Date: September 28th, 2013
Location: Alumni Stadium, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts
Opponent: Boston College
When the Florida State Seminoles squared off for their 4th game of the 2013 season, they were headed towards greatness, but hadn’t truly arrived yet. Some may not recall that the eventual national champions made a methodical ascension to #1 in the football landscape.
On a chilly September day against Boston College, the untested Seminoles took someone’s best punch and stayed in the fight. The memorable 55-yard connection from Jameis Winston to Kenny Shaw ended the 1st half…and began the rest of their journey.
FSU traveled to Chestnut Hill as the #8 ranked team, creeping up from preseason #11 after a magical Baby Jameis Winston debut in Pittsburgh, followed by a couple laughers in Tallahassee. Was this going to be another step forward for Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles? Things didn’t seem that way early against Steve Adazzio’s fast & physical Boston College defense. In typical fashion, the Eagles filled their gaps and swarmed to the football, meeting FSU ball carriers with authority the entire game. And BC’s offense gashed the Nole defense on the ground and through the air, jumping out to an early 17-3 lead early in the 2nd quarter. And in the pre-2014 era of Florida State football, trailing by 14 on the road actually meant something.
For the first time(and only time until Pasadena on his 20th birthday ), Winston had to dig deep and flash his Heisman poise. He connected on a 56-yard strike to Rashad Greene and a 10-yarder to Chad Abram, quickly pulling the Seminoles back even with the hungry Eagles. Heading into the locker room tied 17-17 would have been a minor victory, but the 2013 FSU squad wasn’t interested in anything minor.
Boston College received a Robert Aguayo touchback with 1:49 left on the 2nd quarter, looking to stop the bleeding. Coach Jimbo Fisher called 2 timeouts during BC’s subsequent 3-and-out, then ran Devonta Freeman for 14 yards to FSU’s own 45-yard line with only 5 ticks left. Winston rushed to the line, barely hiking the ball before the clock struck zero. Bad news for Eagles fans. The FSU QB nimbly eluded 2 sure sacks, scrambled right, briefly pointed downfield, then hurled a deep bomb toward his trusty senior receiver Kenny Shaw streaking towards the front corner pylon. Shaw out-muscled BC’s defensive back Spenser Rositano for the football and landed in the end zone.
In shocking fashion, the Seminoles now lead 24-17 heading into halftime. To this author’s knowledge, this was the only touchdown pass to end a half with double zero’s in FSU modern history(please comment below if you know otherwise).
The 55-yard strike to Shaw proved valuable, as BC’s Chase Rettig tossed 4 TD passes on the afternoon, and the Eagles rolled to nearly 400 yards of offense and 34 points. FSU persevered to hang on 48-34, as Winston went for 330 & 4 TD’s while Shaw finished with 93 yards and the huge score.
The game later proved as a pivotal point in FSU’s bookend BCS championship season. Not only was this their main regular season test, but a few defensive lineup changes(some not by choice) helped spur Jeremy Pruitt’s squad towards future dominance. Jalen Ramsey started his first game at safety, and the defensive line rotation was rearranged for good when October rolled around.
Sometimes the best defense is a good offense. Winston & Shaw helped their struggling teammates survive while the defense was still a little too…raw.