Jameis Winston was dead in the water. Three Boston College defenders were closing in fast, the final seconds were ticking off the first-half clock and everyone was covered downfield. The play was destined for failure.
Until it wasn't.
Winston shrugged off one tackler, then another, rolled right and heaved just as the third made contact. The pass was 55-yard touchdown bomb placed on the numbers to a tightly-covered Kenny Shaw. The play gave Florida State the lead and the momentum heading into halftime, galvanized a stagnant FSU offense and, most of all, added one more chapter to Winston's legendary status. And, keeping with the narrative, Winston customarily deflected credit after the game.
"When you have those types of playmakers and that offensive line - I actually held the ball too long that's why they almost sacked me," Winston said.
Jimbo Fisher said the play wasn't a true hail mary, it did include a double move from Shaw to try and freeze the safety. Boston College brought pressure- as it did on almost every passing down all night - and Shaw found himself in single coverage, 50 yards down the field. There was never any doubt in Shaw's mind that Winston could - and would make the throw.
"He can throw on his knees probably and get it to the end zone," Shaw said. "Jameis made a great play eluding the defender and making the throw and I didn't stop on the play made a great catch. The throw couldn't have been more on the money."
The play was the second consecutive circus touchdown for Winston, who found Kelvin Benjamin in the end zone while falling down against Bethune Cookman in the previous week. Players say those types of plays are routine in practice.
"He gave Kenny a chance," Rashad Greene said. "And that's all we ask, just give us a chance."
Winston's big play wasn't solely for the sake of a highlight reel - it also culminated a 21-point onslaught from Florida State to close the second quarter. FSU trailed 17-3 early in the period but came roaring back. In back-to-back scoring drives to close the half, Winston was perfect passing. 4-4 and added 27 rushing yards to move FSU into scoring position on one drive. Winston actually led FSU in rushing yardage with 14 carries for 67 yards, and during the second and third quarter, FSU scored on six consecutive drives.
Jimbo Fisher and Winston both said he made a number of mistakes early in the game, pushing for too many big plays or getting caught up in the momentum. But with regards to Winston's big-time throw, Fisher could only smile.
"Let's say this now: I'm glad he's on my team," Jimbo Fisher said. "He's a great competitor and a fun guy to coach."
Greene's streak continues
Rashad Greene has made a career at FSU of being the most reliable guy on the field. He's showing that again this season by finding the end zone with regularity.
With two scores on Saturday, Greene extended his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown pass to five. It's the second time he's had such a streak. Green tallied two scores on four catches and 90 receiving yards.
"Consistent doesn't mean that I have to have a touchdown every game," Greene said. "Consistency is just being able to play up to my level and our level. When I say consistent it's; not making little mistakes and improving every week. Once you put the team first the rest of that will come along with it."
That said, Greene doesn't mind one bit that he's been able to get into the end zone frequently this season - nor that Winston likes to look his way in the red zone.
"It definitely doesn't suck to catch a touchdown," Greene said. "I was able to help my team win. It was definitely a dog fight."
Greene's reliability was put to the test on Saturday as Winston found himself under constant pressure from Boston College blitzes. Greene said that was anticipated.
"We knew he was going to receive a lot of pressure," Greene said. "We knew they were blitzing a lot being a young quarterback on the road. But we have all the trust in the world in Jameis."
Florida State's defense didn't have a banner night Saturday, but in terms of generating turnovers and big plays, the Seminoles remained as good as advertised.
Twice, Florida State picked off Boston College quarterback Chase Rettig . First, P.J. Williams' interception provided FSU with a critical late-game touchdown. Then Nate Andrews' pick sealed the win.
Williams' pick-6 made it two weeks straight with a defensive touchdown for FSU. The last time Florida State had consecutive defensive scores was in 2009, when the Seminoles scored three straight weeks with defense.
"It came to me, so I had to take it back," Williams said. "I didn't even really know what to do with it when I got it."
That's the design for Florida State's aggressive defensive scheme: create turnovers and create havoc. So far, FSU has six interceptions this season. The team only had 11 all of last year. FSU just hopes those turnovers can start coming in the first quarter rather than the fourth.
"Those guys stepping up it shows that we can make those plays," Telvin Smith said. "We've just got to do it sooner than later."
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