Jan. 1 Rose Bowl
Oregon 59, Florida State 20
And You Care Because … Oregon and Florida State traded blows throughout the first half and early in the third, with the Seminoles pulling within 25-20 on an 18-yard Travis Rudolph touchdown catch. And then the wheels came off. Florida State turned the ball over five times overall and four times in the third, and the Ducks took advantage ripping off 34 unanswered points with Darren Carrington catching touchdown passes from 56 and 39 yards out, Marcus Mariota and Thomas Tyner each running for scores, and in the signature play, Tony Washington returning a fumble 58 yards for a score after Jameis Winston slipped and fell on his back. The Seminoles never threatened to make it a game over the last 20 minutes.
What Else? Oregon QB Marcus Mariota completed 26-of-36 passes for 338 yards and two scores with a pick, and ran eight times for 62 yards and a touchdown
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 29-of-45 passes for 348 yards and a score with an interception
- Total yards: Oregon 639 – Florida State 528
- Turnovers: Florida State 5 – Oregon 2
Game Rating: C
By Pete Fiutak
1. I should’ve seen this coming.
I’m usually pretty good at reading teams, and I’m usually a pretty astute judge of how certain teams are coming into a big game, but I blew it. I mistook Florida State’s cool, business-like approach all week to a quiet confidence. Oregon was the far peppier of the two teams, and it appeared to be the hungrier bunch, but it was Florida State. It was a 29-game winning streak. It was a team that fought through every type of adversity to finish the regular season as college football’s only unbeaten team, and it even did a great job for about 40 minutes, blasting away with the tough offensive front and keeping the offense moving. But even when there was a big play, there just wasn’t the same buzz. There wasn’t the same fire. I hate dealing with things like passion and emotion when it comes to analyzing teams – it’s all about blocking and tackling – but once the turnovers started to come, Oregon pounced, and Florida State couldn’t block and tackle.
The Seminoles were walking slower, had hands on hips and hanging heads too much, and once the problems started to kick in, the team appeared to be done with the comeback fight.
Give Oregon and sliver of daylight, and it’ll bury any team. Florida State gave Oregon five turnovers, and the result was the highest scoring total by any team in Rose Bowl history.
By Rich Cirminiello
2. Duck, duck, lose.
After two years of perfection, Florida State has finally lost, its 29-game winning streak snapped like a twig by the Oregon Ducks. No more playing with fire. The Ducks were a raging inferno. No more dodging bullets. Oregon arrived in Pasadena with an arsenal of weapons capable of strafing anyone, even a team that began the day as the last remaining unbeaten program.
Florida State had to be perfect to beat Oregon today. It wasn’t. And even if it was, it might not have been enough against Marcus Mariota and a Don Pellum D that far exceeded expectations. The Noles set the tone for this Rose Bowl with a sloppy first half marked by missed opportunities in Oregon territory. Yet, this was still very much a game when Jameis Winston hit Travis Rudolph to cut the lead to 25-20 with 8:07 left in the third quarter. And then an avalanche of turnovers and subsequent Duck touchdowns, five unanswered scores in what felt like 30 seconds, snowed under Florida State.
In a game that was eerily similar to the Week 2 visit from Michigan State, the Rose Bowl showcased just how difficult it is to outscore Oregon for 60 minutes. It’s possible to hang with the Ducks for a while, sure. And you might even threaten after halftime. But the wave is eventually going to come. And when it does, it’s next to impossible to withstand, particularly since the Duck D is playing with an impressive amount of confidence, even after the loss of top CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu to injury.
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3. Karma finally caught up to Florida State. After winning a number of close games against opponents that shouldn’t have been hanging around, the Seminoles ran into a team that is at the top of its game tonight.
While most will talk about the dominating performance from the Oregon sideline, and justifiably so, it could have been much different. The Seminoles got themselves in a hole by turning the ball over, and against Oregon, that’s when things can turn ugly quickly. You simply can’t give points to the Ducks and then have to try and quicken up the pace by throwing the ball. You’ve got to slow things down a bit with an ability to run the ball AND limit mistakes. FSU was unable to get that going tonight.
So now Oregon is off to try and claim history in Dallas, and you have to believe they’ll be favored. You thought for all the world that the program would go on a bit of a slide after losing Chip Kelly, but under Mark Helfrich they’ve shown that they aren’t just a track team anymore, but can get into a Tough Mudder contest and come out on the winning end.
These Ducks are now the hunted rather than the hunter.
4. What’s next for Florida State
Is Braxton Miller really in the mix to transfer to Florida State? If not, Sean Maguire is a decent talent, even if he’s not Jameis Winston. With No. 5 a mortal lock to go to the NFL, and WR Rashad Greene gone, the offense might work a bit more around rising superstar Dalvin Cook and the running game. The line gets gutted with tackle-turned-center Cameron Erving, OG Tre Jackson, and four starters gone, and Mackey-winning TE Nick O’Leary will be next to impossible to replace eight away. The receiving corps, even without Greene, should be excellent with Travis Rudolph and Jesus Wilson two nice targets ready to do more.
The defense is certain to be gutted by NFL losses, meaning the front four might have to undergo a wholesale change. LBs Terrance Smith is all but gone, and the secondary will suffer major early losses, too, with corners Ronald Darby and P.J. Williams too good to remain. Fortunately, star FS Jalen Ramsey is back, and there are several outstanding young prospects – it just might take a little time. Roberto Aguayo will once again be among the nation’s best kickers, while P Cason Beatty improved and should once again be a difference-maker.
5. What does Oregon have to do next?
It’s going to get glossed over because of the blowout, but Oregon got ripped up by the Florida State offense for 528 yards. It’s not fair to take anything away from the Ducks, but there wasn’t enough pressure on Jameis Winston, the run defense got shoved around too often, and there were a few blown chances by the Noles. The Oregon O was the Oregon O, and it should be able to keep on rolling in the national title game no matter what, but the line has to hang out in the backfield more and has to create more pressure. It’s nitpicking after a 59-20 win, but had Florida State been able to convert on a few long drives instead of giving the ball away, it might have been more of a fight. And Oregon still would’ve won.
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