By Steve Almasy
(CNN) — Led by Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, Oregon defeated Florida State 59-20 on Thursday at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, in the first-ever College Football Playoff semifinal.
The Ducks (13-1) will face the winner of Thursday’s second semifinal — No. 1 Alabama or No. 4 Ohio State — in the national championship game in 11 days.
This is the first year for a playoff in NCAA’s top division for football, known as the Football Bowl Subdivision. Oregon came in as the second seed.
Mariota completed 26 of 36 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for one score.
“You prepare all week to find success. And to execute the way we did, it definitely feels good,” he told reporters. “Hopefully we can take a little bit of this momentum heading into the next game.”
Oregon running backs Royce Freeman and Thomas Tyner each scored on two touchdown runs as the Ducks ended the Seminoles 29-game winning streak.
Florida State (13-1), the defending national champion, was done in by five turnovers. The miscues included a fumble in the third quarter by quarterback Jameis Winston that was turned into a back-breaking 58-yard touchdown return by Ducks linebacker Tony Washington. Oregon scored four TDs in the third period to lead 45-20 going into the fourth.
“We just turned the ball over too many times. We had one of the worst quarters we have ever had,” Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “They made the plays, and they converted.”
Winston, the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner, was 29 of 45 for 348 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Alabama and Ohio State were playing in the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans later Thursday night.
The two semifinal winners will meet for the championship on January 12 in Arlington, Texas, at 8:30 p.m. ET.
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