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.
LSU opened up a high-profile head coaching vacancy on Sunday by removing head coach Les Miles as the head of the football program. As Miles was shown the door, the list of possible candidates started popping up just about everywhere you might look. Names like Houston’s Tom Herman and Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher have been popular and trendy, but not so much for Stanford head coach David Shaw.
Asked about the new opening in Baton Rouge, Shaw was rather definitive in his stance.
“Are you serious? The answer is no,” Shaw said, seemingly without hesitation according to ESPN reporter David Lombardi.
It should be mentioned that it is incredibly rare for a head coach in a current position with one program would even drop a hint of interest in another position elsewhere, so keep that in mind as coaches like Herman and Fisher deny having any contact with LSU and so on during the annual coaching carousel. That said, Shaw leaving Stanford would be a pretty good shock, so we can probably take Shaw at his word here.
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh announced senior cornerback Jeremy Clark will not play another down this season. Clark suffered a torn ACL in a blowout win against Penn State on Saturday while on special teams duty.
With Clark no longer an option for the defense, Harbaugh mentioned a few players as possible replacements for the rest of the season; Brandon Watson, Lavert Hill, and David Long.
Harbaugh also said the school will petition the NCAA to see if they can get a sixth year of eligibility for Clark. Players are eligible to apply for a medical redshirt of a season-ending injury occurs in the first third of the regular season, which Michigan’s fourth game would qualify for. Clark has already used a redshirt season at Michigan.
When you go out on a limb and guarantee a victory, you better hope you and your team can back it up. Otherwise, your statements could come back to haunt you. The folks in Tennessee had a little fun at the expense of Florida defensive back Quincy Wilson this week after the Vols came from behind to beat Florida in a key SEC East Division game in Knoxville. The win brought an end to an 11-year losing streak Tennessee had going against their division rivals from Florida, which was cause for celebration alone, but being able to capitalize on a golden quote served up by Wilson a few days prior to the game ensured yet another victory on social media.
“Have you ever seen a duck pull a truck? Ducks don’t pull trucks,” Wilson said in the days leading up to Florida’s game at Tennessee. “Nobody has ever seen a duck pull a truck. Florida Gators are going to win, simple as that.”
As that particular quote started making the rounds around the college football world, the Oregon Ducks of all programs decided to weigh in on the rivalry smack talk by sharing a video of the Oregon mascot pulling a truck…
So, it was only fitting that after Tennessee snapped its losing streak against the Gators and made Wilson eat some crow for his duck metaphor, the video production team at Tennessee had a little fun with everything that transpired. It would appear that Smokey, Tennessee’s mascot, appreciated the support from Oregon and is now repaying the favor.
Well done, Tennessee video team!
The Florida Gators do not appear to be optimistic about quarterback Luke Del Rio being available for their next game against Vanderbilt this weekend. Florida announced Del Rio is “highly doubtful” for this weekend’s game after missing this past weekend’s game at Tennessee.
Del Rio suffered a left knee injury two weeks ago against North Texas, forcing him to miss last weekend’s game against the Vols. Florida expects to be able to work Del Rio back into the practice routine starting Tuesday and will continue to monitor his progress as they make sure he is good to go before testing him in a game.
“I would say he’d be highly doubtful for this week,” Florida head coach Jim McElwain said Monday. “But I’m still not going to count him out.”
Austin Appleby stepped in to get his first start at Florida since transferring from Purdue when he took the field on Saturday at Tennessee. It is expected Appleby will once again get the start against Vanderbilt. Del Rio visited with the team and was in a uniform last weekend, more so he could communicate and help Appleby out as best he possibly could from the sideline.