PASADENA (CBS) -- For all Jameis Winston had done as a redshirt freshman for Florida State, he'd never had to pull the Seminoles from the brink of defeat.
In the biggest game of the year, down by four with 79 seconds left, the Heisman Trophy winner put together the drive of his life, and the Seminoles proved they could take a punch to win a championship.
Winston threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Kelvin Benjamin with 13 seconds left, and No. 1 Florida State beat No. 2 Auburn, 34-31, to win the BCS national title game on Monday night.
"There's a lot of heart and guts down in Tallahassee, too," coach Jimbo Fisher said.
The Bowl Championship Series went out with a bang, with one of the best title games in its 16-year history. And the Southeastern Conference's seven-year winning streak in college football's biggest game was snapped by the Atlantic Coast Conference school that played in the first three BCS title games but hadn't been back since.
The disappointment over the end of the streak "was etched on (SEC Commissioner) Mike Slive's face," writes Tony Barnhart on CBS Sports.com. "This one hurt. It will probably hurt for a while."
"There is disappointment, no doubt," Barnhart quotes Slive as saying. "We congratulate Florida State and the ACC. They have a great team.
"But right now I can't help but think about the enduring pride we have in what our conference has accomplished. What we have done is unprecedented. And no one will ever equal it."
Winston struggled much of the night, but was near perfect when the Seminoles (14-0) needed it most, going 6 for 7 for 77 yards on the game-winning 80-yard drive.
"It was the best football game he's played all year," Fisher said, "and I'll tell you why -- because for three quarters, he was up and down and he fought.
"And to pull it out in the atmosphere and environment and with what was on the line tonight, to me, if that's not a great player, I don't know who is."
Winston was 20 for 35 for 237 yards and two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He zipped the Seminoles down the field on the final drive, with help from a 49-yard catch and run from Rashad Green.
Florida State also got a little help from the officials: A pass interference penalty on Auburn's Chris Davis on third-and-8 from the 10 gave Florida State a first down at the 2.
"Thought it was great defense. That's all I can say," Davis said, adding, the officials "should have just let us play."
On the next play, Winston flipped high to the 6-foot-5 Benjamin for the touchdown.
"Once the ball is in the air on that post route, I've got to go get it, and I did," Benjamin said. "Simple as that."
Florida State fans shouted and danced in raucous celebration after their top-ranked team roared back in the final seconds to beat Auburn. Many pumped fists gleefully, hugged and slapped high fives in Tallahassee, Fla. Two machines there rained streams of garnet and gold confetti down on thousands of fans who jumped and danced in a civic center where they had watched the game. Outside the arena, a group of fans who built a fire cheered after watching the game amid a bitter cold snap.