Sunday, October 27, 2013
What we learned: Week 9
By David M. Hale
Once again, Florida State's offense rolled up big points, topping 40 for the seventh straight game, and the defense was dominant, shutting out NC State while the No. 1 unit was on the field. But the Seminoles 49-17 win over the Wolfpack provided a few other bits of insight, too.
Winston plays with emotion: No surprise here. Jameis Winston is the emotional leader of Florida State's offense, and he never has hidden his exuberance on the field. But as the Seminoles rolled to a 35-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, Winston admits he let his emotions -- and the excitement of the hot start -- get to him when he should've remained focused. "It was my fault that the second quarter was the way it was," said Winston, who was just 5-of-12 for 63 yards and an interception after the first quarter. "When we go up 35-0, I've got to say, 'Hey guys, let's put our foot on their throat.' I was having fun out there. Everyone was having fun. But there was a point in time I should've said, 'Let's get this thing rolling.' "
Turnovers set the tone: For the second straight week, Florida State forced a turnover on the opposition's first drive, followed with a touchdown, and never looked back. It has been a remarkably consistent formula: The defense makes a play, the offense cashes in. In the past two weeks, Florida State has seven takeaways, including two interceptions from Ronald Darby, who appears fully healthy after a quiet start to the season. For the season, FSU is plus-eight in turnover margin and is on pace for 28 takeaways, which would be its most since 2007.
Fisher isn't worried about style points: It would've been easy for Jimbo Fisher to keep his starters in through at least the end of the third quarter, rack up a monster win over another ACC team and hope to impress enough voters that FSU maintained its slim lead over Oregon for the No. 2 spot in the BCS standings. Instead, Fisher sent his backups in for nearly the entire second half -- something he couldn't remember ever doing in his career -- and said he doesn't plan on running up the score, even if it doesn't win his team any support with voters. "I'm not going to go out there and embarrass this game," Fisher said. "If they can't tell we dominated that game early and put it away -- I just think that's bad for college football, in my opinion."