Sept. 21, 2013
By: @BrandonMellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Telvin Smith intercepted a pass and dashed 68 yards for the touchdown on the game's first drive and No. 8/8 Florida State sprinted past Bethun=e-Cookman 54-6 Saturday night at Doak Campbell Stadium.
Now, the 'Noles (3-0) turn their attention to the Atlantic Coast Conference race.
FSU heads to Boston College next weekend having accomplished exactly what it wanted to accomplish against the FCS-level Wildcats (3-1): the Seminoles got to rest some starters, get one game stronger and give plenty of valuable snaps to its stacked roster of talented youngsters.
"We've got a lot of room to grow but we did the things we had to do," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "Now we get back to our conference on the road and need to clean a lot of things up but we're getting to where we need to be."
Unlike the first two games of his career, FSU quarterback Jameis Winston didn't fill up the box score with eye-popping numbers in the win. But the young signal caller did make some magic on Bobby Bowden Field.
Winston only played until the 8:13 mark of the third quarter, completing 10-of-19 passes for 148 yards and two touchdowns -- all career lows. Don't the numbers fool you, though. Winston had two potential touchdown tosses dropped and he unleashed this 11-yard touchdown throw to Kelvin Benjamin that won't soon be forgotten.
Winston admitted that the memorable play shouldn't have ever happened; he should have hit Chad Abram in the flat or Nick O'Leary on a hot route. But you can't take those points off the board and that play off the ESPN highlight reels.
"I should have sighted them out and we should have ran one of our sights on the backside," Winston said. "I was like, 'Oh man, I messed up. Now I gotta do something so I at least can throw a touchdown while I get yelled at in the film room.'"
Winston may have to answer to Fisher even on scoring plays, but his performance was enough to impress B-CU coach Brian Jenkins.
"You are looking at a future Heisman Trophy winner," Jenkins said. "I don't know if there's a better quarterback in the country."
Rashad Greene also grabbed a 19-yard touchdown catch from Winston. Greene finished with 44 yards receiving on four catches while Kenny Shaw had four catches of his own for 89 yards. Levonte Whitfield added one catch for 42 yards from backup Jacob Coker, who played a series with the first-team offense in the second half and threw for 78 total yards on 3-of-6 passing.
Of FSU's 492 total yards, 266 of them came on the ground.
Devonta Freeman registered his second 100-yard game in a row and the sixth of his career as his 10 total rushes went for 112 yards and one touchdown. Through three games as the team's leading rusher, Freeman is averaging 9.5 yards per carry and has not lost yardage on any run.
"I am very pleased with Devonta," Fisher said. "I thought he had a great game."
The other members of the 'Noles' talented tailback trio -- James Wilder, Jr. and Karlos Williams also left their mark. Wilder, Jr. finished with 56 yards on just eight carries with a touchdown run and Williams showed the same flash in the backfield as he did in his first game at the position last weekend after his switch from safety.
Williams played in the second half only but scored twice on the ground and ran for 83 yards on nine carries. After the game, Fisher said that Williams is progressing so well on offense that he will start getting earlier carries and more opportunities.
Williams also laid out a Wildcats returner on special teams, showing he hadn't forgotten how to notch one of his trademarks hits despite his position switch across the line of scrimmage.
"Oh man that felt good," Williams said, smiling.
The Seminoles averaged 8.1 yards per play and had the ball just 24:01 compared to B-CU's 3.3 yards-per-play average in 35:25 of offensive work. FSU's defense, which has yet to give up a 300-yard game this season, let Bethune-Cookman gain just 242 yards.
Starting for the first time in his career in place of suspended middle linebacker Christian Jones, Terrance Smith showed off with a game-high 12 tackles and one sack. Redshirt freshmen Chris Casher and Ukeme Eligwe added 10 and six tackles, respectively, and E.J. Levenberry, Reggie Northrup, Telvin Smith and Terrence Brooks all had five stops apiece.
The 'Noles started slow defensively, giving up four BCU first downs on the opening drive before Terrence Smith's big second-down sack set up 3rd-and-16. Telvin Smith then stepped in front the pass and raced untouched for the Seminoles' first defensive score of the year and a 7-0 lead.
"I was going!" Telvin Smith said. "I just kind of put my head back and let it go; put the pedal to the metal. Nobody was catching me, I know that."
It took until the 4:31 mark of the first quarter for the FSU offense to get the ball for the first time. Freeman's 18-yard run, a 14-yard Benjamin catch and then a 24-yard Shaw grab set up a 45-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal for a 10-0 score.
After Wilder, Jr.'s fumble near the goal line, B-CU quickly gave the ball right back with a holding penalty that resulted in a safety and 12-0 FSU lead. Then on FSU's ensuing drive, Winston unleashed his 11-yard touchdown play to Benjamin to give the 'Noles a 19-0 advantage.
That lead extended to 26-0 late in the second quarter after Wilder, Jr. found redemption with a two-yard touchdown plunge on the heels of an 82-yard drive. Florida State added one more score -- a one-yard Freeman run -- before the break to take a 33-0 lead into the break.
Winston's 19-yard pass to Greene just 1:21 in the second half then gave FSU a 40-0 lead. The scoring play marked Winston's final play of the night before Coker took over.
Following a B-CU scoring drive that halted the would-be shut out and produced 75 of the Wildcats' 242 total yards, Coker fired a 29-yard completion to Shaw and then Williams burst through the line for a 19-yard gain. One play later, Williams scored his second rushing score in as many games as he's played tailback with a three-yard rumble to pay dirt for a 47-6 score.
Williams later added a one-yard late-third-quarter run that was set up by Whitfield's 42-yard grab and dash.
FSU leaves for Chestnut Hill, Mass. Friday afternoon before playing the Eagles Saturday at 3:30 p.m.
"They better be," Fisher said, when asked if he thought his team was ready after three games for the full ACC slate of games. "It's coming in seven days; we'll find out."