Well, that escalated quickly.
No. 8 Florida Stated dominated No. 25 Maryland on Saturday, making everybody who was crying potential upset look a bit foolish. Jameis Winston once again made those watching the game doubt that he is actually human, but instead a cybertronic, athletic machine, sent to earth simply to score touchdowns, throw baseballs and consume cheeseballs.
Winston ended the day 23-of-32 with 393 yards, 12.3 yards per pass and five touchdowns, inserting himself into the Heisman conversation once again by making insane plays like the one above.
“I’m very proud of our team," said head coach Jimbo Fisher. "I thought we competed in the game extremely well in all three phases, and that was a challenge to clean up the special team woes."
The defense, after its much-maligned performance last week against Boston College, shut out a Maryland team that was outscoring opponents 159-41. To their credit, starting quarterback C.J. Brown was knocked out of the game in the first half with a concussion, but they still managed to hold heralded wide receiver Stefon Diggs to only two catches for 24 yards.
“Yes, I mean, you always want to play with a chip on your shoulder regardless of what everyone else is saying, but the biggest thing was the way that we prepared a lot this week to get ready," said defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan. "We just came in with a lot of confidence and we prepared the right way.
“We really weren’t thinking about last week. Last week was last week. We were mainly just focused on coming out here this week and everybody doing their part and just trying not to be superman.”
So now, finally, the game with Clemson is only two weeks away. With the way both teams are playing, the winner of that game will have a direct shot at the ACC Championship as well as a stake in claiming a berth in the final BCS National Championship Game. Both teams will be in the Top 10, and both teams will be bringing in talent that is unmatched by a good majority of teams in the country.
Will FSU be ready?
I say yes. Finally, this team played to the best of its ability, scoring points on top of points and shutting out a team that has a very dangerous offense when it finds its groove. Clemson, of course, is a better team and has already passed a tough test against Georgia this season, but the Tigers have to be way more nervous to take on the Seminoles after seeing their performance Saturday.
“I’m going to enjoy this day right here because it felt like a Little League football game out there—12 o’clock, the sun was out; I don’t think I saw a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful day, so I’m going to enjoy this day," said Winston. "I’m really looking forward to playing Clemson. They have a great team and we’re going to Death Valley. It’s a great environment. It should be fun.”
Fun it shall be, with these teams always having fantastic games between them. Last year, when the stakes were a bit smaller, they played a classic, with EJ Manuel getting Heisman hype simply from his performance.
If Jameis and company can play like they did Saturday, then there might be a new leader in the Heisman race and a new sleeper pick for the national championship.
We know that the Seminoles are capable of it.
The question is, can they live up to their potential?
All quotes and paraphrases were obtained either firsthand or via phone unless otherwise noted.