Jan. 7, 2014
Chris Davis (11) said Auburn “outplayed” Florida State in the BCS Championship Game (USA Today photo)
By Phillip Marshall
PASADENA, Calif. – For cornerback Chris Davis, there were no heroic stories to tell this time. The man whose 109-yard run with a missed field goal to beat Alabama became the face of Auburn’s rise from the ashes of a 3-9 season struggled Monday night for an explanation of what had just happened in a 34-31 loss to Florida State in the BCS Championship Game.
As the Seminoles celebrated on the field outside, Davis was surrounded by reporters in the Auburn locker room, Davis did his best.
“We expected to win the game,” Davis said. “We didn’t win the game. That’s all that matters.”
Did he believe, he was asked, that Auburn outplayed Florida State?
“Yeah, I think we outplayed them, especially on defense,” Davis said. “I think we did a good job with the scheme Coach (Ellis) Johnson put in and executed it well. Down the stretch, having a couple of missed assignments led to a long run on a pass play.”
Florida State drove 80 yards in the final 1:11 to win the game. Davis was called for interference in the end zone, putting the ball at the 2, and was covering wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin on the winning touchdown pass.
Davis said he was stunned when the flag flew.
“Yeah, I was,” he said. “But that’s all in the game.”
On the touchdown pass:
“Yeah, he got inside. It was good defense and a good catch. I was all over him and he made a good catch. My hat goes off to him.”
Nick Marshall looks to the future
It might have been a story fit for Hollywood if Auburn had won. Quarterback Nick Marshall, a Georgia cornerback two years ago and a junior college quarterback last season, had led Auburn on a drive to the go-ahead touchdown.
But Marshall could only watch as Florida State answered with the game-winner. When it was over, he was already looking to the promise of next season.
“It’s disappointment, but you can’t dwell on what just happened,” Marshall said. “Next year looks pretty good. We are going to take this loss and just move forward.”
Grimes also looks to the future
Offensive line coach J.B. Grimes said he believes Auburn’s 2014 team can be even better than the one that came so close to winning it all.
“We’ve got a chance to move forward with this football team,” Grimes said. “We’ve got our quarterback back. We’ve got some good skill players back. We can develop some things in spring practice that may allow us to come on and be even a better football team. And then we are going to recruit and help ourselves.
“I don’t think anything but a bright future for Auburn.”
Steven Clark torments Florida State
Auburn punter Steven Clark had a remarkable game against Florida State, having four punts down inside the 10-yard line. He now has 15 for the season, second in the FBS.
Nation’s best running team
With 232 rushing yards against Florida State, Auburn finished the season with 4,596, the nation’s best. In playing ranked opponents in their final four games, the Tigers rushed for 1,396 yards – 232 against No. 1 Florida State, 545 against No. 5 Missouri, 296 against No. 1 Alabama and 323 against No. 24 Georgia.
Best season ever for an Auburn RB
There can’t be much argument that tailback Tre Mason had the best season ever for an Auburn running back. With 195 yards against Florida State, he finished with 1860, breaking Bo Jackson’s single-season record. He added to his school record with his 23rd rushing touchdown and caught a pass for a touchdown.
Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for AuburnTigers.com. Follow Marshall on Twitter: