November 24, 2013

Insider Report: Timmy Jernigan feasts on Idaho, Winston keeps record-breaking season

Timmy Jernigan did more than just penetrate Idaho's offensive line on Saturday - he blew it apart.

FSU's dominant nose guard has drawn high praise from Jimbo Fisher all season for eating up blockers, despite not getting glamorous statistics. On Saturday, Jernigan finally took center stage.

Jernigan finished the game with six tackles and 4.5 of them came behind the line of scrimmage. Jernigan also registered his first multi-sack game.

""He was like Timmy - changing the line of scrimmage," Fisher said. "I saw a tackle he made by knocking guys into guys, his physicality. He is really becoming a technician there. When he does that with his athletic ability, he's hard to handle."

One of Jernigan's tackles actually came when he manhandled an Idaho offensive lineman into a running back - using another division-I football player as a glorified tackling bag. So far this season, Jernigan has 18 tackles, 10.5 of them for loss and 4.5 sacks. He said the dominance Saturday wasn't out of the ordinary.

"As a defense, I can just tell, we just got a real good vibe about us," Jernigan said. "We look forward to dominating week in and week out, so it's not a huge surprise."

Winston moves up the passing records

Jameis Winston's historic first season continued on Saturday. Winston, a potential Heisman candidate, threw for 225 yards and a whopping four touchdowns in just two quarters and one drive of work Saturday.

His four touchdowns give him 32 for the season, just one shy of the all-time FSU record, held by Chris Weinke at 33. It's a record that will likely belong to Winston after the season with three more games to play.

Winston also showed no ill effects of the ongoing investigation into a sexual assault case in which he's been named a suspect. No charges have been filed, but that hasn't stopped the entire sports media world from speculating as to Winston's status daily. State attorney William Meggs said on Friday that he likely won't decide whether to press charges in the case until after Thanksgiving, meaning Winston will play at least one more game with his long-term status still in limbo.

After Saturday's win, Winston said the football field was a sanctuary.

"It's like that for all of our teammates," Winston said. "I can feel it. When we're all of us out there on that field, everything is just zoned out, clear the mechanism , we're focused and we're out there to get a victory."

Some early sloppiness from FSU forced some long third-down conversions - which proved to still be a specialty of Winston. He converted five of six passes on third and five or longer, including three plays of third and 10 or longer.

"That's one of the things we did very well," Fisher said. "Getting back to that third down conversion rate was really critical."

So far this season, Winston has been a key factor in what will likely go down as the most explosive and prolific offense in FSU history. Florida State broke the ACC record for points in a season on Saturday, broke the school's all-time single-game scoring record by dropping 80 on Idaho, and has topped 60 points three times this year. FSU's current streak of 11 straight games with at least 40 points is also an FSU and ACC record and ties the NCAA record with Texas in 2005.

Even with that, Fisher continues to play Winston mostly in the first half.

Ball skills much?

One of Fisher's favorite catch phrases this season has been ball skills - at every position.

So far this season, that seems to be working out well. Saturday's game saw three more players on defense get their first catches of the season with interceptions; EJ Levenberry, Jacobbi McDaniel andKeelin Smith. With that, FSU currently has 16 different players on defense with at least one interception. For comparison, only 14 offensive players have a catch for the Seminoles.

Offensive players say it doesn't surprise them that the defense gets its hands on the football so often.

"No, I am not impressed by it," Kenny Shaw said. "They do it in practice week in and week out so it all starts with preparation. It's no surprise when it comes on Saturdays."

Not only that, but FSU's defense has scored eight touchdowns so far this season - which is also how many the Seminoles have scored in their past four seasons combined. And the defense provided the record-breaking exclamation point to Saturday's win with Levenberry's defensive touchdown late in the game.

"It seems like a lot of different guys get them," Fisher said. "That's crazy. It just shows you, recruit ball skills. Jeremy and those guys are doing a tremendous job."

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