After Jameis Winston's rushing touchdown to put the Seminoles up 21-10 over Pitt in the second quarter, ESPN analyst Jessie Palmer discussed how disappointed he was in Jameis Winston when he went to watch a closed practice. He noted how the red-shirt freshman quarterback threw interceptions, forced the football, and missed his reads. He was trying to do too much.
It was play like that at times during fall camp, combined with much better play from a very talented QB in Jacob Coker, that gave Jimbo Fisher real pause about the quarterback decision.
But Winston's amazing spring, incredible natural talent, and leadership won out, despite being outplayed in spring. Jimbo Fisher was baptized in the blood of Jameis during the spring.
Keeping the faith paid off. Did it ever.
Winston's first half was indescribably good. But, it is my job, so I'll try. He was 17/18 for 240 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Oh, and he also added a rushing touchdown. His only incompletion, was actually not incomplete, but was not reviewed.
It didn't matter. On his next play, he converted third-and-17.
Through 20 throws in the second half, Winston had not thrown a true incompletion.
The late Larry Munson, legendary broadcaster of Georgia, once said "My God, a freshman," in describing Herschel Walker.
If he could call FSU's game, we would have heard it again Monday night.
Winston ran the offense calmly, with the poise not seen in several years in Tallahassee.
A stage too big? Not a chance. Winston seemed to be the calmest person on the field. He was in complete control.
Whatever element of emotion, or juice, or adrenaline, or whatever, that was missing in fall practice, was clearly there Monday night.
On the first play from scrimmage, Winston called for the shift, and Florida State's 11 personnel morphed into an empty backfield. Winston took the snap, scanned the receivers he had not yet eliminated with his pre-snap read, and delivered a strike for 13 yards.
Realizing it had Pitt in a defensive set it could exploit, FSU didn't huddle. Winston delivered another strike, this time for 20.
Strike, strike, strike.
Pitt, you're out.
Nobody thought it was possible for Winston to live up to the hype. The throw of the football over the Pike house. Gunning down two runners from the outfield. Hitting 97 MPH on Miami's baseball radar gun. The virtuoso performance in the spring game.
Amazingly, in Game 1, he exceeded it.
Winston trended worldwide on twitter. NBA Superstar Kevin Durant had seen enough after one half.
This guy Jameis Winston made me a believer after 1 half of football— Kevin Durant (@KDTrey5) September 3, 2013
But Winston was not done. In the second half, he was 8/9, for 116 yards and another touchdown.
His final numbers? 25/27, 356 yards, 4 TDs, 5 rushes, 28 yards, TD. No fumbles. No picks.
My God, a freshman.