Contact Us
  • Comment

Jameis Winston rallies from poor first half to spark Florida State over Oklahoma State

Key TD run and pass from Heisman winner helps Seminoles avoid the upset in Dallas

Posted: August 31, 2014 - 12:06am  |  Updated: August 31, 2014 - 3:21pm
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (5) leaps over guard Josue Matias, bottom, as Oklahoma State safety Jordan Sterns, left, is unable to stop Winston from reaching the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Arlington, Texas.
AP
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston (5) leaps over guard Josue Matias, bottom, as Oklahoma State safety Jordan Sterns, left, is unable to stop Winston from reaching the end zone for a touchdown in the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014, in Arlington, Texas.
Back   Photo: 1 of 9  Next
Oklahoma State linebacker Seth Jacobs (10) and teammate James Castleman combine to stop Florida State running back Karlos Williams after a short run in the first half on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.   AP
AP
Oklahoma State linebacker Seth Jacobs (10) and teammate James Castleman combine to stop Florida State running back Karlos Williams after a short run in the first half on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS | Dallas to-Dallas?

It was almost Dallas-to-disaster.

All those T-shirts being worn by Florida State fans to symbolize the goal of defending the Seminoles' national championship were headed for the rag bin when the Oklahoma State Cowboys refused to roll over in a game in which 14 freshmen played their first college game, against the top-ranked team in the nation.

OSU seemed to understand one thing through most of the game: the Cowboys knew they were 0-0, the same as the Seminoles.

That finally got through FSU's collective heads, just in time.

Heisman Trophy winning quarterback Jameis Winston scored on an electrifying 28-yard run late in the third quarter and threw a 50-yard TD pass to Rashad Greene with 3:58 left to lead the ’Noles to a 37-31 victory in the Cowboys Classic at the same AT&T Stadium that will be the site of the College Football Playoffs national championship in 134 days.

The Seminoles have won 17 games in a row, going back to the last two of the 2012 season, the longest winning streak in the nation. But it also was the closest regular-season victory since beating Virginia Tech 28-22 that year.

The game exposed flaws that never surfaced during FSU's 14-0 run to the title in 2013: Winston forced passes, penalties that were a result of lost composure killed drives or helped OSU along and the 'Noles missed tackles and blew coverages on defense.

Things got so confusing and frustrating that FSU burned all three of its second-half time outs in the first 7:55 of the third quarter.

Coach Jimbo Fisher, who didn't absolve himself of blame for the disjointed affair, said it was a matter of his biggest playmaker, Winston, finding a way to win despite his worst half of play in his college career.

Winston finished by going 25-of-40 for 370 yards. Eleven of his passes were pulled in by Greene, who set his career record for yardage in a game with 203 and came one pass short of the most receptions as a Seminole.

"He's a competitor," Fisher said of Winston. "The thing you love, even when he's not playing at his best, is still the competitor in him."

After throwing two interceptions, getting sacked once and converting only 2-of-6 third-down plays in the first half, Winston pulled the offense together. A turning point was his 28-yard scoring run in which he leaped both Oklahoma State players and his own teammates, and went barreling into the end zone to give FSU a 27-17 lead.

"We needed a play," Winston said. "I had no choice but to put the ball in the end zone."

For a few tense minutes, FSU fans feared that he actually hadn't. The Pac-12 officials ordered a review after replays seemed to show Winston might have lost the ball falling in the end zone. The play stood -- to visible relief from FSU fans already nervous about the outcome, thunderous boos from the Oklahoma State side of the stadium and rage on the Cowboys' sideline.

But the Cowboys, who trailed 17-0 in the second quarter, came storming back as quarterback J.T. Walsh matched Winston's run with a 24-yarder with 11:51 left in the game to cut the score to 27-24.

The 'Noles responded with Roberto Aguayo's third field goal of the game. After the kickoff, cornerback P.J. Williams came up with a huge play on Walsh, both tackling him, knocking the ball loose and making the recovery near midfield.

Winston connected with Greene over the middle two plays later and he completed the play with 3:58 left for a 37-24 FSU lead.

Walsh willed the Cowboys back to within a single score in less than two minutes. After a 46-yard kickoff return by the dangerous Tyreek Hill (who had 207 all-purpose yards, averaging nearly 14 yards every time he made a touch) Walsh gained 17 yards on one run, then scored from 3 yards out with 1:53 left, being met 2 yards short of the goal line by several FSU players, then bulling them over into the end zone.

FSU finally ate the final 113 seconds away and avoided the upset.

Walsh, who didn't win the starting quarterback job until last week, was 15-of-27 for 203 yards, and ran 11 times for 51 yards.

"Obviously, we don't like a loss," Walsh said. "We saw a lot of positive things that we'll be able to take forward and build on."

The 'Noles took their early lead on an Aquayo field goal, Nate Andrews' 9-yard interception return for a touchdown and Mario Pender's 11-yard scoring run, capping a 94-yard drive that was the longest in Cowboys Classic history. Pender, who redshirted in 2012 and missed 2013 because of academic reasons, celebrated his first collegiate carry by finding the end zone.

Oklahoma State came roaring back to cut the score to 17-10 at halftime with a Ben Groban field goal and Desmond Roland's 1-yard TD.

"We understand how to win games, and I'm proud of them for that," Fisher said. "Hopefully it's a good lesson ... last year is over. I hope tonight will help get us over that. They feel a little pressure of being No. 1. I think now we can relax and go out and play football."

Fisher said one of his greatest fears nearly came true: his team playing not to lose instead of to win.

"I don't think we let down," he said. "I think we were worrying that we didn't want to lose the game. We were worried about results. If we execute well and do the little things, the results will come."

Fisher also hinted he would like FSU fans to curb the "Dallas-to-Dallas" mantra. He did that before the game, scrubbing the slogan from the team's pregame information packet issued to the media after it appeared earlier in the week.

"We have to quit worrying about everyone else's expectations and just play the game," he said.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said his inexperienced team didn't lose the game because of their knees were knocking over the prospect of facing the defending national champions. "There was not any fear in any of their eyes," he said. "We had tremendous leadership from our veteran players and our freshmen played hard. They made mistakes but they made mistakes going full speed. They didn't back down from anybody." 

Garry Smits: (904) 359-4362

Comments (8)

ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
Davethecaveman
15236
Points
Davethecaveman 09/02/14 - 06:15 am
0
0
Premium Member
@stecker-----you haven't even

@stecker-----you haven't even seen the Gators play yet and you are the one making predictions . Dude, your team has also been in the dump before and will be again. I'm guessing your noles will not go undefeated this season. Maybe through the sorry ACC, but we will definitely wait and see come the end of the season. When that happens, don't be a stranger here.

Garry Smits
208
Points
Garry Smits 08/31/14 - 03:23 pm
0
0
Premium Member
Thanks for pointing out the

Thanks for pointing out the only typo of the approximately 1,500 words I wrote for online and print on Saturday Rover. I like to bat 1,000 but in the end, I'll take the .9993 percentage.

And Stecker: You really think that was negative? I'm already getting emails from Gator fans who think I went too easy on FSU.

Stecker
1702
Points
Stecker 08/31/14 - 10:53 am
0
0
Premium Member
What a great win to start

What a great win to start this great new year of college football. I prefer blowouts every game, but games like this really get your heart rate pumping. And it's just the lesson the team needed. Jameis Winston showed why he'll repeat as Heisman winner and lead the Noles to another consecutive undefeated championship season. He's the best QB I've ever seen.

What I don't understand is how this all-senior offensive line couldn't open up holes for the running backs. They just had a bad game, I hope. Live and learn. Rashad Greene looks unstoppable.

Typical negative reporting by Smits. Hey TU, why not hire SOS as a Jaguars beat writer?

Dave said: "I have guessed wrong before". That's an understatement, Dave. You've never been right about any prediction about the Noles. What's going to be your excuse this year when the Noles roll over your hapless Gators by 4 touchdowns?

DALLAS 2 DALLAS

Mister Nice Guy
2845
Points
Mister Nice Guy 08/31/14 - 09:43 am
0
0
Premium Member
You now see what happens when

You now see what happens when you take a bunch of kids, convince them that they are the kings of college football, and then put them on the field.

You get kids who get fifteen yard unsportsman-like conduct penalties at crucial times simply because they can't keep their big mouths SHUT and a quarterback who takes some really crazy unnecessary risks.

And I will never understand linemen who grab onto their opponents' jerseys and then cry when they get called for holding. Get a rulebook guys. You're in college now. You should be smarter than that - especially with a referee standing ten feet away.

They better come back down to earth pretty quickly. Save some of the bad calls and lucky bounces, and FSU would be 0-1 right now.

Davethecaveman
15236
Points
Davethecaveman 08/31/14 - 09:40 am
0
0
Premium Member
@Baystreet-----please tell me

@Baystreet-----please tell me your house is not on Bay Street. Not sure I would want to win that one.
When playoff time comes and the noles are there. My guess is they would have to play against a quality defense. Then Crab Leg Jamus would not have the wide open passing lanes and he would find himself on the ground a lot. Thus no repeat. I have guessed wrong before, but after watching last night, my gosh he such a big slow target back there a blitzing good defense would have a field day stopping them.

Back to Top