Winston-to-Benjamin TD with 13 seconds left seals 34-31 victory over No. 2 Auburn.
FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher has the highest winning percentage in ACC history
Jameis Winston throws for 444 yards in victory at No. 3 Clemson.
Saturday night's 51-14 Clemson crush exorcised FSU's Memorial Stadium demons and thrust the Seminoles into national title contention
Early in a potential superstar career, it's clear that Jameis Winston and Jimbo Fisher are on the same page, writes Brandon Mellor
The Seminoles lost 8-3 to the Yankees in an exhibition in Tampa.
additional game photo's from BCS National Championship game
Florida State win the BCS National Championship with a thrilling 34-31 win over Auburn in Pasadena
Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher at the 2014 BCS National Championship press conference
24 hours after the 'Noles and Tigers kicked off, here are some action shots from the big game (Photos by Mike Olivella)
In just four years Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher has restored Florida State back to the top of the college football world by guiding the Seminoles to back-to-back Atlantic Coast Conference Championships and four consecutive bowl victories, culminating in a perfect 14-0 season and the Seminoles' third national championship in 2013.
Fisher enters his fifth campaign at the helm of the `Noles in 2014 coming off two straight BCS berths, including a 2013 season where FSU had one of the most dominant offenses in college football history and arguably the nation's top defense. The Seminoles set the national record for points in a season (723), while leading the nation in scoring defense (12.1).
Fisher has compiled 45 wins and won 82 percent of his games with the Seminoles - by far the highest winning percentage in ACC history. Only four FBS programs have more total wins that Fisher's Seminoles since 2010. FSU leads the ACC in wins over that period and only one team from the SEC has compiled more wins over that same stretch (Alabama, 46). Currently, Fisher is the fifth winningest among active FBS coaches with at least two years of experience.
Fisher came to Florida State as offensive coordinator in 2007 and was promoted to head coach in 2010. He quickly found success at the helm of the Seminoles, winning 10 games in two of his first three years. He has an unprecedented 4-0 record in bowl games, including the 31-27 victory over Auburn in the 2014 BCS National Championship Game and a 31-10 win over Northern Illinois in the 2012 Orange Bowl.
The 2013 season was truly historic for Fisher and the Seminoles. On offense, Florida State set the FSU and ACC records for single-season total offense (7,267 yards), points per game (51.6) and yards per play (7.67) in addition to the national record for points. FSU led the nation with 94 touchdowns, which also was a school and ACC record. Florida State's 42 passing scores marked was a school and conference record, while its 42 rushing scores set a new FSU mark.
On defense, FSU led the nation in scoring defense, and also pass defense (156.6) and interceptions (26), while ranking third in total defense (281.4). The Seminoles also led the conference in pass defense efficiency (93.8) and ranked third in rushing yards allowed per game (124.8). Only two teams scored more than 17 points against the Seminoles.
The Seminoles became the sixth team ever to win 14 games and the first ACC team ever to accomplish the feat. Fisher was named AFCA Regional Coach of the Year for Region 1 in 2013 and was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year and the Bobby Bowden Coach of the Year awards.
Known for his success in developing quarterbacks, Fisher has tutored two first-round NFL draft picks at the position at FSU - current Minnesota Viking Christian Ponder (12th overall pick, 2011) and current Buffalo Bill EJ Manuel (16th overall, 2013) - and guided Seminoles' signal caller Jameis Winston to one of the greatest seasons by a collegiate quarterback in 2013. Winston became the youngest player ever to win the Heisman Trophy, while also nabbing the Davey O'Brien Award, Manning Award, Walter Camp Player of the Year honor and consensus All-America honors. He became the first freshman to win ACC Player of the Year honors and set the conference, FSU and national freshman record for single-season touchdown passes (40). Winston also broke the national freshman record for passing yards (4,057).
Florida State had 11 players capture All-ACC First Team honors - six on offense and five on defense or special teams - this season. The Seminoles also had six players capture All-America First or Second Team accolades - Winston, senior cornerback Lamarcus Joyner, senior center Bryan Stork, junior tackle Cameron Erving, freshman kicker Roberto Aguayo and junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan.
Entering the 2014 season, Fisher has seen 25 Seminoles get drafted into the NFL in his first four seasons - including a Florida State two-year record 18 combined in 2013-14 which is tied with LSU for the most draftees during that period.
Led by wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the 28th pick of the first round by the Carolina Panthers, Florida State had seven players drafted in the 2014 NFL Draft - all coming within the first 150 selections. Only LSU (9), Alabama (8) and Notre Dame (8) had more players picked.
In 2013, no team had more players drafted than Florida State's school-record 11, including three first round picks - Manuel, Bjoern Werner (No. 24, Indianapolis Colts) and Xavier Rhodes (No. 25, Minnesota Vikings).
After 22 seasons as a college assistant, including three as FSU's offensive coordinator, Fisher succeeded Bobby Bowden - the winningest coach in major college football. The Seminoles' first new coach in 35 years, and just the ninth in program history, hit the ground running in 2010 and hasn't looked back.
He led the `Noles to a 10-4 mark in 2010 - the most wins by a first-year coach in FSU history - and the first of three ACC Atlantic Division titles. He followed with a 9-4 season in 2011 and improved to 12-2 in year three before the perfect 14-0 2013 campaign.
Considered to have one of the best offensive minds in the college ranks, Fisher's early success has come in all three phases of the game actually, particularly on defense where the Seminoles are the only team in the country to rank in the top four in total defense the last three seasons despite having two defense coordinators.
The 2013 season personified the balance success over all three phases that has led to Florida State's success over the last four years. The `Noles opened the season with Winston completing the first 11 passes of his career as Florida State cruised past Pitt on the road. A few weeks later, FSU dominated a No. 25-ranked Maryland team to the tune of 63-0 - tying the all-time mark for margin of victory against a ranked opponent in college football history. Next, it was Joyner silencing Death Valley by forcing a fumble on No. 3 Clemson's first offensive play and being responsible for three turnovers himself in a 51-14 win. Against No. 7 Miami, running back Devonta Freeman sliced through the Hurricanes' defense for 176 total yards and three touchdowns in a 41-14 victory in front of the all-time attendance record in Doak Campbell Stadium history. The Seminoles made a school-record-tying six interceptions and forced seven total turnovers versus Wake Forest and held the Demon Deacons to just 166 yards of total offense. FSU totaled a school-record 80 points and Jernigan tallied 4.5 tackles for loss versus Idaho. Benjamin capped the perfect regular season with a spectacular 212 yards receiving against Florida's top-five pass defense. Winston accounted for three touchdowns and over 300 yards passing against Duke in the ACC Championship. And, of course, there were several standout performances in the BCS National Championship Game versus Auburn: Telvin's Smith's 15 tackles, P.J. Williams' momentum-shifting interception, Kermit Whitfield's 100-yard kick return touchdown and Winston's game-winning toss to Benjamin to give Florida State the national championship.
In addition to Winston's numerous accolades, Stork won the Rimington Trophy awarded to the nation's top center, while Aguayo nabbed the Lou Groza Award in the process of setting the national record for points by a kicker (157). Joyner collected unanimous All-America honors and was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe and Bronko Nagurski awards.
The groundwork was laid for the 2013 season in three previous years as Florida State built upon the steady success of the Seminoles' offense, defense and special teams.
In 2012, Florida State's defense led the nation in yards allowed per play (3.86) and ranked second nationally in total defense (254.14 ypg), while the offense churned out a then-school records of 6,591 total yards and 40 rushing touchdowns which would only be surpassed by the 2013 squad.
The 2012 team, Fisher's third at the helm of the Seminoles, had a league-leading 12 Seminoles split between All-ACC First and Second Teams, while another four Noles garnered honorable mention honors. With a win over Georgia Tech in the Dr. Pepper ACC Championship game and the win over NIU in the Orange Bowl, FSU closed the year ranked No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 10 in the Associated Press poll cashing in on its nation-leading 31st consecutive bowl appearance.
Manuel capped off his senior season with one of the most memorable in FSU history not only finishing as the most accurate passer in FSU history, but ranking among the top five Seminole quarterbacks all-time for passing yards (7,736, 3rd), total offense (8,563, 3rd), completions (600, 4th) and attempts (897, 5th), despite only two seasons as the full-time starter.
Two-time Lou Groza Award Finalist Dustin Hopkins not only became the ACC and Seminoles all-time leading scorer in 2012, but the NCAA FBS all-time kick scorer finishing his career with 466 points. That came one year after Shawn Powell's departure as a consensus All-America punter. The Seminole coverage teams are amongst the best in the nation, which has allowed FSU to win field position battles.
Fisher wrapped up his second season at the helm of the FSU program in 2011 by guiding the Seminoles to a 9-4 record, capped by their 18-14 victory over Notre Dame in front of a Champs Sports Bowl record crowd. Florida State ranked No. 23 in both the Associated Press and USA Today Coaches polls after rallying in its 30th consecutive bowl appearance It was a fitting finish to a season that saw the Seminoles successfully defend their state title, sweeping both Miami and Florida for a second consecutive season - something that had not been done since the 1998 and 1999 seasons.
The Seminoles displayed tremendous resolve throughout the 2011 campaign, winning seven of their final eight games after getting off to an injury-riddled, 2-3 start. Receiver Rashad Greene burst onto the scene in limited game action and put together one of the best seasons ever by an FSU freshman. Greene posted the second-most receptions (38), receiving touchdowns (7) and third-most receiving yards (596) by an FSU freshman and ranked among the top five freshmen nationally in receiving touchdowns. That, coupled with Freeman's freshman campaign in 2011 which saw him run for the most yards (579) by a freshman since Travis Minor in 1997, showed that Fisher's offenses continue to be a force to reckon with in college football. Success in the NFL draft also continued to pick up steam as Bradham was FSU's highest 2012 NFL draft selection going in the fourth round to the Buffalo Bills.
Florida State's success under Fisher has not been unexpected. Fisher set the standard for expectations in his first season, delivering the Seminoles back to a place of national prominence with a 10-4 record in 2010. FSU capped the season with a 26-17 win over No. 19 South Carolina in the Chick-fil-A Bowl and finished at No. 16 in the USA Today Coaches Poll. In addition to his season sweep of in-state rivals Miami and Florida, the Seminoles won the ACC Atlantic Division title en route to their first 10-win season since 2003.
Fisher won the most games (10) by a first-year coach in Florida State history and is tied for the second-most by a rookie coach in ACC history. He was named the 2010 Football Writers Association of America's Freshman All-America Team Coach.
Three of his players in 2010 earned All-America honors: offensive guard Rodney Hudson (consensus All-America selection), Jenkins and Rhodes. Rhodes was named the ACC Rookie of the Year and National Defensive Freshman of the Year. Fisher capped off the 2010 season with three seniors selected in the 2011 NFL Draft led by his 11th NFL quarterback prodigy in Ponder - the No. 12 overall pick in the draft by the Minnesota Vikings. Ponder became the highest offensive player to go for the `Noles since offensive lineman Alex Barron in 2005. Before Ponder, Gary Huff was the highest drafted FSU QB as the 33rd overall pick in the second round of the 1973 draft.
Fisher has carried the success of his first four seasons onto the recruiting trail as he put together a 2011 recruiting class ranked either first or second nationally by ESPN.com, Scout.com and Rivals.com. He did it again in 2012 with a recruiting class ranked second nationally by ESPN.com and again in 2013 with a top 10 class despite the departure of several key assistant coaches, who not only became hot commodities themselves after FSU's success in three seasons but all received coaching promotions.
The Seminoles' 2014 recruiting class was tabbed the third-best in the nation by ESPN as it featured 13 ESPN Top 300 prospects, including three consensus five-star recruits.
While maintaining the core values that Bowden instilled over the course of his 34 seasons in Tallahassee, Fisher has a simple explanation for the sweeping changes he has brought to the program: You don't run a business the same way today as you did 5-10 years ago. He has carefully crafted his vision by borrowing from two men - Nick Saban and Bowden - he worked under. Their influence, though very different, can be seen sprinkled throughout Fisher's own blueprint for success. Fisher has not wasted any time putting his stamp on the Seminoles. From assembling a staff of seasoned, ambitious assistants, to dramatically overhauling the program's infrastructure, he has left no stone unturned. His attention to every aspect of the program - from strength & conditioning, nutrition, mental training, academic support, talent evaluation and recruiting, player development and peer mentoring among teammates - is centered on establishing an unshakeable foundation that emphasizes the whole development of each player, and it's why Florida State was able to be crowned national champions in just his fourth year.
Yet the greatest influences in Fisher's life have been his parents, John James and Gloria Fisher. His late father, a coal miner and farmer who demanded accountability from sons Jimbo and Bryan, helped them understand the value of hard work from an early age. Those lessons extended beyond the family farm and home and onto the fields and courts as a promising young football, basketball and baseball player.
By the time Fisher reached junior high school and became the starting quarterback, he was calling plays in the huddle. Win or lose, the car rides home with his father always included a critique of what transpired on the field.
Fisher learned about tough-love from his father, but his future was also shaped by his mother, Gloria, who retired in 2011 from the West Virginia public schools system after teaching high school chemistry for 51 years. It was Gloria who made sure that her son escaped from a life in the coal mines and followed his dream after an all-state career at Liberty High School.
He has done both and with a high degree of success. After a one-semester stop at Clemson, where he was going to play baseball, Fisher returned home to Salem College in West Virginia. He starred for three seasons at quarterback, establishing a school and conference record for career passing yardage. A two-time conference player of the year and an All-American in his final season at Salem, Fisher transferred to Samford College in Birmingham, Alabama for his final season of eligibility. He enjoyed a record-setting season in 1987 with the Bulldogs, earning NCAA Division III National Player of the Year honors, which he parlayed into a season with the Chicago Bruisers of the Arena Football League.
In 1993, Fisher joined the staff at Auburn and over the next 14 seasons, including stops at Cincinnati and LSU, he built a reputation as a keen play-caller whose development of quarterbacks was second-to-none in major college football. His list of standout pupils included record-setters Stan White, Patrick Nix and Dameyune Craig, who is the lone 3,000-yard passer in Auburn history. After guiding Cincinnati to one of its most prolific seasons in a one-year stint, he joined Saban's staff at LSU. Over the course of a seven-year run with the Tigers, quarterbacks Josh Booty, Rohan Davey, Craig Nall, Matt Mauck, JaMarcus Russell and Matt Flynn were selected in the NFL Draft. Russell, who was the first player selected in the 2007 NFL Draft, and Davey were the first two 3,000-yard passers in LSU history.
LSU made seven consecutive bowl appearances, won two SEC titles, posted a 70-20 record and won the 2003 BCS National Championship with Fisher as its offensive coordinator. He was a finalist for the 2001 Frank Broyles Award, presented to the nation's top assistant coach.
Fisher accepted Bobby Bowden's invitation to join the Florida State staff as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in January 2007 and by the end of his first year, was tabbed as Bowden's successor upon retirement. The quick ascent followed a similar arc to the Seminoles' offense, which improved statistically in each of his first four seasons.
Along the way he has significantly impacted FSU's recruiting, been instrumental in the development of quarterbacks Ponder, Manuel and Winston and set the table for the inevitable transition to the seat occupied by Bowden since 1976. The time as a coach-in-waiting allowed him the opportunity to closely evaluate the players and program as a whole; what changes needed to be made and how to work the proper channels to get that accomplished.
After having the longest tenured coaching staff in college football in 2012, Fisher had several holes to fill in that offseason but he put together another top staff with more than a combined 100 years of collegiate coaching experience. The results - the 2013 national championship - speak for themselves.
Fisher's wife, Candi, and their sons, Trey and Ethan, are regular visitors in the football office and on the practice field as were and are the families of all his assistants.
In the same sense, Fisher treats his players very much like his own family, challenging, praising, even admonishing, when necessary. It is all in an attempt to help each and every one reach their full potential as student-athletes and responsible young adults, thus strengthening the team one player at a time.
He firmly believes that it takes a keen ability to focus on the task at hand to fulfill, not only their individual potential, but the collective result as teammates.
Fisher wants relentless competitors to define his Florida State program; players who are immune to adversity.
As a hands-on head coach who will continue to work with the quarterbacks and call plays, Fisher will remain a vocal presence on the field, while balancing a myriad of off-the-field responsibilities as he continues to shape the Florida State program in his own image.
Fisher will do that with a sense of responsibility and appreciation for Florida State's rich past and the men - Bowden and the players who have come before those he coaches today - who have built the program. Not surprisingly, he has welcomed those players back with open arms in an effort to bridge the past with the present and future.
It's that rich tradition that drew Fisher to Florida State and his time under Bowden. He's built on it thus far, and delivered the program's third national championship. The challenge now is to stay at the top of the mountain. It's a challenge Fisher is equipped for and wholeheartedly accepts.
Jimbo Fisher and his wife, Candi, announced on Aug. 5, 2011 the creation of a new national fund to fuel the quest for a cure for Fanconi anemia, a very rare life-threatening disorder that afflicts their 7-year-old son, Ethan, and many others.
Money raised through a campaign called "I Fight Fanconi" will support research into Fanconi anemia at the University of Minnesota, one of the leading universities pioneering better ways to treat the disorder, in advance of finding a cure. The campaign will raise research dollars for the Kidz 1st Fund, established by the Fishers, through the sale of t-shirts, wristbands and other products and through online donations. Less than seven months after creating the fund, Coach Fisher and his wife Candi along with their sons, presented the University of Minnesota's Amplatz Children's Hospital with a check for $500,000 for Fanconi anemia research during the first half of a University of a Minnesota men's basketball game on Mar. 3, 2012. The $500,000 doubled the University's current research budget for Fanconi anemia.
This type of hereditary anemia, primarily a blood disease, can affect all systems in the body and leads to bone marrow failure. For decades, the disorder was thought to be untreatable, but promising advances in medical research have improved the prognosis. To extend their lives, most children suffering from Fanconi anemia will require a stem cell transplant, either bone marrow or cord blood, yet many wait years to find a donor who is a perfect match - or never find one.
Kidz1stFund's ultimate goal is not a dollar figure. It is a cure, so that Ethan and other kids with Fanconi anemia may lead full, happy lives. Together we can fight FA for the thousands affected by this disease. Through your gift to Kidz1stFund, we can all say "I FIGHT FANCONI."
The Fishers also are making a widespread appeal for people to join the National Marrow Donor Registry to determine if they are a match for any of the thousands of people whose lives depend on a bone marrow transplant. For more information visit: www.Kidz1stFund.com.
Fisher's Coaching Ledger