GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Kelvin Benjamin went from the target of annoyance to the star of the game Saturday, all in a matter of a quarter.
The redshirt sophomore dropped two potential touchdowns in the first quarter, and questions arose about his play. In years prior, this was what was expected of him, but this year, he was putting it all together. Some wondered aloud if he was regressing; some pondered if maybe he was intimidated by the craziness that is The Swamp.
And then this happened.
With Florida State only beating the Gators 3-0 in the second, it needed a boost, and that came directly from Benjamin's superhuman touchdown, which capped off a 90-yard drive by the 'Noles.
"It just kind of loosened it up," Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher said of Benjamin's reception. "You know what I mean, you were kind of tight, you just couldn't get going, and offensively, that's why I say all the time offense is about rhythm. I don't care what sport it is, baseball, basketball, anything. It's about rhythm and you're getting a flow for things and we just couldn't get that rhythm, you couldn't get in that flow.
"Offense is about rhythm and timing. And once we got that, we kind of just loosened up and things started to flow."
Jameis Winston, who threw three touchdowns to Benjamin Saturday, assured Benjamin of his skill at a players-only meeting earlier in the week.
Kelvin Benjamin has the first 200-yard receiving game for Florida State since Craphonso Thorpe had 217 against Notre Dame in 2003. #FSUvsUF— College GameDay (@CollegeGameDay) November 30, 2013
"I told him, 'You are an unstoppable force,' " Winston said. "'If you go out and do what you have to do, you will be unstoppable and no one will be able to cover you.'"
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Benjamin is aware of the progress he has made this year.
"I think just doing the little things to be a great receiver, basically," he said of what he has done to improve. "Get in there, and watch the film real early, just studying your opponent. I kind of felt like I knew the team, like I played with them all my life."
With the development of Benjamin, Florida State has added another 800-yard receiver to its roster this season, with the 6'5" star joining Kenny Shaw and Rashad Greene in reaching that total.
And with the upset of Alabama, the No. 1-to-be Seminoles will look to continue using him as a weapon.