PASADENA, Calif. - The oddsmakers knew Oregon, even if most of the eastern United States did not.
The Ducks, the aptly named Quack Attack, were a 91/2-point favorite over Florida State, a team that hadn't lost a game in two-plus seasons. Some people wondered how that could be. They found out the first day of 2015.
Oregon did everything imaginable to Florida State offensively and defensively in a 59-20 victory before 91,322 at the Rose Bowl in a College Football Playoff semifinal Thursday night.
The Ducks -- who will face Ohio State, a 42-35 winner over Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, for the national championship Jan. 12 -- scored six straight times they touched the ball in the second half, with five of the touchdowns covering at least 21 yards and the last four coming after Florida State turnovers.
Orgeon broke open a 25-20 game by scoring the game's final 34 points in a span of 111/2 minutes. Marcus Mariota threw touchdown passes of 56 and 30 yards to Darren Carrington (seven catches, 165 yards) and ran for a 23-yard touchdown, and Thomas Tyner (124 yards, 13 carries) added his second TD on a 21-yard run.
By then, it had become obvious that the Ducks (13-1) were on their way to the title game in Arlington, Texas, and that the Seminoles (13-1) would lose for the first time since November 2012 after 29 straight victories.
Of no small significance was that Florida State sophomore quarterback Jameis Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, lost for the first time since he was in high school in Hueytown, Alabama. He wasn't bad, going 29-for-45 for 348 yards and a touchdown. But Mariota, the 2014 Heisman winner, was, in Winston's words, "fantastic."
Mariota, a redshirt junior from Hawaii, was 26-for-36 for 338 yards and two touchdowns and ran eight times for 62 yards and another TD. "Mariota was the difference," Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards said.
Winston disagreed. "This game could have went either way," he said. "They never stopped us. We beat ourselves with those turnovers."
Florida State had five to Oregon's two. The biggest miscue occurred when Florida State faced a fourth-and-5 in Oregon territory with the Ducks leading 39-20. Winston, unable to find a receiver, was flushed from the pocket, and as he loaded to throw, the ball slipped out of his hands. The fumble bounced right to defensive end Tony Washington, who went 58 yards for a score. "It kind of looked like he slipped on a banana, like in cartoons," Oregon linebacker Torrodney Prevot said.
Winston was intercepted on the next possession and was so frustrated when he got to the sideline that coach Jimbo Fisher appeared to threaten to bench him if he didn't calm down.
"One of the worst quarters we've had," Fisher said. "We turned it over every time we were moving the football and had a chance to score points."
"It was never over," Winston said. "We just got beat. The loss hurts badder than whatever you can imagine."
The Ducks, who lost only to Arizona this season and redeemed themselves in the Pac-12 championship game in December, are a force.
"They played a heck of a game," Fisher said. "Made plays and got momentum."
Florida State actually had the ball more than Oregon, 32:43 to 27:17, but the Seminoles gave it away more. So they won't get a chance to add another national title to the one they won by beating Auburn a year ago.
"Oregon made plays and converted," Fisher said. "That's what football's about."With AP