College Football Playoff Semifinal - Oregon vs. FSU - 5 Things to Know
When you look at the game between Oregon and Florida State, the mantra for both teams could be “No Defense Allowed.”
Based on numbers, theories and projections, this could be one of the highest scoring Rose Bowls in history. While the Ducks have a penchant for coming out of the gates on fire, the Seminoles generally take a little time to get moving offensively. Even with defensive units that give up plenty of yards and points, the worst thing either tam could do is find themselves in a big hole early in the game.
The Rose Bowl is nicknamed "The Granddaddy of Them All" because it is the oldest bowl game. It was first played in 1902, and has been played annually since 1916. Since 1945, it has been the highest attended college football bowl game. Florida State and Oregon are familiar with playing in Pasadena – the Ducks being part of the Pac-12 conference and the Seminoles who won a national title here in January.
There’s no shortage of storylines between Florida State and Oregon, as both programs are among the nation’s best on offense and feature the last two Heisman winners in Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston.
Here are five things to know about this huge national semifinal game.
A FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING
This is the first meeting between Florida State and Oregon. The Seminoles are making their second consecutive postseason trip to Pasadena after beating Auburn for the BCS National Championship last season.
The Ducks won earlier this year in the Rose Bowl by defeating UCLA 42-30. Oregon’s last trip to the Rose Bowl as a postseason game occurred in 2012, as Chip Kelly’s Ducks defeated Wisconsin 45-38. NOT AS IMPOSING AS LAST SEASON
After dominating its opponents last season, it’s been a different story for Florida State in 2014. The Seminoles won seven games by a touchdown or less, including the ACC Championship against Georgia Tech (37-35) and a road win at Miami (30-26) in mid-November.
Pinpointing the reasons for the drop in margin of victory for Florida State isn’t easy, but it’s largely due to the turnover in personnel on defense and an increase in turnovers. Despite problems in those areas, the Seminoles finished the regular season unbeaten and enter the Rose Bowl with a 29-game winning streak.
BIG TIME OFFENSE
Oregon finished its regular season with one blemish – a 31-24 loss to Arizona – but dominated most of the opponents on its schedule. The Ducks crushed the Wildcats 51-13 in a rematch against the Wildcats in the Pac-12 Championship, defeated Utah 51-27, beat Stanford 45-16 and used a second-half rally to knock off Michigan State 46-27 on Sept. 6.
Oregon has suffered its share of key injuries this year and has struggled to find consistency on defense under first-year coordinator Don Pellum. However, having Mariota and a lethal group of skill players helps to alleviate many of the team’s issues on defense.
POST SEASON SUCCESS
Florida State is 27-14-2 all-time in the postseason, and has won six straight bowl games, including last year's thrilling 34-31 win over Auburn in the BCS Championship Game.
Oregon is 12-15 all-time in bowl games and has won three straight postseason bouts, including last year's 30-7 drubbing of Texas in the Alamo Bowl. This marks OU's seventh appearance in the Rose Bowl, with the team sporting a mere 2-4 record in the event all-time.
This is the first time two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks will face each other in a bowl game.
Despite a ton of off-the-field distractions that may haunt Jameis Winston into his NFL career, there have been very few on-the-field issues, as the redshirt sophomore has produced, especially in crunch time. Winston has completed an efficient 65.4 percent of his passes in 2014, for 3,559 yards and 24 TDs. While his 17 interceptions have seemed problematic, he has come up big at the right time and kept FSU's win streak alive.
Marcus Mariota ran away with the Heisman Trophy this season, capping off the most celebrated individual season in Oregon history. He was OU's first-ever Heisman winner and took home three other national player of the year honors, along with two QB awards
Mariota completed nearly 70 percent of his passes in 2014 (.683), for 3,783 yards and 38 touchdowns. Of his 372 throws this season, only two were intercepted. He also found time to finish second on the team in rushing with 669 yards and an additional 14 scores.