Florida State Football: Seminoles' Top 5 Plays of 2013
It’s been an incredible 2013 season for the Florida State Seminoles.
The team has maneuvered through every obstacle in its way, posting a flawless 13-0 record. A date in the BCS Championship Game with Auburn on Monday awaits.
Before we close the book on 2013, though, why not take a look back at some of the memorable moments of Florida State’s season?
More specifically, let’s delve into some of the most spectacular plays that happened along the way.
Join B/R as we take a look at the top five plays of the Seminoles' 2013 campaign.
5. Levonte Whitfield Blows by Everyone for Kickoff Return TD
Game Result: W 59-3 at Wake Forest, Nov. 9
Why It’s Here
Poor Demon Deacons.
After falling behind 52-0, Wake Forest finally managed to get some points on the board via a field goal with a little fewer than 10 minutes remaining. Maybe the team could put together a defensive stop and get another score or two for a nice morale boost to take into next week.
Unfortunately, the Seminoles weren’t having it, as electric return man Levonte Whitfield put together one of the best plays of the season on the ensuing kickoff.
After receiving the ball at the 3, the freshman turned inside and found a hole up the middle. Whitfield juked one Demon Deacon defender before breaking the tackle of another.
If that wasn’t enough, Whitfield had to break through a facemask from Wake Forest’s kicker before returning the kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown.
The game may have been well out of hand at that point, but that doesn't change the fact that Whitfield made one heck of a play.
4. Chuck Norris Has Nothing on Jameis Winston
Game Result: W 54-6 vs. Bethune-Cookman, Sept. 21
Why It’s Here
After mind-boggling statistics through his first two collegiate starts, Jameis Winston cooled down against the Wildcats. The redshirt freshman threw for just 148 yards and two touchdowns on 10-of-19 passing.
Although it wasn’t a performance to remember, the same can’t be said about Winston’s first touchdown toss of the night.
On 3rd-and-10 from the Bethune-Cookman 11, Winston faced immediate pressure as he dropped back to pass. At first glance, it looked like he would be sacked at the 28 for a huge loss; however, Winston somehow broke out of the tackle and avoided a diving tackle from another defender.
Finally, as he was rolling left, Winston gathered up enough power and hurled an accurate strike to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin in the end zone as he fell down.
The play increased Florida State’s lead to 19-0 and drew comparisons to Chuck Norris from the announcers.
3. Jameis Winston and Nick O'Leary Combine for Houdini-Esque Connection
Game Result: W 63-0 vs. No. 25 Maryland, Oct. 5
Why It’s Here
There’s not a lot that’s better than one great play. That is unless you get two great plays for the price of one.
That’s exactly what the Seminoles got from quarterback Jameis Winston and tight end Nick O’Leary during their rout of the Terrapins.
Late in the third quarter, Florida State had the ball at the Maryland 11 on 2nd-and-long. As Winston dropped back to pass, the pocket collapsed around him, and a Terrapins defensive lineman was quickly on top of him.
Winston, however, somehow rolled out of danger and eluded the outstretched hands of several other Maryland defenders, then he fired a ball high into the corner of the end zone.
Equally as impressive as Winston’s escape, O’Leary leaped up high and pulled in the ball while getting blasted by a defender. Somehow he also managed to get one foot down to secure the touchdown.
The play displayed the athleticism of two of the Seminoles' top playmakers in 2013.
2. Kelvin Benjamin Goes Beastmode for TD
Game Result: W 37-7 at Florida, Nov. 30
Why It’s Here
Wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin has been giving opposing defensive backs fits all season. Sometimes it’ll take two or three defenders to slow him down.
On this play, however, the sophomore proved to be unstoppable against an entire secondary.
Midway through the second quarter, the Seminoles had surprisingly been unable to find the end zone against the reeling Gators. The score was just 3-0 with 4:36 remaining in the first half.
That’s when quarterback Jameis Winston hooked up with Benjamin for what appeared to be just a quick 15-yard completion.
Instead, Benjamin broke the first tackle, juked out of another and broke free down the field. Three other Florida defenders converged on down the field, but he managed to spin away from all of them and rumble into the end zone for a 45-yard, spirit-crushing touchdown.
That was just the tip of iceberg of Benjamin’s success against the vaunted Gators secondary. He finished the day with nine catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns.
1. Jameis Winston Delivers on Hail Mary
Game Result: W 48-34 at Boston College, Sept. 28
Why It’s Here
Surprisingly, the Seminoles trailed early in this game. In fact, the team was down 17-3 at one point in the second quarter; however, quarterback Jameis Winston answered with not one, not two, but three touchdown passes in the final 10 minutes of the half.
The third was a thing of beauty.
With just two seconds remaining in the half, Florida State had the ball at its 45. As Winston dropped back, the four-man rush of the Eagles broke through, and it looked like the half would end with a sack.
As he has done on a consistent basis in 2013, however, Winston broke free of the would-be tacklers, regained his footing and launched a ball deep toward the end zone. Somehow, the ball landed perfectly in the hands of wide receiver Kenny Shaw, who fell into the end zone for an improbable 55-yard touchdown to close the half.
It’s plays like this that helped Winston win the 2013 Heisman Trophy, but none stood out more than this particular strike.