Auburn’s Nosa Eugae goes through practice Monday during the Tigers’ preparation for the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be played Monday night. | Todd Van Emst
Auburn’s Nosa Eugae goes through practice Monday during the Tigers’ preparation for the BCS National Championship game in Pasadena, Calif. The game will be played Monday night. | Todd Van Emst

For all the marbles

Published 12:03am Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Auburn and Florida State will battle for all the marbles Monday night in the 2014 Vizio BCS National Championship at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.

The second-ranked Tigers are playing in their second college football title game in four years. The top-ranked Seminoles last won the most-coveted game back in 1999.

Both team’s journeys to the top stage have been different by a long shot.

Auburn (12-1) played a tough SEC opponent-filled season, and its only loss came to LSU.

During the last two weeks of the regular season, Auburn won its games through a miracle catch against Georgia and a field goal return for a touchdown against arch rival Alabama in the Iron Bowl.

From their win against the Crimson Tide, the Tigers advanced to play in the SEC Championship Game in Atlanta, where they won a 59-42 shootout game against Missouri.

Florida State cut through its season like a knife slicing warm butter.

The Seminoles have outscored their opponents 689-139 this season — Auburn has outscored its opponents 522-312 — and their toughest opponent came against Clemson, who they blew out in a 51-14 win on Oct. 19.

FSU then sailed through the ACC Championship Game against Duke to then stay undefeated at 13-0 overall. With Alabama’s loss to Auburn, FSU took over the No. 1 spot in the college polls after staying at No. 2 toward the end of the season.

Statistics from both teams indicate that this will be a rush versus pass match up.

Auburn leads the nation in rushing yards with 4,364. The Tigers average 335.7 yards a game.

Leading the pack for the Tigers on the ground is Tre Mason. He has 1,621 yards and 22 touchdowns going into Monday night’s game.

FSU has put together 4,186 total yards in the air, and averages 322 yards passing per game.

Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback Jameis Winston’s passing efficiency is right at 67.9 percent, gaining on 3,820 yards and 38 touchdowns. He averages 293.8 yards per game.

Winston’s favorite targets are Rashad Greene, Kenny Shaw and Kelvin Benjamin, who each have accrued almost 1,000 yards in receptions.

FSU’s potent offense will be up against a good Auburn defensive line. The front guys are known for coming up with big stops and getting big sacks late in games. The Seminoles’ front has reminded Auburn of Alabama’s front four on defense, according to reports.

Telvin Smith and Lamarcus Joyner lead FSU’s defensive attack with 75 and 64 tackles, respectively. Auburn’s Chris Davis and Cassanova McKinzy have 69 and 66, respectively.

Auburn coach Gus Malzahn will be coaching in his second national title game on Monday. This will be his first as a head coach. He was an assistant coach under Gene Chizik when AU won it in 2010.

Jimbo Fisher has been the head coach of the Seminoles for almost four seasons. This will be his first national championship appearance as a head coach.

Kick off is slated for 7:30 p.m. on ESPN.

 

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