October 27, 2013
Review: Limited takeaways from NC State win
Reviewing games like a blowout win over NC State leaves us all looking for nuances; little details that may tell a bigger story down the line. But truth be told, Florida State took care of business Saturday. The 'Noles put the game away early, and while the finish wasn't as clean as the coaching staff wanted, the first 15 minutes validated all that has been accomplished so far in 2013. It also stamped out any ideations of a repeat to 2012's devastating loss.
So what, if anything, can be taken away from the win? Here are a few postulations.
Jameis doesn't do letdowns
The first takeaway from Saturday's drubbing is the quarterback. In weeks past, this report has been hesitant to shower all the praise on Jameis Winston because the defense has deserved recognition beyond merely a footnote. But after the 49-17 victory over NC State, it's plain to see that Winston is the type of player/leader that is impervious to a "letdown".
To further explain, that is not to say that Winston is immune to an off game. No quarterback is unflappable. But in terms of being underprepared, or indifferent, that's not who Winston is as a player. The receivers did not always help out the redshirt freshman, dropping a handful of passes including a key play that went as an interception after Kelvin Benjamin had the ball jarred from his chest to begin the second half. What looked to be six points and a smile-riddled clocking out for the first team ended quickly, summing up the first truly uneven day for the Seminole aerial weapons.
Back to Winston for a moment. All that needs to be written about him for this week is this: 11-for-14, 229 yards, three touchdowns. Those were the first quarter numbers as FSU built its 35-0 lead.
The Seminoles scored 19 more points than last year's team did all game against NC State.
In one quarter:
Winston threw for 11 more yards than EJ Manuel did all game in 2012.
As an offense, the Seminoles were 69 yards shy of last year's total offensive output in Raleigh.
For this week, enough said about the quarterback.
Defensive depth concerns?
Coach Jimbo Fisher did not mince words when describing the second-team defense's work in the final 30 minutes. What said it all was Fisher admitting a temptation to return the first-stringers when the Wolfpack hit the 17-point mark with 11:06 remaining. Building competent depth will be among the chief long-term projects for coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, and after Miami week, the Seminoles will likely have a few opportunities to do just that.
As for the first team, it was dominant again. NC State saw its offense held to 2.3 yards/play in the first half, with the Seminoles forcing two interceptions and a fumble while coming dangerously close to more big plays. Though he feared they'd have to re-enter the game in the fourth quarter, the first teamers certainly warranted the second-half rest ahead of an emotional week of preparation.
For the first time this season, the Seminoles failed to score on their final possession of the first half and in their first possession of the second half. The front end of that sequence, however, was completely due to the situation. Florida State took control of the ball on its own eight-yard line with 1:28 to go in the half. Up 42-0 at the time, there was no need to push things down the field.
The other side of the half saw the Winston-to-Benjamin interception play (a play which coach Fisher labeled a fumble). Whatever the final ruling, that turnover proved to end the situational streak for Florida State. With the score where it was, however, coach Fisher likely wasn't devastated.
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