Written by Adrian Beecher
Jameis Winston set a Advocare Cowboy's Classic record with 379 passing yards as the Florida State Seminoles defeated Oklahoma State 37-31 at AT&T Stadium on Saturday in front of a crowd of 61,521.
FSU wide receiver Rashad Greene lead the charge for the Noles with 11 receptions for 203 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn't all fireworks and smile's for a Seminole team that averaged 51.6 points a game in the 2013 season.
After scoring twice in a matter of 15 seconds, first on a 36 yard field goal by Roberto Aguayo and next on a pick 6 by defensive end Nate Andrews, Florida State was out to a 10-0 lead just 7:23 into the 1st quarter It looked like the Cowboys of Oklahoma State were in for a long night.
As the second quarter started FSU was in prime position to take a commanding lead, up 10-0 on the Cowboys and the ball inside the redzone on the OSU 13-yard line a ‘Noles score looked imminent, but on 3rd and 10, Jameis Winston threw a pass that was tipped and intercepted at the 6-yard line by Cowboys linebacker Seth Jacobs.
"They (were) in a two-tempo max. Linebacker was there at the scene. Just made a great play." said Winston of the interception.
Fortunately for FSU, Oklahoma State was unable to capitalize on the mistake. After picking up a first down the Cowboys drive stalled and they were forced to punt for a third time.
Winston then took his ‘Noles 94 yards down the field in 2:55 in eight plays, capping off the drive with a 11-yard touchdown run by Mario Pender. This gave Florida State a commanding 17-0 lead with 8:19 left to play in the half.
J.W. Walsh, OSU's QB, answered right back, leading his troops on an 11 play 75 yard scoring drive. Running back Desmond Roland finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run, putting the Cowboys back in the game and bringing the score to 17-7.
After consecutive punts by both teams on their next possessions, Florida State took over with just 1:40 left in the half. After picking up a quick first down, the troubles started again for Winston as he threw his second pick of the night, this time OSU cornerback Ashton Lampkin was there for the honors.
The Cowboys took over with only 29 seconds left and the ball at the ‘Noles 49-yard line. After Walsh connected with WR Jahjuan Seals for a1st and 10 at the Noles 35, FSU player emotions got the best of them as a 15 yard personal foul on the Seminoles set up a 37-yard field goal try for OSU. Place kicker Ben Grogan put the ball right through the uprights as time expired to end the half with Florida State up 17-10.
Though it was only a 1 score game at the half, the stats showed otherwise. Florida State had 232 yards of total offense while the Cowboys were held to just 129. And the passing game was well in FSU's favor as Winston had 205 yards passing compared to Walsh's 62 yards passing.
As the second half got under way Winston led the ‘Noles into the redzone on their opening drive. But after setting them up with a 1st and goal at the OSU 10, the Seminoles were unableto punch it into the endzone. They had to settle for a 27-yard Aguayo field goal that put the Noles up 20-10.
Walsh and the Cowboys answered right back with a vengeance. On a 2nd and 8 at their own 45 yard line, Walsh found wideout David Glidden who took the reception 55 yards into the end zone for the score bring OSU within 3 points of FSU with 9 minutes left in the 3rd.
Near the end of the 3rd qt Winston got his magic back. On 1st and 10 at the OSU 28 Winston took the snap, tucked the ball and took off down the field to the left side. He leaped over one of his blockers and split two defenders as he dove into the endzone for a 28 yard TD score, thus giving the Noles a 27-17 lead with 5:22 left in the 3rd.
As the 4th quarter got underway Walsh showed that he has some wheels of his own. On 3rd and 8 at the 24, Walsh took off and the FSU coverage broke down. He split two defenders and dove into the center of the end zone yet again bring the Cowboys within 3. With 11:51 left in the fourth, the ‘Noles had a 27-24 lead over OSU.
After a Noles field goal put them up 30-24, Walsh and the Cowboys took possession of the ball with a chance to take the lead for the first time of the night. On 2nd and 5 at their own 49-yard line Walsh took of running down field, but as he dove over a defender he reached his hands out to brace for impact and just dropped the ball in the process fumbling it. The fumble was recovered by the Noles P.J. Williams with just 4:41 left in regulation.
With a chance to increase their lead and take a commanding two score, lead reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston wasted no time. On the second play of the drive on a 2nd and 8 at midfield, Winston found receiver Rashad Greene over the middle. As Green broke away from defenders he sprinted all the way down field into the endzone for a 50-yard touchdown reception. This put the Noles up 37-24 with just 3:58 left in the game.
Coach Fisher spoke of Rashad post game, "I mean, just being where he was supposed to be when he was supposed to be there, Rashad is, like I said, he's -- he's that rock. He always has been."
Trailing 13 with just 3:38 left in the game, it was do or die time for the Cowboys. After a 46-yard return on the ensuing kickoff, OSU was set up with a 1st and 10 on the FSU 39 yard line. Walsh looked to redeem himself as he took his team to the endzone for a score in 7 plays, capping off the drive with a 3 yard TD run. This made it 37-31 with just 1:53 left in the game.
The only thing that would help the Cowboys now would be an onside kick recovery.
Unfortunately for the OSU faithful, the kick was recovered by Florida State. Winston would take over the game and used his clock management skills to run out the game clock after converting two 1st downs. As the final whistle sounded the Noles were victorious, defeating the Cowboys 37-31.
After the game Winston spoke about his teams performance and the need for improvement.
"We got to get more hungry, you know? There is no reason to get upset I feel like we needed a great game. And Oklahoma State was outstanding out there." he said.
Winston finished the game 25 of 40 passing for 370 yards 1 touchdown passing and rushing, and threw 2 interceptions.
When Coach Fisher was asked about the pressure on the team of defending a National Championship he replied, "We are aren't defending one, we are chasing one."
Only time will tell if the Noles are able to chase down a second consecutive National Championship. Until then it's on to the next game where the ‘Noles will face the Citadel in Tallahassee at Doak Campbell stadium on Saturday, Sept. 6th.
It will be their first time playing in front of their home crowd since winning last year’s BCS Championship game.