVP.
Conversely, Oregon’s performance was flawless. Seizing ever opportunity and turning every Seminole mistake into points. The Ducks will head south to the national championship game in Dallas on January 12th against Ohio State.
Gary Montgomery can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org