Sunday, November 24, 2013
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Life off the field may be complicated for Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston and the second-ranked Seminoles, but things are simple between the lines.
Winston threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns as Florida State broke a school record for points in a game in an 80-14 victory against Idaho Saturday.
An ongoing sexual assault investigation of the Heisman Trophy candidate continues to cast a shadow over the program while the team focuses on football. State attorney Willie Meggs told The Associated Press on Saturday it is unlikely that a final decision will be made before Thanksgiving on whether to charge the quarterback.
Patricia Carroll, the lawyer of the accuser, claims Winston raped the victim on Dec. 7, 2012. Winston's lawyer Tim Jansen said the sex between the two was consensual.
"The football field is a sanctuary to me," Winston said. "And it's like that for all of our teammates. When all of us are on the field everything is just zoned out. We focus."
Florida State (11-0), second in the BCS standings, is two wins away from a likely berth in the BCS championship game with the regular-season finale at Florida next week. This is the first 11-0 start for the program since the 1999 national championship season and the first time going undefeated at home since 2000.
The Gators (4-7) lost 26-20 to Georgia Southern on Saturday and will be heavy underdogs next week. Florida State should go into the Atlantic Coast Conference championship without a loss and be favored again. A trip to Pasadena for the title game is nearly within its grasp.
Winston, a Heisman Trophy front-runner, played just one series in the second half.
"It's not right for the game," Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said when asked about getting Winston better stats with more playing time. "People know he played well. ... He played exceptionally well and he's on a great team.
"To me, stats aren't the key for awards. It's how well you play, how you dominate your opponent and what you do. That's my opinion. People who look at numbers don't really know the player."
The Seminoles have dominated throughout the season, but 66 points was the largest margin of victory since a 69-3 win against Murray State in the 2012 season opener. They topped the 77 points the Seminoles scored in 1995 against North Carolina State in 1995 to remain unbeaten.
The 607 points scored by Florida State in 2013 broke the ACC single-season record set by the Seminoles last season. The 11 consecutive games of 40 points or more ties Texas' 2005 single-season FBS record.
Fisher, who criticized his team's focus early, admitted he was being picky, "but that's the elite standard we want to be held to."
Devonta Freeman opened up the scoring with a 60-yard run on their seventh offensive snap of the game. That was the beginning of the punishing day for a run game that posted 336 yards rushing. He had 129 yards on 11 carries as the entire backfield got loose. Freeman is now the 14th player in school history to rush for 2,000.
James Wilder Jr. carried an entire possession on his back in the second quarter. He capped a five-play, 85-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown with 5:54 left in the second quarter. Wilder carried the ball on four of those five plays and accounted for every yard. Karlos Williams added 114 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries.
Kenny Shaw recorded his first 100-yard game of the season in the last home game of his career. He finished with 107 yards and two touchdowns on five receptions. Kelvin Benjamin hauled in two touchdowns on his three receptions and now has a touchdown in six of his last seven games.
"I don't think our high school basketball team scored 80 points," Shaw said.
The Vandals (1-10) were never competitive and that began at the line of scrimmage. They had no answer for nose guard Timmy Jernigan and couldn't create running lanes or protect the quarterback. Jernigan had a team-high 6 tackles, including 4 1/2 for loss and a career-high 2 1/2 sacks.
"You know, what do you say when you get beat 80-14?" Idaho coach Paul Petrino said. "I wouldn't say anyone on that team didn't play well."
Taylor Davis threw for 220 yards and a touchdown, but three interceptions turned into 14 points for Florida State. Linebacker Telvin Smith returned one of the interceptions 79 yards for a score in the second quarter. The Seminoles have now scored a non-offensive touchdown in three consecutive games.
Idaho managed just 59 rushing yards and threw four interceptions. Dezmon Epps finished with 126 yards on seven receptions.
"We've just got a real good vibe about us," Jernigan said. "We just look to dominate week in and week out."