Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher could not have pictured a closer game to start the 2014 season. The Seminoles are trying to accomplish what the 1999 national champions team did, go wire-to-wire as the No. 1 team in the country.
The No. 1 ranked Seminoles avoided a disastrous start on their crusade to repeat, beating Oklahoma State 37-31.
The Seminoles rushed out of the gates swinging, building a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. Quarterback Jameis Winston’s two interceptions in the first half gave the Cowboys momentum who then responded to score 10 unanswered points and cut the Seminoles lead to just seven at halftime.
In the second half, Winston showed why he is considered the best player in college football. On a first-and-ten in the third quarter, Winston scored on a 28 yard run that put Florida State up 27-17 heading into the final period. An acrobatic run that was upheld after a review proved to be his longest of his career.
The Cowboys were competitive throughout the night and would not relinquish. Quarterback J.W. Walsh proved he has some wheels too after flying into the end zone on a 24 yard run which cut the deficit against to just three points.
But the play of the game was attributed to the Seminoles defense. As Oklahoma State was driving to take their first lead of the game, Walsh scrambled for a first down but lost the ball in midair. Florida State recovered and Winston made the Oklahoma State pay. He threw a dart to receiver Rashade Green who took it the house on a 50 yard touchdown reception. which put Florida State He finished the game with 11 receptions for 203 yards and one score. OK State cut the lead again after Walsh rushed for his second touchdown but it was too late.
Jimbo Fisher was happy the Seminoles got out alive but knows his team needs to play better moving forward.
“We’re still a work in progress,” Fisher said. “We all know that. “We have some good players but we still have to play good. It’s not about being great; it’s about playing great.”
Winston finished the game 25 for 40 with 37o passing yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. A pretty good game to most quarterbacks, but it was an average game to his standards.
“We’ve got to get better,” said Winston. “I told our guys … we’ve got to go higher.”
The Seminoles host The Citadel next Saturday at 7:30 ET while the Cowboys take on Missouri State in their home opener at 3:30 ET.
Note: According to ESPN Stats & Information, Florida State’s six point victory was the closest win in a season opener by a preseason No. 1 since 1992.
*Section Photo credit to Melina Vastola, USA Today Sports; Featured Photo (above) credit to Matthew Emmons, USA Today Sports