It was a secret desire that everybody who has watched Florida State football this year has had.
Everybody was curious to see what would happen if FSU got smacked in the mouth, what would happen if Jameis Winston ever decided to look human for a second. Would they be able to bounce back from it? Would they slip-up just like the Seminole teams of the past?
Nobody knew, and then, everybody got their answer.
In the first half against Miami, Florida State looked as pedestrian as it had all season. It was getting carved up by the Miami running game, and it was Stephen Morris, not Jameis Winston, who looked like the star quarterback.
And the 'Noles were still winning at halftime 21-14.
“I made a promise to my team [at halftime],” Winston said. “I'm not turning the ball over anymore this game. I kept that promise. I felt that was the only reason that they scored.
“This is the first time I went to the defensive side [of the locker room]. I said, ‘If we don't turn the ball over and do anything wrong they can't stay on the field with us.”
After the break, the rest of the game was all about the Seminoles. They imposed their will on the overmatched Hurricanes, and reminded them that its Florida State, not Miami, that's back.
"It's a team that is understanding how to compete in big games and is learning to do it different ways," head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "We were very excited early and had to keep our emotions in check.
"The second half we came out and were very physical and were able to run the football and take control. The defense was dominant. I'm just proud of the way our guys competed."
The turning point of the whole game came in the third quarter, when defensive end Anthony Chickillo attempted to gouge the eyes of Florida State offensive lineman Bobby Hart. That's when the "brotherhood" between the two teams went away, and according to Winston, when the party started.
"I said, 'Guys, the party just started,'" Winston said of the moment. "Those guys were getting mad and we were winning, and that's what you expect in a rivalry game. They're not just going to give up and let us beat them. I told Bobby, 'Let's just beat them real bad for doing that to you.'"
And beat them real bad they did, as the Seminoles went on to score 20 unanswered as the entirety of Doak Campbell Stadium chanted "We want Bama." Some Seminoles shrugged off the question of if they want Alabama, but defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan answered it the best way, summing up the feelings of both fans and players.
"Yeah, we do [want to play Alabama]. We do," defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan said. "I feel like we can play with anybody in the country.
I feel like we're second to nobody."
All quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.
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