After one quarter, a BCS National Championship Game that was expected to be defined by explosive offensive performances by both teams has featured more punts than scoring drives. The Tigers and Seminoles combined for just 144 total yards and 10-point underdog Auburn leads, 7-3.
In fact, it was special teams that put Auburn in position to get its first points of the game. After pinning Florida State inside its own 2-yard line, the Tiger defense got pressure with its front four and forced the Seminoles to go three-and-out. From there, Chris Davis returned Cason Beatty's punt 22 yards to give Auburn first-and-10 on the FSU 25-yard line. The Tigers were able turn that great field position into a touchdown when Tre Mason hauled in Nick Marshall's screen pass and scampered 12 yards into the end zone.
This gave Auburn the 7-3 lead and FSU's first deficit since late September.
FSU still hasn't trailed since Sept. 28. 3-0, 1st qtr.— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) January 7, 2014
On its opening drive, Florida State was marching down the field with ease, and it looked like the Seminoles might slice and dice its way through the Auburn defense. But on third-and-8, Nosa Eguae got to Jameis Winston in the backfield, forcing the Seminoles to settle for a field goal.
There have been only four total possessions between the teams so far, so it's too early to draw big conclusions about the performances, but both Auburn and Florida State have looked sluggish on the offensive side of the ball.