For the record, it was highly unlikely Florida State would have won the Rose Bowl even if they’d converted that fateful 4th-and-5 at the Oregon 30-yard line. The Seminoles had struggled to score in the red zone, and their defense demonstrated no ability to consistently slow down Oregon’s offense.
But, man, has there ever been a more symbolic moment to the end of a dynasty?
Looking to find tight end Nick O’Leary, Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston evaded pressure, attempted to steady himself, slipped, and then simply lost the ball.
Tony Washington grabbed the loose pigskin and raced 58 yards for a touchdown, pushing the margin to 39-20 – effectively halting Florida State’s 29-game winning streak and pushing Oregon to the inaugural College Football Playoff championship next Monday night.
For good measure, Oregon forced turnovers on the following two Florida State possessions, and what was a 25-20 game was soon 59-20. The 39-point margin is the largest bowl loss ever for a defending national champion.
As for Winston, he completed 29-of-45 passes for 348 yards with a touchdown and an interception (plus the above fumble) before watching what likely is his final college game end from the sideline.
If this is indeed it for Winston, that won’t be the enduring image of his 27 wins in two seasons, but it’ll be the one we remember from his only loss.