By Courtesy of FWAA
The Florida State Seminoles captured the Grantland Rice Trophy for the third time in history – the first time under head coach Jimbo Fisher – ending the remarkable seven-year reign by a Southeastern Conference team as the trophy’s winner.
With a pulsating and dramatic 34-31 victory over the SEC champion Auburn, the Seminoles wrapped up a 14-0 regular season as college football’s only unbeaten team. For the first time this season, the Seminoles, though, trailed in the second half, even near the end before pulling out the victory on a two-yard pass from Jameis Winston to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds remaining.
Winston struggled much of the night and had to lead the Seminoles back from the largest deficit (18 points) in BCS title game history to win a game.
“Very few can do it when it’s not their night,” Fisher said of Winston. “And to pull it out in the atmosphere and environment and with what was on the line tonight, to me if that’s not a great player, I don’t know what one is.”
The SEC had claimed the Grantland Rice Trophy the last seven years: Alabama (2011-12). Auburn (2010), Alabama (2009), Florida (2008), LSU (2007) and Florida (2006). The last non-SEC team to win the trophy was Texas in 2005, which also won its national title at the Rose Bowl.
This matched the closest final score of the 16-year BCS era, which officially ended with this game. Florida State started the BCS era with a loss to Tennessee in the 1999 Fiesta Bowl. And, itt ends it with this victory over Auburn.
“Only thing is we’re victorious and glad to say Florida State is the national champion again, and I guarantee you we’re bringing that swag back,” Winston said. “You’d better believe it.”
Florida State also won the Grantland Rice Trophy in 1993 and ’99 under Coach Bobby Bowden. In all three of the national championship years, the Seminoles have had a quarterback who had won or would win the Heisman Trophy: Winston, Charlie Ward (1993) and Chris Weinke (1999), who would win the Heisman the following season. The only other Atlantic Coast Conference team to win the FWAA’s national championship trophy is Clemson in 1981.
The Grantland Rice Trophy has been presented to college football’s national champion each year since 1954 when UCLA won the trophy. It was the first national championship trophy to be presented after the post-season. The trophy is named after the legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice, who passed away before the 1954 season.
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