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2014 National Championship: 5 Reasons Auburn Couldn’t Handle Florida State

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2014 National Championship: 5 Reasons Auburn Couldn't Handle Florida State

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

It was a great way to send out the BCS Championship on a high note with one historic team against another historic team in a matchup that exceeded expectations and came down to the wire. There were no real arguments after the game about who should have played in the National Championship in 2014. (Although, if you poke at it, I’ll make an argument for Michigan State.)

It was good for the BCS National Championship Game to have two clear-cut powerhouse teams in the final game which has basically been the case all along. No offense to teams like Northern Illinois, Boise State, TCU and the like, but the BCS needed to go out the way it came in with big schools from big conferences duking it out at the end. It's sad in a way, but I’m absolutely ready for a playoff system. (See Michigan State argument)

For Auburn, they played really well, showing off their big-play offense and solid defense, especially in the first-half. Nick Marshall looked like he could hold his own despite all the hype going to Jameis Winston on the other side. In my opinion, Tre Mason is the only reason why Auburn was even in the game. Marshall made a few great plays, but Mason ran with authority and speed as he found creases that other backs may not have seen. However, FSU was just too good on too many levels to allow Auburn to take full control. When it came down to it, Auburn just could not win due to five key factors on the Florida State side.

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5. FSU’s Second-Half Defense

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Without Florida State’s stellar defense in the second-half, they never would have made the comeback. Auburn’s offense could not execute like they did in the first-half, and it changed the game.

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4. Levonte Whitfield’s Return

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

National Championship teams get big plays like this. As good as Auburn’s offense looked, they didn’t get the big score on defense or special teams, and Florida State did with Levonte Whitfield’s 100-yard dash for a touchdown.

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3. FSU Receivers Made Big Catches

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Not only did Kelvin Benjamin use every inch of his body and athletic ability to make that go-ahead catch late in the game, but Rashad Greene made a lot of key grabs. Greene racked up 147 yards on nine catches. On the flip side, Auburn’s receivers dropped the ball too many times.

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2. The Florida State Fans

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Auburn fans showed up, no doubt about that, but nothing beats the deafening roar of “the chop” when a team needs a second-half boost. FSU’s fanbase brought the noise, and the players responded.

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1. Jameis Winston is a Star

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Jameis Winston faltered majorly due to the pressure he faced in the first-half from the Auburn defense, but he took over in the second-half and scored when he needed to score. I’m not saying he pulled a Vince Young-type performance, but star quarterbacks win big games and that’s what he did.