Statistically speaking, Monday night’s BCS Championship Game was not the finest of the year for Florida State Heisman Trophy quarterback Jameis Winston. Fortunately for the Seminoles, there is only one stat that matters; the final score. Winston struggled at times in the first half but at the end of the night head coach Jimbo Fisher was calling it the bets game of the year for his freshman quarterback.
“That’s the best football game he played all year and I’ll tell you why,” Fisher said in his post game press conference. “For three quarters, he was up and down, and he fought and he fought. It’s just like any great player, some nights you don’t have it. When you can go back… and you can take your team down the field and lead them to victory, that’s what a great player is to me.”
Winston completed 20 of 35 pass attempts for 237 yards and two touchdowns. The stat line lacks big numbers but it does not represent the importance of the numbers that are in the box score. Both of Winston’s touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter, the first bringing Florida State to within one point and the second proving to be the championship-clinching score in the final seconds of the season. Winston’s final two offensive drives of the season ended with those touchdowns, showing a clutch factor when his team needed it most.
It was a slow start for Winston and Florida State. The Noles were forced to punt on three of their first four possessions of the game. Winston struggled to find a rhythm and his swagger that had been common throughout the season. Celebrating his birthday in the biggest game of his life, Winston admitted to having some butterflies in the Rose Bowl and needing to calm down. Once he did, he hit that familiar high gear to lead Florida State back from a 21-3 deficit in the second quarter to a BCS championship.
The college football world could only imagine what Winston will have to offer for an encore in 2014.