FOOTBALL: 'No Moral Victories'
Winston Leads Second Half Surge For Seminoles
Published: Sunday, September 29, 2013
Updated: Sunday, September 29, 2013 22:09
Jameis Winston took the snap just as the play clock ticked down to one second remaining in the half. As he dropped back the Boston College defense converged on him, but he kept searching downfield. Medhi Abdesmad was the first to lay a hand on Winston, attempting to hook him down with one arm but spinning around unsuccessfully. Then came Joey Launceford who lunged at Winston’s waist. He still wasn’t down. Running to the right side of the field, Winston saw Kenny Shaw downfield, and despite having Steven Daniels up in his face, Winston heaved the ball 55 yards. Shaw snagged into out of the air and his momentum carried him into the endzone for the score.
“I’ve seen that same thing happen on tape where he spun out of a couple tackles, got his feet set, and threw a dart down the field,” said BC head coach Steve Addazio.
This reaction from Addazio came in the wake of a 48-34 loss to No. 8 Florida State on Saturday during which Winston, after a rocky start to the game for the Seminoles, showed why he has already been singled out as a potential Heisman candidate this year as a true freshman.
BC opened the game on a note that surprised many. Scoring on every possession that they had in the first quarter, the Eagles also held the Seminoles to only three points during the first 15 minutes of play, showing not only a competence on offense, but also confidence on defense. During the very first FSU drive, the defensive pressure that BC was applying seemed to be working as Kevin Pierre-Louis and Spenser Rositano both broke up passes from Winston. That drive ended as a three-and-out for FSU, and the Eagles immediately capitalized on the next drive with Chase Rettig’s first of four touchdown passes on the night.
The Seminoles put their first three points on the board during their second drive. If BC’s defensive pressure wasn’t spot on, Winston would drop the ball effortlessly into his receivers’ waiting hands. There was one near-fatal mistake on the drive—another pass was nearly picked off, but Florida State managed to hold on and kick a 40-yard field goal.
A Rettig to Jake Sinkovec touchdown pass gave the Eagles a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter, but it was then that Winston stepped up. During the Seminoles’ second drive, he took advantage of an automatic first down off of a pass-interference penalty against BC and threw the first of many long balls during the game, 56 yards to Rashad Greene for a touchdown.
Then, after the teams traded punts, Winston got the ball back in his hands and fired off three straight completions for first downs. Switching it up a bit, he kept the ball during the fourth play of the series and rushed for 20 yards down to BC’s 23-yard line. Three plays later, he completed a wide-open pass to Chad Abram out to the flat, posting another six plus a good extra point.
The touchdown marked the beginning of a five-series scoring streak during which Winston led the Seminoles to four touchdowns and a field goal.
Going into the end of the first half, it appeared that the Eagles were going to hang in the game. They had an opportunity to make a final effort as they went on their final drive with just under two minutes remaining and the score tied at 17-17, but the FSU defense quickly shut them down. Then came Winston’s clutch play as the clock wound down that made a commanding statement and gave Florida State a 24-17 lead.
“He’s an athletic kid, he makes good decisions, he’s fast, but that couldn’t change our game plan,” Edebali said of Winston.
The next half not only saw Winston’s skills on full display, but also a shut down of a major component of the BC offense. The Seminoles managed to close the windows that had allowed Williams to rush for 102 yards during the first half. Williams had been extremely effective, using pure force during his second efforts to gain extra yards for the Eagles. During the second half, however, the Florida State defense seemed more ready for him and he was held to just 47 yards.
The Seminoles scored on each of their three drives during the third quarter, finishing the streak of five that had started before the half. Two of those scores came from a touchdown pass and a scoring rush from Winston and the third, which continued into the fourth quarter, was a 20-yard field goal after Winston helped drive his team 77 yards. In the end, as Addazio put it, it was the big plays that Florida State completed, many of them due to Winston’s on-field prowess, not necessarily errors from BC, that cost them the game.
The FSU defense also contributed to a couple of the big plays. BC’s first drive of the fourth quarter was cut short when Rettig was picked off at the BC 20-yard line and P.J. Williams ran the ball in for a Florida State touchdown.