Oregon builds lead after Florida State miscues
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Marcus Mariota threw for two touchdowns and second-seeded Oregon scored two more to lead No. 3 Florida State 45-20 in the third quarter Thursday of the College Football Playoff semifinal at the Rose Bowl.
The Ducks extended a five-point halftime lead with a huge offensive burst, highlighted by the Heisman Trophy winner's 56-yard TD pass to freshman Darren Carrington, who ran unscathed into the end zone at 6:43.
Oregon's defense set up Mariota's second TD pass to Carrington. Reggie Daniels recovered a fumble by Dalvin Cook at Florida State's 46-yard line and Mariota wasted no time hitting Carrington with a 30-yard score, extending the Ducks' lead to 39-20.
It was Cook's second fumble of the quarter; his first came on Florida State's opening drive.
The Seminoles' miscues weren't over yet, either.
Former Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston lost the ball in the backfield before fumbling. Tony Washington recovered and ran 58 yards for Oregon's fourth TD of the quarter, making it 45-20.
Then Winston's pass was tipped by DeForest Buckner before being intercepted by Erick Dargan with 57 seconds left.
Royce Freeman scored his second touchdown of the game on a 3-yard run in which he was never taken down by the defense, one of two quick-strike scores by the Ducks. They executed two of their TDs on five-play series that lasted no more than 1 1/2 minutes each.
Florida State's only score of the third came on Winston's 18-yard pass to Travis Rudolph, who held the ball in his right hand over the plane of the end zone while he ran out of bounds, leaving the Seminoles trailing 25-20.
Freeman scored on a 3-yard run and Mariota threw for a 56-yard score in the third, when the Ducks led 32-20.
Thomas Tyner scored on a 1-yard run at 2:18 of the second. The Ducks opened the quarter with a 28-yard field goal by Aidan Schneider at 10:12 after declining a personal foul penalty on Cameron Hunt, increasing their lead to 11-3.
Both teams moved the ball in the first half, with Oregon piling up 286 total yards to 273 for Florida State.
Florida State had the ball for nearly five minutes more than the Ducks.
Roberto Aguayo kicked a 26-yard field goal at 5:18 before the Seminoles cut their deficit to 18-13 on a 10-yard TD run by Karlos Williams with 36 seconds left.
Aguayo's 54-yard attempt hit the left upright as time expired.
In the opening quarter, Freeman scored a 1-yard touchdown and Taylor Alie threw for a 2-point conversion, giving the Ducks an 8-3 lead.
With Mariota leading the drive, Freeman ran in for the score one play after a wall of Seminoles had stopped him at the goal line. The Ducks' quick-trigger offense went for the two-point conversion, with Alie hitting Christian French in the end zone at 6:55.
That score ended a sequence in which officials reviewed Charles Nelson's somersault into the Oregon end zone before resetting the clock.