Oregon routs Florida State in Rose Bowl semifinal
NEW ORLEANS — Ohio State upset No. 1 Alabama 42-35 on Thursday night in the Sugar Bowl, the second College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Buckeyes (13-1) will play Oregon for the national championship Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.
Ohio State defensive end Steve Miller returned an interception 41 yards for a key score in the third quarter when Ohio State bolted to a 34-21 lead.
Devin Smith also caught a 47-yard touchdown pass from Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones earlier in the third period.
Ohio State added an 85-yard touchdown run by Ezekiel Elliott with 3:24 to play in the game for a 42-28 lead.
But Alabama answered with a 65-yard scoring drive with Blake Sims passing 6 yards to Amari Cooper for a touchdown with 2:20 to play.
Oregon 59, Florida State 20
PASADENA, Calif. — Marcus Mariota and Oregon turned an avalanche of Florida State mistakes into a mountain of points, and the Ducks rolled past the defending national champions 59-20 on Thursday to turn the first College Football Playoff semifinal into a Rose Bowl rout.
Mariota and the second-seeded Ducks (13-1) scored six consecutive times when they touched the ball in the second half, with each touchdown covering at least 21 yards and the last four coming after Florida State turnovers.
In the matchup of Heisman Trophy winners, Jameis Winston matched Mariota’s numbers, but the defending national champions were no match for the Ducks.
The Pac-12 champions will play Ohio State on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas, for the national championship.
“It’s incredible. I’m so proud of these guys right here,” Mariota said. “We’ve got one more to take care of.”
Third-seeded Florida State’s winning streak ended at 29.
In Winston’s first loss as a college starter, maybe his last game in college, he threw for 348 yards.
No Heisman jinx for Mariota.
He was mostly brilliant again. The junior passed for 338 yards and two touchdowns and sprinted in for a 23 yard-touchdown with 13:56 left in the fourth quarter that made it 52-20 and made the Ducks the first team to reach 50 points in Rose Bowl history.
“59-20, I did not expect that,” Oregon defensive end Arik Armstead said.
The Ducks sported T-shirts after the game that read “WON NOT DONE.”
The Ducks fans spent much of the final quarter mockingly doing the Seminoles’ tomahawk chop.
Next stop: The Lone Star state to try to win the program’s first national title.
The first playoff game at college football’s highest level, the type of postseason game fans have longed for forever, looked like it would be a classic for about two and half quarters.
Under a cloudless sky, on chilly day in Pasadena, the Rose Bowl featured the third matchup of Heisman Trophy winners and a couple of quarterbacks who could be vying to be the first overall pick in April’s NFL draft.
Mariota and Winston were both OK in the first half, missing some throws and making some spectacular ones. It was Mariota who threw the only interception, just his third of the season.
The late pick didn’t hurt the Ducks much because Florida State’s Roberto Aguayo missed a 54-yard field goal on the final play of the half.
For the sixth time this season, Florida State was trailing at the half.
And then the hole got deeper.
The Seminoles’ first turnover was a huge swing.
Freshman Dalvin Cook was stripped by Derrick Malone Jr. with Florida State in Oregon territory. The Ducks quickly flipped the field, and Freeman scored his second touchdown of the day from 3 yards out to make it 25-13.
Oregon coach Mark Helfrich had called the Seminoles “unflappable” during the week leading up to the Rose Bowl — and they showed it on the next drive.
Winston threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to freshman Travis Rudolph. Midway through the third quarter it was 25-20 Oregon, and then it was Mariota’s turn.
He zipped a pass to Darren Carrington near the sideline, and the receiver made one cut and was gone for a 56-yard touchdown that made it 32-20.
Instead of an answer from Florida State, this time another fumble by Cook and the wave of big plays and points that the Ducks do better than any team in the country started rumbling.
Two plays after the turnover, Mariota hit Carrington for a 30-yard touchdown and it was 39-20 and the Rose Bowl, filled mostly with green and yellow, was rumbling, too.
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