Miami didn't want to let Jameis Winston beat them with the deep ball on Saturday night and they did a solid job of executing that gameplan. Winston was picked off twice early and the Hurricanes were able to convert the two turnovers into 14 first half points.
"[I told Jameis] just slow down and trust your eyes," said Jimbo Fisher after the game. "I keep saying, at quarterback, that’s going to happen. When you keep making decisions as a quarterback you can make one that’s wrong, but I was extremely proud of the way he dealt with that. He put it behind him and came right back the second half. That’s a sign that you’re going and you have to go through that – these rivalry games, emotional games, on the road at home, don’t forget he’s a freshman too.”
Added Winston: “I just made a promise to my team that there wouldn’t be any more turnovers. I just had to keep that chip back on my shoulder. I was free-lancing. I was calm, I was cool, but I was high on emotions. Sometimes when emotions get into it too much you’ve got to just settle down.”
Early on Miami was successful in dropping men into coverage and trying to trick Winston into throwing the ball vertically into their defense. Twice Winston was high on a pass and one of the UM safeties was in position to pick it off.
Miami wanted Winston to check them to death
So he did. He was 12/14 for 164 yards the rest of the way. He didn't throw another pick. Meanwhile Florida State's offensive line started to really get the best of Miami.
The Seminoles rushed for 192 yards on 4.4 yards per carry as they dominated the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 38:33 of gametime. Florida State took Miami's own gameplan -- to run the ball, control the clock and limit possessions -- and brutalized them with it.
“[This] means a lot to us. We practice real hard. We feel like we have one of the hardest practices in the nation and I feel like it’s just starting to pay off," said OT Bobby Hart afterward. "Everybody is starting to buy into what Jimbo is saying and doing exactly what he’s saying – the team rules and everything – and it’s paying off for us.”
The team rules -- the set of offensive parameters that govern the players' reads and where the ball goes -- dictated that Florida State run and take what was given to them underneath on Saturday. FSU did and they left with 517 yards, 41 points and a big win over the Hurricanes.
Anthony Chickillo and Bobby Hart really got things going early in the third quarter when the game started to get chippy. After the play the story really starts though. You want to know what kind of leader Jameis Winston is? Watch the aftermath of that play.
Hart is getting chewed out by Fisher -- Bobby would later tell us that Jimbo was more worried about him getting ejected -- when Jameis Winston walks over and dismisses his head coach. Fisher, in a huge testament to how he's evolving as a head coach, defers to his redshirt freshman quarterback who proceeds to look Hart directly in the eyes and calm him down.
Keep in mind that at this point Florida State is driving, but it's still 21-14 and Miami is really scratching and clawing for the upset. Emotionally, following a near-fight and off-setting personal fouls, things are about at a boiling part.
After calming Hart, the team huddles and Winston tells his teammates: “Guys, the party just started. They’re here to fight. They know that we are beating them and they’re going to try and do anything to throw us off our game."
Said Hart: “It lit a fire up under us and we were just on edge after that and went forward from there.”
James Wilder barreled into the endzone on the very next play and the Seminoles were up 35-14 within five minutes.
Miami was done.
The Seminoles defense was put at a disadvantage early on and Miami was able to capitalize on a couple of turnovers. But Stephen Morris had to be near perfect on one throw in the first quarter while Allen Hurns had to be part acrobat to haul in the second. Even when it didn't look good -- which was rare - this defense was in position and making it hard on the Hurricanes.
In the second half the Seminoles got even too, picking Morris off twice and holding the Hurricanes to just 105 total yards the rest of the way -- including just 40 in a decisive third quarter.
“They did a lot mixing it up on us, a lot of heavy set," said PJ Williams, who picked off Morris on the second possession of the third quarter. "We just went in at halftime, adjusted; he talked to us and told us ‘if they didn’t score anymore, we would win.’ So we came out real strong and was ready to lock them down and we shut them out in the second half.”
Added Lamarcus Joyner: “We had to eliminate the clutter and get to the basics and the fundamentals of what we can do to handle the business and win this football game. We had success with that mentality going back out in the second half.”
More Thoughts From the Morning After:
##- Terrance Smith had a team-leading 10 tackles and continues to prove that he has a bright future on this defense. When Florida State had to go up against power rushing attacks earlier in the season -- before the emergence of Smith -- they struggled. Not so on Saturday night, and Smith was a huge reason.
##- Terrence Brooks left the game with a concussion in the second half but still finished second on the team in tackles with six and a 13-yard sack.
##- Roberto Aguayo is still perfect and still scoring points at an absurd clip. He added 11 more on Saturday night and now has 89 points so far. He has hit the first 65 kicks of his career, that's an all-time record at FSU for anyone at any point. Not a bad note to start on, especially at a school with a kicking history like FSU. It's easy to laugh at that, around Miami the Seminoles are actually more famous for missing kicks, but between Graham Gano, Sebastian Janikowski and Dustin Hopkins there are three Seminole kickers in the NFL right now alone. Aguayo has a chance to finish ahead of all of them in the Florida State record books.
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