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CFN Take: Florida State Rolls To ACC Title
Florida State Seminoles 2013 ...
Head Coach: Jimbo Fisher
strong>Florida State 45, Duke 7
2013 Record: 13-0|
9/2 at Pitt W 41-13
9/7 OPEN DATE
9/14 Nevada W 62-7
9/21 Bethune-Cookman W 54-6
9/28 at Boston College W 48-34
10/5 Maryland W 63-0
10/12 OPEN DATE
10/19 at Clemson W 51-14
10/26 NC State W 49-17
11/2 Miami W 41-14
11/9 at Wake Forest W 59-3
11/16 Syracuse W 59-3
11/23 Idaho W 80-14
11/30 at Florida W 37-7
12/7 Duke W 45-7
Basically … Duke hung tough through a scoreless first quarter and a decent second quarter, but Florida State turned out to be way too much as Jameis Winston threw three touchdown passes with two of the strikes going to Kelvin Benjamin from 14 and 54 yards out. Winston ran for a 17-yard touchdown and Deonta Freeman ran for a seven-yard score as part of a 45-point run on the way to the BCS championship.
- Florida State outgained Duke 569 yards to 239
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 19-of-32 passes for 330 yards and three scores with two picks, and he ran ten times for 59 yards and a score.
- Duke QB Anthony Boone completed 20-of-40 passes for 138 yards and two picks.
- Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin caught five passes for 119 yards and two scores.
Florida State 37, at Florida 7
Basically … Florida State took care of business without a problem as Jameis Winston and Kelvin Benjamin connected on touchdown passes from 45 and 29 yards in the second quarter and on a four-yard play in the third. Devonta Freeman added an 11-yard touchdown run and Robert Aguayo nailed field goals from 49 and 28 yards away. Florida didn’t have any offensive punch, managing just 193 yards and a five-yard Hunter Joyer touchdown in the fourth.
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 19-of-31 passes for 327 yards and three scores with a pick
- Florida QB Skyler Mornhinweg completed 20-of-25 passes for 115 yards and a score.
- Florida converted one of 11 third down plays with just eight first downs.
- Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin caught nine passes for 212 yards and three scores.
at Florida State 80, Idaho 14
Basically … Florida State went through a light scrimmage scoring the first 35 points. Telvin Smith taking an interception 79 yards for a touchdown, Devonta Freeman running for a 60-yard score and Jameis Winston throwing two touchdown passes. Winston threw two more scoring passes, finding Kelvin Benjamin for his second scoring play of the game in the third quarter and hitting Kenny Shaw for a 20-yard touchdown late in the first half. Idaho got a 15-yard Richard Montgomery touchdown catch with 41 seconds left in the first half, but was down 80-7 when it scored again with 42 seconds to play.
- Florida State outgained Idaho 645 yards to 345
- Jameis Winston completed 14-of-25 passes for 225 yards and four touchdowns.
- Idaho QB Taylor Davis completed 16-of-38 passes for 220 yards and a score with three picks.
- Florida State RB Devonta Freeman ran 11 times for 129 yards and a score. Karlos Williams ran ten times for 114 yards and two touchdowns.
at Florida State 59, Syracuse 3
Basically … If Jameis Winston and Florida State were distracted, they didn’t show it. Winston threw two touchdown passes in a nearly-perfect performance, Levonte Whitfield ran for a 74-yard score and James Wilder Jr. ran for touchdowns from three and 37 yards away in the blowout. The defense did its part, holding Syracuse to 247 yards of total offense and getting a 31-yard fumble return for a score from Chris Casher. Syracuse’s only points came on a fourth quarter 32-yard field goal from Ryan Norton.
- Winston completed 19-of-21 passes for 277 yards and two touchdowns.
- Syracuse had the ball for 41:42 to Florida State’s 18:18.
- The Seminoles had just four third down chances, and converted one of them.
- Florida State averaged 11.8 yards per carry and 11.5 yards per pass.
Florida State 59, at Wake Forest 3
Basically … Florida State clinched a berth in the ACC championship with an easy blowout win going up 42-0 in the first half and going up 52-0 before Wake Forest got its only points on a 23-yard Chad Hedlund field goal. Jameis Winston threw two touchdown passes, Nate Andrews returned a pick 56 yards for a score and Levonte Whitfield returned a kickoff for a touchdown, but the big key was the defense, taking the ball away seven times with six picks.
- Florida State QB Jameis Winston completed 17-of-28 passes for 159 yards and 159 yards and two touchdown with a pick.
- Wake Forest QB Tyler Cameron completed 5-of-19 passes for 63 yards and three picks, and Tanner Price completed 1-of-4 passes for three yards and three interceptions.
- Along with seven turnovers, Wake Forest committed ten penalties.
- Florida State ran for just 89 yards, but scored three times. Karlos Williams and James Wilder, Jr. each ran for 49 yards and a score.
at Florida State 41, Miami 14
Basically … Devonta Freeman scored on runs from five and 12 yards out and took a short pass 48 yards for another touchdown, and James Wilder Jr. ran for a five-yard touchdown as Florida State broke open a tight game. Two Jameis Winston interceptions led to the two Miami touchdowns, with Stephen Morris hitting Allen Hurns on a perfect 33-yard strike, and he found Allen Hurns from 14 yards out to pull the Hurricanes within seven late in the first half. FSU scored 20 unanswered points, closing out with two Roberto Aguayo field goals.
- Florida State QB Jamies Winston completed 21-of-29 passes for 325 yards and a score with two picks.
- Miami RB Duke Johnson ran 23 times for 97 yards, but he suffered a season-ending broken ankle.
- FSU RB Devonta Freeman ran 23 times for 78 yards and two touchdowns, and he led the team with six catches for 98 yards and a score.
- The Seminoles outgained Miami 517 yards to 275.
at Florida State 49, NC State 17
Basically … Florida State rolled up 35 first quarter points and a 42-0 halftime lead on three Jameis Winston touchdown passes and Devontra Freeman scoring runs from 11 and four yards out in an easy route. The Seminoles eased up, and NC State came up with 17 straight points in the second half with Shadrach Thornton running for scores from 72 yards away and one yard out. Levonte Whitfield closed it out for FSU with a 31-yard scoring dash.
- Florida State didn’t show any letdown after the emotional domination of Clemson. Jameis Winston was terrific, completing 16-of-26 passes for 292 yards and three scores with a pick before taking the rest of the day off, and the offense was explosive from the start. The Noles could’ve put up 80 with ease if it kept on trying.
- It’s all about style points the rest of the way. Florida State isn’t playing Miami next week or Wake Forest to follow; it’s playing Oregon. It has to keep bombing away at will and win game after game in destructive fashion.
Florida State 51, at Clemson 14
Basically … Jameis Winston connected with Kelvin Benjamin for a 22-yard touchdown pass less than 90 seconds into the game, and it didn’t get any better from there for Clemson. Winston finished with four touchdown passes and found Rashad Greene for a 72-yard touchdown pass in the second and on a 17-yarder in the third to go along with a two-yard rushing score on the way to a 51-7 lead before Clemson got in the end zone with 13 seconds to play on a Cole Stoudt run. The Tigers scored on a three-yard Sammy Watkins catch late in the first quarter, but that only made it a 17-7 FSU Lead.
- Florida State committed 12 penalties. That was about it in terms of negatives as the Seminoles looked like a legitimate national title contender. Could Jameis Winston handle a tough environment? 22-of-34 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns with a pick. Could the Seminole defense keep Tajh Boyd in check? It allowed 156 yards through the air from Boyd. Could the line generate a pass rush? Four sacks. It all worked.
- There’s still a whole bunch to play for. The national title is gone for Clemson, and the ACC championship could be up in smoke, but there’s still a BCS carrot at the end of the stick. At 11-1, it’s in, and outside of Georgia Tech and South Carolina, there isn’t anyone left who can be a problem if, and it’s a big if, everyone’s head is on straight after this.
- It’s almost like Clemson was shocked that Florida State didn’t wilt out of the gate, and then it didn’t seem to have any confidence after the first few drives. Tajh Boyd was all over the place. He had time, but he was wildly erratic completing 17-of-37 passes for 156 yards and a score with two picks. FSU had something to do with it, but he was off.
- Now the pressure will be on as the true hunted. There’s still the showdown with Miami, and there’s the date at Florida to close out the regular season, but if the Noles are good enough to beat Clemson like this, they’re good enough to blowout everyone else on the schedule.
at Florida State 63, Maryland 0
Basically … Florida State flexed a little muscle thanks to five touchdown passes from Jameis Winston with two to Nick O’Leary and two more to Kelvin Benjamin. Maryland was stuffed all game long, hurt by an injury to quarterback C.J. Brown, but the offense didn’t produce when he was on the field. The Terps were outgained 614 yards to 234.
- If you didn’t believe in the Jameis Winston Heisman candidacy before, it’s all setting up perfectly for him now. As if the Boston College bomb for a score wasn’t a strong enough highlight, shedding Terp LB Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil and making a 12-yard touchdown pass late in the third only added to the résumé. After this performance – completing 23-of-32 passes for 393 yards and five scores – now there’s two weeks off to prepare and hype up the showdown with Clemson. Rock in that game, and it’s all his for the taking – at least until the battle with the Florida defense.
- Maryland lost starting quarterback C.J. Brown to an apparent chest injury. It’s not like the offense moved when he was in, but Caleb Rowe couldn’t get much going. Rowe completed 9-of-17 passes for 119 yards, while Brown hit just 6-of-14 passes for 82 yards.
- The Florida State running game was fine, but it got stopped a bit too often considering the blowout final score. Devonta Freeman ran for 63 yards, but he only averaged 3.7 yards per carry. Backup quarterback Jacob Coker ramped up the average with a 24-yard scoring dash, but the O line didn’t completely and totally dominate.
- With Virginia and Wake Forest up next, Maryland has to keep its focus. This might have been an embarrassing loss, and this might have killed the buzz, but the Terps might be two games away from bowl eligibility, 6-1, and a still-breathing chance to make some serious noise in the ACC title chase.
Florida State 48, at Boston College 38
Basically … Down 17-3 early in the second quarter after BC got two Chase Rettig touchdowns passes and a 24-yard Nate Freese field goal, Florida State went wild thanks to a brilliant performance from Jameis Winston. The freshman threw three second quarter touchdown passes including a 55-yard highlight reel play to Kenny Shaw as time expired in the half. Winston and Rashad Greene hooked up on their second touchdown pass of the game in the third, but the Noles needed a 20-yard P.J. Williams interception return for a score to put it well out of reach.
- The Florida State defense looked mortal. The secondary came up with two picks, but it gave up passing yards in chunks and had problems holding up at times against the run. There weren’t any huge problems after the offense kicked it into gear, but this was an uneven overall performance.
- Boston College might have lost, but considering how good Florida State is, this was a good game. Chase Rettig held up well completing 19-of-29 passes for 197 yards and four scores with two picks. Against one of the best run defenses in America, Andre Williams ran for 149 yards on 28 carries.
- There’s the pass rush. Florida State hasn’t been able to get into the backfield on a regular basis all season long, but it came up with three sacks led by a nice day from linebacker Telvin Smith, who led the team with ten tackles with a sack and two tackles for loss.
- The Eagles were aggressive and did a nice job of giving the Florida State offensive line a problem coming up with four sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. BC wasn’t bad, but Jameis Winston was just better.
at Florida State 54, Bethune-Cookman 6
Basically … The Seminole defense started out the blowout with a 68-yard Telvin Smith interception for a touchdown, and the offense came up with a few short second quarter touchdown runs and Jameis Winston found Kelvin Benjamin for an 11-yard touchdown in the second and Robert Greene to a 19-yard scoring play in the third on the way to a 40-0 lead. Following a seven-yard touchdown run from Jackie Wilson for Bethune-Cookman’s only points, but FSU answered with two short scoring runs from Karlos Williams.
- If Jameis Winston is going to look mortal, it might as well be against Bethune-Cookman. He was fine, completing 10-of-19 passes for 148 yards and two scores, but he didn’t do anything special and he wasn’t his normal, accurate self. The defense picked up the slack when needed, and the running game continues to be unstoppable, averaging 7.5 yards per pop.
- This might be looking too hard for something that isn’t there, but the Seminoles look bored. They jumped out to an early lead, they were never going to be threatened, and they played like it. It’s time for a challenge. Going to Boston College might not be it, but hosting a suddenly-strong Maryland team the following week might be.
at Florida State 62, Nevada 7, Sept. 14
Basically … The Seminoles were explosive and efficient, overcoming an early 7-3 deficit with 59 unanswered points helped by two second quarter touchdown passes form Jameis Winston and a ten-yard scoring run in the third. FSU ran for 377 yards with scoring runs from six different players, highlighted by a 65-yard dash from Karlos Williams in the third. Nevada’s score came on an 11-yard catch from Brandon Wimberly early in the second quarter.
- Nevada didn’t have any sort of a chance without Cody Fajardo. The starting quarterback was out with a sprained knee, and Devin Combs and Tyler Stewart couldn’t move the offense combining for just 86 passing yards.
- How many fast Seminole runners are there? Each one was tearing off big dash after big dash with four Noles averaging 12 yards per pop or more. The running game averaged 9.2 yards per pop, and that’s the key; Jameis Winston doesn’t have to do everything.
- Chris Solomon did his best for the Nevada offense, running 26 times for a tough 108 yards, but he didn’t get much help. The quarterbacks were taken out of running plays early on.
- It’s hard to complain with a nearly-perfect defensive effort for FSU, but there’s still a question mark about the pass rush from the ends. The Noles failed to generate a sack.
Florida State 41, at Pitt 13, Sept. 2
Basically … Jameis Winston was even better than the hype, completing 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns to go along with a rushing score. Three of the scores went to tight end Nick O’Leary as the Seminoles spoiled Pitt’s ACC debut. Pitt scored first on an 80-yard opening drive, but only managed two Chris Blewitt field goals the rest of the way.
- All the talk will be about Winston’s performance, but the offensive line gave him more than enough time to work – for the most part. He was rarely under pressure, but when he was, he showed he could get free without too much of a problem.
- Devin Street came up with a nice day for the Panthers, doing Larry Fitzgerald proud on his jersey retirement day. Street caught six passes for 141 yards.
- The Seminoles aren’t going to get a pass rush from the ends like they did in the past few year, but corner Lamarcus Joyner managed to come up with nine tackles with two sacks.
- The Pitt running game will eventually work, just not against a team like FSU. Tyler Boyd and Isaac Bennett did what they could, and they should combine with James Conner to crank out big yards.
Why To Get Excited … the Seminoles are trending north for head coach Jimbo Fisher, winning the ACC for the first time since 2005, and reeling in another top-flight recruiting class. It’s taken a while to get back to this point, but Florida State is once again looking down on the rest of the conference, with its sights now set on entering the national championship picture.
Why To Be Grouchy … turnover is inevitable, but FSU has endured more than the usual departures since December. Not only have EJ Manuel and a handful of other standouts taken off for the NFL, but Fisher has also dealt with the exits of six assistants, including defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to Kentucky. This program will have a very different look than it did in 2012.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … grooming a new starter behind center. The Seminoles will audition three candidates to be Manuel’s heir apparent, Clint Trickett, Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker. Trickett is by far the most seasoned veteran, but Coker and Winston have high ceilings that they’ll attempt to reach beginning in the spring.
Team Concerns For 2013: Replacing quarterback E.J. Manuel is Concern One, but overall, can the Seminoles improve on turnover margin? Considering the across-the-board talent level, the defense needs to make more big plays. The defensive front needs the most immediate help losing all four starters along with a few reserves, while replacing linebackers Nick Moody and Vince Williams isn't a plus. The offensive line that turned out to be so strong for the ground game has to be better in pass protection.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Wide receivers. Defensive tackle Keith Bryant and guard Ira Denson were big pickups to make up for a few key losses, and landing linebacker Matthew Thomas made the class great. After a few phenomenal classes, the Noles don't have any major areas of need after bringing in the nation's No. 1 overall class last season, but there are still plenty of big-time talents coming in. However, it's nowhere near last year's haul with so many key spots already filled. Linebacker E.J. Levenberry and defensive tackle Demarcus Walker are two of the big stars, but receivers Isaiah Jones (big), Kermit Whitfield (small and speedy) and Jesus Wilson (fast) should crank up the passing game down the road.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 6. That Class Was
Heavy On ... This might not turn out to be the class last year’s was, but head coach Jimbo Fisher is playing with the biggest of big boys when it comes to bringing in the talent. He’s loading up on the lines, especially defensive end, with Mario Edwards the top end prospect in America, and Chris Casher and Dante Fowler not far behind. He’s looking for instant help from the JUCO ranks for the offensive line that needs a few more options, and he’s going hard after a few top quarterback prospects to be ready to fight for a job when E.J. Manuel is done next year.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 1. That Class Was
Heavy On ... High expectations. Florida State has done its normally strong job of recruiting over the past several years, but now with the transition of power well in the rearview mirror, the program is rocking on the recruiting trail. Jimbo Fisher did a nice job last year, but that was nothing compared to the haul he brought in this season led by defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, safety Karlos Williams, outside linebacker James Wilder, and offensive tackle Bobby Hart. They’ll be expected to be All-ACC stars in the near future, while JUCO transfer defensive tackle Cornellius Carradine is ready for right now. Position-wise, the defensive line got the most attention with a jaw-dropping group of players who should make the Noles a brick wall for the next four years. There might have been a few stunning losses here and there, including linebacker Stephone Anthony to Clemson, but this the program’s best class in a long, long
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 12. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Jimbo Fisher's
ability. Any worries now that Florida State couldn't
recruit quite as well without the Bobby Bowden
touch? The transition turned out to be a plus as
Fisher was able to sell stability to a slew of
tremendous prospects that upgraded the team's talent
level in a hurry. WR Christian Green was a steal
from Florida and Georgia, while Kenny Shaw is the
type of target to get excited about even if Green
didn't sign. DT Darious Cummings was taken away from
Florida and Auburn, defensive end Bjorn Werner was a
key get for the line, and Jeff Luc is an NFL-ready
defender who'll be the next great Seminole
linebacker. Throw in star corner prospect Lamarcus
Joyner and safety Greg Dent, and FSU did more than
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 16. That Class Was
Heavy On ... safeties. With their secondary going through a bit of an overhaul, the Seminoles focused on that unit, specifically the safeties. Florida State has signed four of them, two who rank among the ten best in the country at the position. Willie Downs and JaJuan Harley are outstanding talents, whose families won’t be traveling far on Saturdays. Both teens hail from Tallahassee, and decided some time ago to remain close to home.