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FSU freshman QB Jameis Winston lights it up against Pitt

Florida State v Pittsburgh Getty Images

The hype started in spring and built up over the summer.

It grew in the preseason and reached a crescendo this past week.

Then Florida State and Pittsburgh kicked off on Monday night and Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston calmly walked out onto the field and lived up to the hype.

All of it.

The 6-foot-4, 225-pound redshirt freshman completed 25 of 27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns (with no interceptions) and added another 25 yards rushing (with a score) in FSU’s 41-13 win over the Panthers.

Winston made it look easy against the hapless Pitt defense, hitting open targets and setting the school single-game completion percentage record while running the Seminoles’ attack with the poise of a seasoned veteran. The excellence he displayed in his debut overwhelmed a good early showing by the Panther offense and spurred the Seminoles to their fourth-straight season-opening win. On this night, at least, the ‘Noles looked like a national title contender.

Before the hype gets too out of control, though, consider that Pitt is not really a good barometer for where FSU stands as a team. The Panthers just didn’t have the talent to contain the ‘Noles. But other teams coming up on the schedule will be more familiar with the tendencies of Jimbo Fisher’s offense and that is when Winston will truly be tested. Last year’s FSU team was loaded with talent, but it still found a way to lose to North Carolina State.

But forget about that for now. FSU fans have a valid reason to feel good after tonight. After all, they’ve got at least two full years to watch this elite talent lead their team. It should be a fun ride. The challenge for Fisher will be to manage the expectations and not put too much on his young freshman, especially when it comes to the playbook. The challenge for Winston is to stay resilient when the inevitable drop-off from tonight’s otherworldly production takes place.

Is Winston a legit Heisman candidate? I’d say that’s a bit premature. Yes, voters gave the Heisman to a freshman last season, but based on the perception of how that’s played out, they might think twice before doing it again.

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24 Responses to “FSU freshman QB Jameis Winston lights it up against Pitt”
  1. barbeaux says: Sep 2, 2013 11:31 PM

    did jm act differently after the heisman or did he not have as much media scrutiny until after the heisman?

  2. 93noles99 says: Sep 2, 2013 11:32 PM

    But didn’t Pitt have the #11 d last year and they all almost returned all thete guys this year??? No respect for famous Jameis!!

  3. realfootballfan says: Sep 2, 2013 11:35 PM

    Winston is a star, from the way he carries himself to how he relished the spotlight. For people saying it was just Pitt, their defense wasn’t necessarily some pushover last year and they returned alot of players. He overcame Jimbo’s stinky coaching to look great, which is a feat in itself.

  4. gopokes0714 says: Sep 2, 2013 11:49 PM

    I am not looking forward to playing this QB next year

  5. fruitcovejag says: Sep 3, 2013 12:05 AM

    Wow!

  6. ibreathefootball says: Sep 3, 2013 12:17 AM

    As a Gators fan, I am honestly….. JEALOUS!!!!!!!!!

  7. dongwarrior says: Sep 3, 2013 12:24 AM

    starting rookie qb for the cardinals or raiders in 2015..book that prediction.

  8. ningenito78 says: Sep 3, 2013 12:25 AM

    Wait until the media gets done with him next offseason.

  9. chachooga says: Sep 3, 2013 1:32 AM

    Forget first start….no other QB played better this weekend. Not one. He was almost perfect….how close was he to 27 for 27; 400 yds; 5 TDs…that was insane.

    Pitt is not Ohio or elon or Toledo or buffalo….come on!

    The expectations are high now and should be….and did you hear the kid talk? Famous Jameis don’t care.

    Go NOLES!

  10. swampcannons says: Sep 3, 2013 1:32 AM

    @realfootballfan:

    Totally agree with the coaching comment. Hopefully he doesn’t get bored with it and get lured into MLB as he’s a phenomenal athlete there too. As for the Manziel comparison from barbeaux, Winston’s poise and maturity as a freshman is impressive and blows johnny football out of the water.

  11. rollteal says: Sep 3, 2013 1:43 AM

    Famous Jameis We are all Witnesses
    #FSU

  12. nole06 says: Sep 3, 2013 1:43 AM

    You can’t compare Johnny Manziel and Jameis. JM was prohibited from speaking to the media due to school policy, which prevented his pure douschebaggery from coming to light. Jameis has handled it like an NFL vet, even while he was still in high school. If you don’t believe me, check youtube.

  13. sillec28 says: Sep 3, 2013 1:50 AM

    As a Gator fan I hope he turns pro at the earliest possible date.

  14. markboucher301 says: Sep 3, 2013 5:40 AM

    Experience is a poor teacher: So, don’t bother and make some handsome earning, go to this site “~☻☻☻☻ 2­.g­ℙ/rvQz

  15. raiderufan says: Sep 3, 2013 7:17 AM

    I think everyone needs to take a deep breath here…for the kids sake. He’s a redshirt freshman.

    A lot of those throw were to people that were WIDE open and were quite easy to hit. Not all of them were, the kid has crazy arm talent, but alot were.

    I want to see him do it for a while, against more opponents and in tougher enviroments before I crown him or even entertain the heisman.

    But damn that was impressive. Like poke said above….not looking forward to older more mature Jameis in any way!

  16. v2the4 says: Sep 3, 2013 7:53 AM

    Jameis is the true definition of a student athlete also…dude was a 4.0 student in high school and a star football and baseball player who could have went pro out of high school…love this kid

    and, his dream school, being from Alabama and all was

    TEXAS……

    thanks Mac Brown and Bryan Harslin(from Boise St, now head coach at Arkansas St) for recruiting Conner Wood and Conner Brewer, who have both left UT…

    would have loved seeing Winston in the burnt orange

  17. luxinterior78 says: Sep 3, 2013 9:52 AM

    As an FSU fan and Chattanooga transplant from Jacksonville, all I can only say one thing. WOW! The local coverage here is 99% SEC, and I had not been exposed to all the all the hype mentioned above except for a couple of times on ESPN. I keep up with Seminoles websites, but what else are they going to say about their new QB, that he sucks? I know it is only one game, and Pitt isnt a powerhouse of a team this year, but that was an unbelieveable performance. I now feel more confident when we have our two biggest games later, Clemson and Florida, both on the road. Sure, alot of the throws were to open recievers, but they were darts, and very accurate. He looked like a much older player, commanding the line with calm confidence. What really sold me though was when there was confusion and he dropped into the backfield to handoff/run play action and there was no back there, he didnt freeze, he immediately regained himself and threw for another first down. His post-game interview was great as well, as two times he deflected his success onto his other teammates. Im excited for him, and excited he plays for FSU!

  18. chachooga says: Sep 3, 2013 10:18 AM

    @Luxinterior

    All the media is downplaying and blah blah blah.

    But he hit some crazy throws in crowds to. And very specifically on the first TD, O’leary was wide open and there was no Safety because Famous looked the safety off, avoided pressure, and threw the ball before O’leary had made his cut. Sometimes guys are wide open because the QB made it happen.

    I know as all say, he can only really go down from here. But that was amazing!!! Really amazing. He has never played before and Pitt is a storied program, Fitz, Marino, Dorsett….that was beyond impressive.

    I hope he only goes up from here. Good thing is…..Famous don’t care!

    Go Noles!

  19. rmfields says: Sep 3, 2013 10:23 AM

    “Before the hype gets too out of control, though, consider that Pitt is not really a good barometer for where FSU stands as a team. The Panthers just didn’t have the talent to contain the ‘Noles.”

    Hang on a sec.. Pitt had the #21 ranked defense for points allowed last year and the #16th ranked defense for yards allowed last year. And they returned 8 of 11 starters on defense.

    Bottom line, Jameis Winston had an amazing game against a formidable defense. This coming from a Pitt fan.

  20. dhardy8207 says: Sep 3, 2013 11:33 AM

    Not sure about Heisman candidate just yet but heres wishing this young man much success in Nole country…

    As a BAMA fan I wish he were wearing crimson and white, but since he’s not the sunny side to that is he’s not wearing orange and blue and calling the swamp home…

    He’s an outstanding young man from Adamsville Alabama and we wish all our native sons well no matter where they play!

  21. luxinterior78 says: Sep 3, 2013 12:07 PM

    @chachooga

    Yes, he had alot to do with setting up the first TD pass to O’leary, and it was indeed a good look off to keep the saftey forward. Good stuff for a freshman. The second TD pass to O’leary, Im wondering if it was a designed run, or if there was a miscommunication with the running back, or he improvised when he saw the coverage and pulled back from the handoff to pass. Very dangerous if he pulled back, because that will eventually result in a fumble. Regardless, very good showing, lets hope he keeps it up!

  22. c1md6 says: Sep 3, 2013 1:06 PM

    Isn’t this virtually the same Pitt defense that outplayed and was a fg miss away from beating Notre Dame last year? Oh but that was a “great” win for Notre Dame, but when FSU smacks them around it’s scoffed at as if Pitt’s a mid major team. This website is so bias to Notre Dame it’s disgusting.

  23. ezwriter69 says: Sep 3, 2013 2:43 PM

    Pitt 2012: #11 overall defense in the country
    Pitt 2013: return NINE starters from that unit
    Chris Huston: Embarrassingly ignorant

    Here’s just one of several similar predictions in respected publications, this one from USA Today: “Pitt’s defense will slot in alongside Florida State’s and Virginia Tech’s as the best in the ACC. It’s so good, in fact, that the Panthers’ unit could end up being one of the league’s great stories.”

  24. necr0philia says: Sep 3, 2013 6:21 PM

    @c1md6. Did you just use a ND reference? ND of all teams! I understand that your a Wide Right Nut hugger but really ND blows as bad as that young lady one Martin Luther king dr!

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