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Jameis Winston's Updated 2013 Heisman Outlook After Win over Wake Forest

WINSTON SALEM, NC - NOVEMBER 09:  Jameis Winston #5 of the Florida State Seminoles celebrates after a touchdown by his team during their game against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at BB&T Field on November 9, 2013 in Winston Salem, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistNovember 9, 2013

Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston was witness to a spectacular performance by the Seminoles defense in a 59-3 rout of Wake Forest. Although it wasn't one of the star freshman's best games statistically, the win will keep him in the thick of the Heisman Trophy race.

Winston was removed from the game early in the third quarter with Florida State leading 49-0. Head coach Jimbo Fisher wasn't going to risk his biggest offensive asset in a game that was well in hand, and it's hard to argue his decision.

The dynamic quarterback finished the afternoon 17-of-28 for 159 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. The running game, led by James Wilder Jr., was moving the ball, which meant Winston didn't have to air it out quite as much.

When Florida State did throw, Winston was effective.

His first touchdown came on a nice throw to Kelvin Benjamin, who got inside the defender, and Winston delivered it where only his receiver could make the play.

The second came deep in the red zone as Winston showed great touch to lob the ball over the defense and into the waiting arms of Chad Abram, who crossed the goal line untouched. It was the kind of throw scouts at the next level want to see.

He did make one mistake early in the second half, though. He rolled out and tried to make a very difficult throw on the move and it got picked off. It was no big deal in a blowout, but those are the type of mistakes he can't afford in close games down the stretch.

All told, it certainly wasn't the type of game that's going to win over a lot of Heisman voters for Winston. But his team won, which factors into the decision at the end, and he did nothing to disqualify himself as a top contender.

PALO ALTO, CA - NOVEMBER 07:  Marcus Mariota #8 of the Oregon Ducks fumbles the ball when pressured by James Vaughters #9 of the Stanford Cardinal in the fourth period at Stanford Stadium on November 7, 2013 in Palo Alto, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

In fact, despite his mundane week, he should actually receive a pretty nice boost overall following the loss by Marcus Mariota and Oregon to Stanford. The Ducks quarterback was among the top contenders, but he'll take a hit coming out of Week 11.

It sets up a battle between Winston and reigning Heisman winner Johnny Manziel from Texas A&M. Both quarterbacks have played well, but the Florida State star should hold the inside edge right now because of his team's superior performance.

COLLEGE STATION, TX - SEPTEMBER 14:  Johnny Manziel #2 of Texas A&M Aggies drops back to pass in the third quarter during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Kyle Field on September 14, 2013 in College Station, Texas.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Ge
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch could be a sleeper depending on whether or not his team is able to bust the BCS.

Right now, however, Winston should view the race as his to lose the rest of the way. Given the supreme confidence he's played with all season, that added pressure likely won't phase him.

His next chance to shine comes when Florida State takes the field against Syracuse next week.

 

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