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September 03, 2013

Going Polling: FSU Moves Up to 10th in AP, Coaches Polls


Florida State is now in the top ten in both of the national polls of record. After beating Pittsburgh 41-13 on Monday night and getting a little bit of help from Clemson knocking off UGA ahead of them, the Seminoles moved up in the AP and Coaches Polls and are now sitting at 10 in both.

In the Coaches poll FSU jumped up two spots, leaping Georgia and Notre Dame. 

The top five of that poll has Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon, Stanford and now Clemson. Florida is ninth. Miami debuts at 25.

In the AP poll FSU is up one spot from 11th, leaping UGA. The AP top five features Alabama, Oregon, Ohio State, Clemson and then Stanford. Florida is two spots below the Seminoles at 12th. The Hurricanes are the first team out, sitting 26th.

Florida State is off next weekend before hosting Nevada in their home opener on September 14.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

Thoughts From the Morning After: FSU 41 Pitt 13


Florida State's defense arrived in Pittsburgh somewhere around the end of the Panthers' second offensive possession on Monday night. After stuffing Pitt's first two snaps, the Panthers were able to convert on third and long and then finished their drive several plays later in the end zone (9 plays, 80 yards, TD).

“I thought we competed well in the game, I thought we responded well," head coach Jimbo Fisher said afterwards. "We knew that Pitt would come out very emotional, they have a good ballclub, Paul is a heck of a football coach. They hit us right in the mouth right off the bat, I’m very proud of the way the guys responded back.”

After Jameis Winston and the offense flipped field position, the defense came back and collected their first turnover of the season when Jalen Ramsey reeled in his first career interception on a first-and-10 pass from the Panthers' own 38. 

Ramsey, a true freshman making his first career start, has been impressive since the day he got to Tallahassee. Originally a USC verbal, Ramsey flipped late in the recruiting period and hasn't looked back. From the outset of FSU's camp he has been working with the first unit and on Monday night he repaid the coaches' confidence in him in a big way. 

After Ramsey's pick the Florida State defense seemed to get its legs under it, giving up just 96 rushing yards the rest of the way and limiting Pitt QB Tom Savage to 15 of 28 passing, sacking him three times and picking him twice. 

“The defense finally got its feet on the ground, but it’s the first game," said Fisher. "We’ve still got a lot to improve on.”

Fisher did say after the game that he counted three different instances where the Seminole defense lost the edge, something he admits must improve. But with four games between now and FSU's trip to Clemson, Fisher and company should have time to work on it.

Fisher Unsatisified

As football coaches are wont to do, Jimbo Fisher wasn't content to just smile at Monday night's 41-13 win, he already had plenty of adjustments to make by the time he met with reporters for his postgame press conference. Chief among them: redzone improvements. Despite scoring on seven straight drives at one point, Fisher was not satisfied with his redzone offense.

“I was very happy with the redzone until we had to kick those field goals at the end," he said. "We should have got those in.”

Aguayo Solid

Long gone is Dustin Hopkins, Florida State's all-time points leader, but redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo didn't miss a step in his first game replacing Hopkins either. Aguayo went 2-for-2 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points. 

More Ways that Winston Impressed

Jameis Winston finished Monday night with the highest single-game completion percentage in FSU school history (.926) and the Seminole offense averaged 9.04 yards per play with him under center.

Odds and Ends:

##- No Tight End has caught two TD's in a game since 1994, Nick O'Leary caught three last night. He had two TD's within the first 20 minutes.

##- Rashad Greene topped his 2012 single-game receiving best with 8 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Shaw finished with four receptions for 94 yards and Kelvin Benjamin caught five balls for 74.

##- Last night's Defensive MVP was Lamarcus Joyner. The senior DB lead FSU with nine tackles, two sacks and a pass break-up.

Florida State is off next weekend before hosting Nevada in their home opener on September 14.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...

The Jameis Winston Era Is Here, Deal With It


"A prophecy has been fulfilled," Lamarcus Joyner said after Florida State's 41-13 win over Pittsburgh on Monday night.

Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher delayed it as much as he could.

He didn't name Jameis Winston his starter after he lit up the annual Garnet and Gold game. No, 12-for-15 for 2 TD's wasn't enough, Fisher wasn't ready to name a starter.

He didn't name a starter heading into August's preseason camp either, he let "competition" play out. And though there are at least 100 other schools that would start Jacob Coker from day one, all the redshirt sophomore really did was bought FSU's fourth year head coach time.

But the Jameis Winston era is here now. Already ESPN is building Winston into its news cycle. He's climbed on to several Heisman lists. Media requests will be up. National interest just spiked. Florida State is going to have to deal with it.

Since he was a young child Winston has seemed destined for greatness and it has always been on his own terms. Playing with the older kids in pee-wee football, brow-beating senior receivers as a freshman in high school, age means nothing to the Seminoles' redshirt freshman starting quarterback and he stated that aggressively on Monday night.

Try an experiment if you have some free time. Play 100 games of EA Sports' NCAA Football franchise at the easiest setting, I'll let you pick which year, and tell me how many times you go 25 for 27. Winston threw for 356 yards on Monday night, he had four touchdown passes - three to Nick O'Leary - and scored five times total. It was a videogame night. It was absurd, freshmen don't do that. Johnny Manziel missed seven passes in his debut, didn't even throw a touchdown.

Winston had the best debut in Florida State Seminole history on Monday night. And that's one storied history. 

The 6-4 227 QB and the Seminole offense suffered just one setback on Monday. Their initial drive stalled out on a Kelvin Benjamin sweep play that failed to convert a third and short near midfield.

They proceeded to score on the next seven consecutive drives.

EJ Manuel - chosen in the first round this past April by Buffalo - handled the Florida State offense the past couple of seasons with aplomb, but if you squinted hard enough on Monday night Winston's five looked a lot like Manuel's three. Better at times. The offense ran so smoothly that you could hardly tell there had been turnover. 

The offense ran well enough that one day Manuel's biggest legacy at the program could be as Winston's mentor.

Marvin Bracy, Greg Dent, Jarred Haggins, Willie Haulstead - on Monday night, who needed them? Rashad Greene topped his 2012 best with 126 receiving yards. Kelvin Benjamin looked explosive. Nick O'Leary matched his 2012 touchdown total.

FSU looked impressive on Monday night, and while it's early, and while it's important not to get too excited about Jameis Winston... it would be kind of hard to begrudge Seminole fans an extra fist pump or two.

Jameis Winston looked like the real deal on Monday night.

And FSU has plenty more of that to look forward to in the future.


For all the latest Florida State news and updates follow Patrik Nohe on Twitter...



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