Winston has No 8 Seminoles 4-0, with room to grow
BOSTON (AP) — Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston is undefeated through the Seminoles’ first four games, with 12 touchdown passes and an efficiency unmatched in the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher sees room to grow.
“He’s only four games in,” Fisher said after Winston threw for four touchdowns to lead Florida State to a 48-34 victory over Boston College. “We’ll wait. He’s got a good grasp of things. I like the way he’s playing. And there’s some things he’s got to get better at. He’ll be the first one to tell you. But he’s still making great reads and great plays. He’s developing very well.”
Winston completed 17 of 27 passes for 330 yards on Saturday, rallying the Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 ACC) from a 14-point deficit in the first half with touchdown passes of 56 and 10 yards. With the score tied and time running out in the first half, he connected with receiver Kenny Shaw on a 55-yard heave to give Florida State the lead for good.
The closer-than-expected victory over a BC (2-2, 1-1) team that lost to Southern California by 28 points in its previous game left the Seminoles at No. 8 in The Associated Press Top 25 released on Sunday. And Fisher saw plenty of mistakes, starting with his young quarterback.
“He made a bunch of them,” Fisher said. “I thought he got caught up with the momentum of the game and trying to keep making big plays. I think that’s part of youth and part of growing.”
It was Fisher’s defense that had the problems early, spotting BC a 14-point lead in the first half before Winston threw a pair of TD passes to tie it. After the Eagles failed to run out the clock in the second quarter, Florida got the ball back at its own 40 with 50 seconds to play.
Winston was sacked for a 9-yard loss, Devonta Freeman ran for 14 yards and the time ticked away as the Seminoles hurried to get off one more play. Winston received the snap just before the clock hit 0:00, but the pocket quickly collapsed around him.
Inside a stadium with a statue of Doug Flutie rearing back to throw his famous Hail Mary, Winston moved right and then left to escape tacklers in the backfield and then threw the ball 60 yards in the air to Shaw. The receiver jumped at the 5-yard line, landed at the 1 and fell into the end zone for the touchdown that gave the Seminoles a 24-17 lead and put them ahead for good.
“I just wanted to score a touchdown before the half, and Kenny made a great play,” Winston said. “He’s an outstanding talent and he made an outstanding play.”
But the rest of the Seminoles gave the credit to Winston, who also ran 14 times for 67 yards. He has completed an ACC-leading 73.6 percent of his passes this year and also leads the league in touchdown passes, yards per attempt and quarterback rating.
“That’s the type of play we expect from him,” linebacker Telvin Smith said.
It would be wrong to say that one pass earned Flutie the 1984 Heisman Trophy, though it certainly cemented his place in college football history. Winston’s pass — in a midseason game against an unranked rival, and at the end of the first half — doesn’t rank with the 48-yard pass to Gerard Phelan to beat Miami known in Chestnut Hill as “Hail Flutie.”
But it certainly keeps him as one of the favorites in the Heisman race.
Even Fisher, who was quick to point out Winston’s mistakes, said he was glad he didn’t have to face him.
“Let’s say this now: I’m glad he’s on my team,” Fisher said. “He’s a great competitor and a fun guy to coach.”