Pasadena, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Marcus Mariota stood on the sideline, clapping.
He smiled, his helmet nowhere to be seen, a berth in the national title game secure.
In the span of just over a quarter, the Oregon star went from Heisman Trophy- winning quarterback to Heisman Trophy-winning cheerleader.
He can thank his defense for the break.
Mariota finished with 400 combined yards and three touchdowns on offense, but it was the Ducks defense that led a 59-20 rout of Florida State in the Rose Bowl on Thursday.
Oregon scored 34 points off five Florida State turnovers in the second half, including two by the Seminoles' own Heisman Trophy winner, Jameis Winston.
The Ducks, seeded No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings, will face Ohio State in the national championship game on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.
The Buckeyes upset top-ranked Alabama 42-35 in the Sugar Bowl on Thursday.
Mariota was named the offensive MVP in the first national semifinal game in college football history after passing for 338 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 62 yards and another score in a little over three quarters.
Backup Jeff Lockie played most of the fourth with the game well in hand for Oregon (13-1).
"It's an incredible feeling," said Mariota. "When you prepare all week and you find success and are able to execute as we did, it does feel good. Hopefully, we can take a little bit of this momentum heading into the next game."
Winston, after leading the Seminoles to a national title last season, couldn't get them a shot at another one.
Riding a 29-game winning streak, Florida State (13-1) imploded in the second half, losing for the first time since Nov. 24, 2012.
"It hurts badder than whatever you can imagine, but the good thing is we live to fight another day. We've got tons of great futures," said Winston. "No one likes to lose, man. Losing is really not in my vocabulary, to be honest with you, but we fell short today.
"Got to man up and go ahead and just get better every day. I just hope that we can learn from this because I ain't felt this way in a long time, I've got to say. So that's something to smile on."
Winston passed for 348 yards and a touchdown but turned the ball over twice in the third quarter -- once on a fumble and once on a interception, both leading to Oregon touchdowns.
The redshirt sophomore wouldn't say after the game if he would leave school for the NFL.
"He's only had two years, and what he's been able to accomplish (is a lot)," said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher. "It was a tough day out there."
Linebacker Tony Washington returned Winston's fumble 58 yards for a touchdown and was named defensive MVP of the game. He scooped the ball up and raced it to the end zone after Winston, scrambling around the pocket for nearly 10 seconds, fell backward and let it slip out of his hands.
The play gave Oregon, ahead just 18-13 at halftime, a 45-20 lead with 1:36 left in the third quarter.
Winston was intercepted by Erick Dargan two plays into the ensuing drive, leading to Mariota's touchdown on a 23-yard scramble. It took three more plays for the Seminoles to give it away again, on Jesus Wilson's fumble, which led to Thomas Tyner's 21-yard touchdown run for the final margin.
Florida State freshman running back Dalvin Cook fumbled twice in the third quarter, leading to Royce Freeman's 3-yard touchdown run and Mariota's 30-yard touchdown pass to Darren Carrington.
Carrington finished with 165 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Tyner carried the ball 13 times for 124 yards with two scores and Freeman also scored twice.
Oregon has won nine games in a row since losing to Arizona on Oct. 2 and will be trying to capture the program's first national title. The Ducks are 4-0 in bowl games since losing to Auburn in the BCS title game after the 2010 season.
Cook rushed for 103 yards on 15 carries and Karlos Williams carried 12 times for 80 yards and a score for the ACC-champion Seminoles, who had a six-game bowl winning streak snapped.
Cook's first fumble came just five plays into the second half when the ball was ripped out of his hands by linebacker Derrick Malone Jr. Winston responded with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph with 8:07 left in the third quarter, but those were Florida State's last points.
Carrington scored on a 56-yard catch-and-run at the other end after cutting past a Seminoles safety who slipped, touching off Oregon's 34-0 run to end the game.
"A lot of fun," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said of his team's surge, "but at the same time these guys were able to retain a tremendous focus, and we knew that was going to be needed against an opponent like this and in a game like this, where the emotions, the crowd, everything is just up and down and up and down."
Mariota became the 18th Heisman winner to play in the Rose Bowl, following Winston, who led the Seminoles over Auburn last year in the final BCS title game.
He was 18-of-26 for 157 yards in the first half, including 4-of-4 for 51 yards on a 73-yard touchdown drive in the first quarter that ended with Freeman's 1- yard run.
Later, Mariota guided scoring drives of 88 and 75 yards in the second quarter as Oregon built an 18-6 lead after Aidan Schneider's 28-yard field goal and Tyner's 1-yard touchdown.
The Seminoles made four trips inside the red zone in the first half before scoring a touchdown on Williams' 10-yard run in the final minute of the second quarter, which made it 18-13.
Earlier, they failed to reach the end zone on two early drives despite getting second chances from Oregon penalties. One touchdown was overturned after a replay review showed Winston's knee was down before the ball crossed the goal line on a fourth-down scramble.
Oregon's 59 points broke the previous Rose Bowl record by 10 ... Oregon's 13 wins are a school record ... The Ducks are 3-4 in the Rose Bowl and 13-15 in bowl games ... Florida State fell to 25-15-2 in bowl games.