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Auburn’s Angelo Blackson then swatted the ball out of Winston’s hand on a run moments after the Tigers missed a field goal, and Marshall finished the drive by turning the corner on Florida State’s defense for a score.

A successful fake punt finally sparked the Seminoles moments later. Winston made a 21-yard run complete with a vicious stiff-arm to Auburn’s Kris Frost, and Freeman scored on the next play, trimming Auburn’s halftime lead to 21-10.

Auburn was making its second BCS championship game appearance after beating Oregon for the title four years ago behind Heisman winner Cam Newton. The Tigers went 3-9 last season, but Malzahn quickly returned them to the national spotlight.

The Seminoles had run over every opponent in their path to a third national title, but Fisher’s team was tested in Pasadena.