The media-proclaimed "team of destiny" fell one game short at the Rose Bowl in the final BCS National Championship Game.
Nick Marshall and the offense appeared slow early. The first-year Tiger missed a wide-open receiver in the middle of the field on a third-down play. The first series for Jameis Winston and the Seminoles ended in a field goal.
It was all Auburn defense from there. The Auburn front seven created pressure and mixed coverages to put the freshman Heisman winner in a collapsing pocket. Winston and the offensive line struggled early, leading to a string of 13 offensive plays for one yard.
Auburn's offense capitalized on the Seminoles' mistakes, scoring 21 unanswered points with a 12-yard Tre Mason touchdown reception, Melvin Ray 50-yard touchdown reception and Marshall 4-yard rushing touchdown.
The Tigers held Florida State to another fourth-down situation on their own side of the field. However, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher called for a fake punt and revived the team before halftime as Winston led the unit to a touchdown.
The two teams walked into the locker rooms with the Tigers up 21-10. Most of the crowd chanted "SEC, SEC" as time expired in the first half.
Marshall had three total touchdowns with seven completions to seven different receivers. Running back Tre Mason ran for 96 yards and added the touchdown reception. Auburn held FSU to season lows in first-half points, yards and yards per play.
The defense wouldn't stop there in the second half; Auburn forced FSU into two three-and-outs and held the potent offense to a field goal in its first three possessions.
The Seminoles' defense would play even better and shutout the Tigers in the third quarter and intercept their 26th pass following a nonchalant throw by Marshall. The interception would turn into a Winston touchdown as FSU pulled within one of Auburn.
An Auburn field goal later, the Seminoles were able to take the lead on the ensuing kickoff with a Levonte Whitfield 100-yard touchdown return. The extra point made it 27-24 with 4:31 left to play.
Mason then broke off a 37-yard touchdown run to put the Tigers ahead 31-27. The run would also break former running back Bo Jackson's school record for rushing yards (1,786).
Famous Jameis now had 1:17 to make a comeback. The Auburn defense that had been so clutch before allowed the Seminoles to drive down the field. An Auburn pass-interference call would put the ball on the two. One play later, Winston threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin.
There would not be another Auburn miracle. The Seminoles win 34-31.
The Southeastern Conference would not extend its streak of seven straight championships. Auburn would not extend its streak of wins over top-five ranked opponents.
Winston threw for 237 yards and two touchdowns while running back Devonta Freeman added 73 yards on the ground and a rushing score.
Marshall finished with 230 yards in the air for two touchdowns and an interception. Mason carried the ball 34 times for 195 yards and a touchdown.