Sept. 28, 2013
By: @BrandonMellor, Seminoles.com Managing Editor
NEWTON, Mass. -- No. 8 Florida State's defense bent but didn't break and Jameis Winston bent out of two potential sacks on the same play and broke Twitter Saturday night in the Seminoles' come-from-behind 48-34 win at Boston College.
FSU's defense struggled throughout most of the game to stop the run and slow down BC's different offensive looks as the 'Noles (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell behind 17-3 early. But while the defense started generating stops, Winston and the offense began rolling -- and no play was more memorable and meaningful than the young quarterback's 55-yard touchdown throw to Kenny Shaw on the senior receiver's "snake route" as the first-half clock expired at Alumni Stadium.
The play, which featured Winston calmly rolling out of two would-be sacks, was followed by a social media frenzy in which word -- and video -- of the miraculous play spread across the Internet at an eye-popping, reload-at-your-own-risk rate.
"I just wanted to score a touchdown before the half and Kenny made a play," Winston said. "He's an outstanding target that I've got and he made a great play."
For Winston, the play one was part of an 8-for-8 completion streak that saw him lead FSU from a two-score deficit to a advantage it would never relinquish. For FSU's defense, the Eagles (2-2, 1-1) got their yards by gashing FSU for a season-high 200 yards rushing on the ground. Boston College also added 198 yards through the air with four Chase Rettig touchdown passes.
His counterpart Winston finished the game 17-of-27 for 330 yards with four touchdowns and one interception. He also added 67 yards rushing on 14 carries. Winston's do-it-all effort propelled the Seminoles to 489 yards of total offense -- 330 of them through the air and 159 on the ground.
"Let me say this now, I am glad [Winston] is on my team," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "He's a great competitor [and] he's a fun guy to coach. When he comes over he makes the adjustment and is very coachable."
Rashad Greene hauled in two of Winston's touchdown throws to move to 12th all time on FSU's career receiving scores list. The true junior now has 17 scores on just 147 touches. Greene finished with 90 yards on four catches while his buddies Kelvin Benjamin (three catches for 103 yards) and Shaw (four catches for 93 yards and a score) also put up big numbers.
Starting fullback Chad Abram also had a touchdown catch for his first career score.
Devonta Freeman added 49 yards on nine carries and Karlos Williams posted a one-yard touchdown run. Redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo contributed two made field goals and six extra points to set the school record for consecutive made kicks to start a career.
On the opposite side of the ball, FSU's defense will have a lot to watch and learn from in the film room in preparation for Maryland next weekend and then high-powered Clemson in three weeks -- but the 'Noles still made plays and the Eagles were never closer than 10 points in the final 24-minutes plus to end the game.
P.J. Williams' pick-six early in fourth quarter gave the Seminoles a more comfortable lead and Nate Andrews' game-sealing takeaway on the goal line with less than two minutes kept the Eagles form making it a one-score affair. Telvin Smith also had a big sack on that second-to-last BC drive that helped set up what would be Rettig interception throw.
Smith registered a team-high 10 tackles while Terrance Brooks, Timmy Jernigan, Christian Jones and Jalen Ramsey all had seven stops. Ramsey moved from his starting corner spot to safety in the game in place of Tyler Hunter, who was out with a neck injurey. P.J. Williams took Ramsey's starting spot at cornerback.
"We've got to get better in all three phases," Fisher said. "But guys, we are a work in progress. We are a work in progress but we are learning to win on the road and I am very proud of that. We are 4-0."
Like Pittsburgh did in the 'Noles' first road game of the year, Boston College scored a touchdown on its first drive to take an early 7-0 lead. After a 38-yard completion from Winston to Benjamin, Aguayo drained a 40-yard field goal to get a few of those points back and make it a 7-3 game with 6:34 left in the first quarter.
Unlike that Pittsburgh game, though, the Eagles wouldn't go away as Rettig tossed his second touchdown of the day on the ensuing drive to give BC a 14-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. That lead appeared destined to be even bigger to start the second frame but FSU held on third-and-short and the Eagles' eight-play, 52-yard drive ended in a field goal.
Down 17-3, the FSU offense finally had an answer thanks to Winston's 56-yard touchdown toss to a wide open Greene. The scoring play was the longest completion of Winston's career.
After trading punts, FSU forced a second consecutive Boston College three-and-out before starting what would turn out to be a beautiful offensive drive orchestrated by FSU's redshirt freshman under center. Starting with three consecutive first down passes before adding a career-long 20 yard run, Winston capped the seven-play, 80-yard drive with a 10-yard scoring throw to Abram to tie the game with 4:44 left in the second quarter.
The FSU defense then forced a three-and-out and the 'Noles took the lead on Winston's play-of-the-year-caliber Hail Mary as time expired.
Trailing 24-17 to start the second half, Boston College exploded for a 71-yard kick return on the first play of the third quarter. The play put the Eagles into the redzone but the 'Noles' defense stiffened and allowed just a 24-yard field goal.
On the next drive, Winston's completion streak ended at eight but his 24-yard third-down throw to Benjamin moved the chains and five plays later he found Greene on the 10-yard score. Up 31-20 at that point, FSU went 60 yards on eight plays and Williams extended the Seminoles' advantage to 38-20 on his one-yard scoring plunge.
But Boston College wasn't quite ready to go away. Rettig's season-high 52-yard touchdown heave to Myles Willis trimmed the deficit to 38-27. The 'Noles then got three of those back on Aguayo's 20-yard field goal on the third play of the fourth quarter.
P.J. Williams' interception return for a score pushed the lead back to 48-27 a minute a half later but Rettig answered with a 17-yard touchdown throw to C.J. Parsons. The Eagles got the ball back looking for more but Andrews stepped in front of the pass and raced down the sidelines with 1:53 to put the game out of reach.
"We adjusted to them well, we just didn't take on blockers as well," Fisher said. "We've got to take on blockers better. There was not an unsound thing we did, we just have to take on blockers better. We have to defeat blockers better."
The 'Noles wil get that chance when they host the Terrapins Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium. Kick-off time for that game will be announced Sunday.