Freshman quarterback Jameis Winston led the Florida State Seminoles (12-0, 8-0 ACC) to a 37-7 victory over the Florida Gators Saturday, cementing the team’s unblemished record for the 2013 regular season.
After yet another dominant performance, Winston has locked up the Heisman Trophy.
While his numbers weren’t as gaudy as they have been against lesser competition this season, Winston's 327 yards passing, three touchdowns and one interception indicate that he was still the driving force behind his team’s victory on Saturday.
Florida played admirably against its in-state rival, but the stellar Gators defensive unit was no match for Winston and the Seminoles offensive attack. Florida State’s defense allowed the home team to keep the score within striking distance, and that forced Jimbo Fisher and the coaching staff to put the ball in the freshman QB’s hands early and often.
Instead of finding his way to the bench in the fourth quarter, Winston was forced to pad his stats and secure his spot as the top candidate for the Heisman Trophy.
While off-the-field issues have dominated the headlines, Winston’s performance on the field in 2013 should be worthy of winning the Heisman Trophy.
He was facing tough competition in the Heisman race from the likes of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Oregon’s Marcus Mariota, but tough losses for each of those candidates’ respective teams have added up and discounted their credibility.
While a case could be made for Alabama’s AJ McCarron, Boston College’s Andre Williams or Northern Illinois’ Jordan Lynch, these players lack the complete resume of Winston as an individual and as a team player.
There should be little question that he was the best player in college football this season.
Not only were Winston's numbers more impressive—he put up 3,490 yards, 35 touchdowns and just eight interceptions while adding another 134 yards and three touchdowns rushing—but he also put those statistics up against the toughest competition in the country.
Add in his program’s undefeated record and potential BCS National Championship berth, and the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner should clearly be Winston.