The No. 2 Auburn Tigers (12-1, 7-1 SEC) take on the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles (13-0, 8-0 ACC) Monday night in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game, and the focus has shifted to the predictions for the matchup.
College football fans are desperate to see how each team will perform under the intense scrutiny of the main event stage and how the quarter-by-quarter box score will shake out.
Here is a look at the projected box score and how the programs will arrive at this conclusion.
|Projected Quarter-by-Quarter Box Score|
|Team||First Quarter||Second Quarter||Third Quarter||Fourth Quarter||Final Score|
First Quarter: Florida State 7, Auburn 7
There are many college football analysts who expect this to be a high-scoring game or a lopsided blowout, but neither Florida State nor Auburn has the kind of defensive unit that will fold under the bright lights of the national stage.
The first quarter should be a feeling-out process that features both defenses stiffening up when tested and forcing several early three-and-out drives. While the Seminoles and the Tigers have the offensive firepower to rack up big points, the most each program should hope for in the first quarter is a touchdown apiece.
Second Quarter: Florida State 17, Auburn 7
Once both teams find their comfort levels, it will be time for Florida State’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, Jameis Winston, to prove his worth as the best player in the nation.
Auburn will rack up a touchdown at some point in the second quarter due to the sheer amount of raw talent on the roster, but Winston will steal the show using the accuracy and power he showcased when he threw for 3,820 yards, 38 touchdowns and just 10 interceptions in his freshmen season.
Winston helped lead the Seminoles to incredible averages of 53 points and 529.4 yards of total offense per game, and the Seminoles should head into the locker room at halftime with a 24-14 lead.
Third Quarter: Auburn 7, Florida State 0
Auburn didn’t make it to the BCS National Championship Game on luck. The Tigers are one of the most resilient teams in the nation and will make the adjustments during halftime to keep themselves in the game.
Led by the elite rushing ability of running back Tre Mason and dual-threat quarterback Nick Marshall—2,644 combined yards and 33 touchdowns—Auburn will be able to control the clock and limit Florida State’s opportunities offensively.
Add in the fact that the Tigers’ stout defense has only allowed an average of 24 points per game this season, and the unit will step up big, stifle the high-powered Seminoles in the third quarter and make it a one-score difference.
As well as Auburn should play Monday, Florida State knows how to close in the fourth quarter.
Fourth Quarter: Florida State 14, Auburn 3
Led by Winston, the Seminoles have finished too strong this season to fold in the fourth quarter on the biggest stage.
With the ground attack finding more holes as the defense slows down—running back Devonta Freeman’s bruising style will wear the Tigers out over the course of the game—the entire Florida State offense will be able to find a rhythm and control the pace of the matchup.
Auburn has played well throughout the 2013 season, but the program’s lack of a consistent pass attack will give the Seminoles the chance to rack up points early in the fourth quarter and give their defense the chance to shine.
After allowing just 10.7 points per game and 17 or fewer points in 12 of 13 matchups this season, Florida State’s defense should be able to stiffen up during the key moments and pull out the decisive win.
*All stats via CFBStats.com.