Florida State vs. Oklahoma State Football: Winners, Losers from Seminoles' Win
The Oklahoma State Cowboys came into Saturday's contest against the Florida State Seminoles as heavy underdogs. That made sense considering the Cowboys were replacing more talent than just about any other team in the nation and had to face last season's national champions in their opening game.
Many thought this would be an easy win for Florida State and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston. However, Oklahoma State quickly proved that, even in a rebuilding year, it's a team no one should overlook.
True, the Cowboys couldn't pull off the upset, losing 37-31, but they showed just enough to put a little fear into the defending titleholders. The Seminoles, on the other hand, found quite a few things they'll need to work on. At the end of the day, a win's a win, and FSU only needs 14 more to get that second consecutive national title it desperately wants.
Winner: Oklahoma State's Young Defense
Before the game started, the conventional wisdom was that if Oklahoma State had a chance against Florida State, it would be the Cowboys' high-powered offense that would keep the team in it.
Well that conventional wisdom couldn't have been more wrong.
The Cowboys' young defense played out of their minds Saturday night in Jerry World, confusing the top-ranked Seminoles just enough to give the 'Pokes a chance.
They picked Winston off twice, had five tackles for loss (including two sacks), and held one of 2013's most efficient offenses to a 28.5 percent third down conversion rate.
They had their lapses, but the Cowboys' defense made the difference. Particularly their defensive linemen, who consistently won the battle up front, making Winston uneasy in the pocket and stopping the Seminole running game from ever getting started.
If the defense plays this well for the rest of the year, Oklahoma State is going to be very, very tough to beat.
Loser: Ashton Lampkin
It's hard to fault Ashton Lampkin for his performance against Florida State. After all, it was apparent that defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer told his cornerbacks to play the 'Noles receivers tight and aggressive, and Lampkin's coverage did lead to a big interception in the first half.
Unfortunately, that style of play also led to three defensive holding calls, all of which came in key moments for the Cowboys. Lampkin's hold during the third quarter was likely the most devastating. Had he made that play clean, the Pokes would've forced a huge three-and-out, with the team down by only three points.
Instead, Jameis Winston took advantage and tore off his now-famous 28-yard touchdown romp to put Florida State back up by 10.
Lampkin's a young cornerback with the tools to become a stud, but he's still learning. Oklahoma State fans have to hope that he learns quickly and cleans up his mistakes before Big 12 play begins.
Winner: Rashad Greene
No Kelvin Benjamin, no Kenny Shaw, no problem?
Rashad Greene was an absolute monster for Florida State on Saturday, reeling in 11 catches for 203 yards, including the 50-yard touchdown that put the Seminoles out of reach for good.
Florida State fans likely hope that Winston spreads the ball around a bit more next week to keep teams from keying on Greene. However, Greene proved that the Seminoles aren't going to have too many problems throwing the ball in 2014.
Loser: Kaleb Smith
Overall, the Oklahoma State special teams played a very up-and-down game against Florida State.
There was a missed field goal and a costly botched kickoff that led to a Florida State touchdown. But there were also some quality punts from Kip Smith and numerous long returns from Tyreek Hill.
However, the one thing people are going to be talking about will be Kaleb Smith's two terrible long snaps. Both gave Florida State excellent field position and led to points for the Seminoles.
Obviously, the 'Pokes had too many mistakes and miscues to blame the loss on a single player, but Smith must improve over the next few weeks.
Winner: Tyreek Hill
The hype is real, people.
Tyreek Hill showed off the track-star speed that helped him win the 200-meter dash this spring at the Big 12 Indoor Championships while rumbling to 278 total yards in his first Division I football game.
"The Freek" was all over the field Saturday night, displaying the kind of versatility that made guys like Tavon Austin and Josh Stewart Big 12 stars.
Florida State had no answer for Hill's speed, vision and elusiveness, and it's hard to see anyone ever stopping him this year. Hill might have just become Oklahoma State's best offensive player, and the rest of the Big 12 better take notice. This kid is special.
Loser: Jameis Winston
If any other player had thrown for 370 yards, scored twice and led his team to victory with a gritty fourth-quarter performance, they'd be considered a winner. However, Jameis Winston isn't any other player.
All things considered, Winston had a solid game and should hold his head high after Florida State's win. With that said, it took Winston four games in 2013 before he threw his first two interceptions. He had two last night. Further, Winston played four games before he threw his 15th incompletion last season. He had 15 last night.
Winston wasn't bad in his opening game. He just wasn't Heisman trophy good. Winston has higher expectations than anyone else in the nation and he simply didn't live up to them against the Cowboys.
He'll bounce back.
Florida State gets a win. More importantly, they got tested early, giving the coaches a chance to show their players that they can't just rest on their accomplishments from 2013.
Oklahoma State's young squad shows they won't lay down for anybody and gives the players and fan base confidence that they can compete in the Big 12 this year.
Fans across the nation were treated to one of the most exciting games of college football's opening weekend.
Just like on Oprah, everybody wins something!
If this game doesn't have you excited for the 2014 season, nothing will. Is it Saturday yet?
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