Auburn vs. Florida State: Why Tigers Won't Be Able to Keep Pace with Seminoles

Will GroomsCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2014

TALLAHASSEE, FL - OCTOBER 13:  Kelvin Benjamin #1 of the Florida State Seminoles catches a pass in front of Bryce Jones #17 of the Boston College Eagles during a game at Doak Campbell Stadium on October 13, 2012 in Tallahassee, Florida.  (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

The final year of the BCS in college football has granted fans what's sure to be a thrilling finale, featuring the No. 1 Florida State Seminoles and the No. 2 Auburn Tigers in the national championship game. 

Auburn has had a tremendous run full of twists and turns, miraculous plays and the climactic dethroning of the No. 1 Alabama Crimson Tide—a team that had won 24 of its previous 25 games dating back to 2012—on a 107-yard missed-field-goal return by Chris Davis.

However, as they say, all good things must come to an end. And Auburn's run will end in the wake of the high-powered Florida State Seminoles.

The 'Noles have been machine-like, scoring 40 or more points in all but one contest en route to an undefeated season and their second consecutive ACC title. What's more, FSU is averaging an earth-shattering 41.5-point margin of victory and has won by 27 or more in all but one game.

Auburn's defense has yet to see an offense of this caliber. The 102nd-ranked passing defense has allowed 260.2 yards per game through the air—second to last in the SEC.

One player that the Tigers will have a very difficult time accounting for is wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin—particularly in the red zone. This year, inside the 20-yard line, Florida State has come away with points 97.1 percent of the time—the best red-zone percentage in the country.

Auburn's cornerbacks have been exposed this year. In fact, Jonathon Mincy and Chris Davis have accounted for just one interception between them. The taller of the two, Davis, likely to get the assignment of the 6'4" Benjamin, stands at just 5'11".

Beyond Benjamin, the Tigers must also monitor receivers Rashad Greene and Kenny Shaw—both of whom have caught over 50 balls for at least 900 yards.

Early passing success for the 'Noles should set up running back Devonta Freeman, who's poised to eclipse 1,000 rushing yards on the season.

While acknowledging the nation's top-rushing offense in Auburn, Florida State will also be one of the two best rushing defenses the Tigers will have seen in the 2013 season, along with Alabama.

The Crimson Tide didn't stop the Tigers offense, but they did slow them down. Unfortunately for Alabama, the offense wasn't available to back up the defense. The same won't be true for Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston and the Florida State offense.

Neither team will have trouble putting up points, but in the end, Florida State will get a few key stops, and it'll prove to be more than enough.

Prediction: Florida State 42 Auburn 28


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