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One game in, Florida State already learning title defense is different than a title chase

Jameis Winston

Florida State has not been tested like that since, well, the last time they took the field. Aside from the BCS National Championship barn burner, Jimbo Fisher’s Seminoles were not seriously tested at any point during the 2013 regular season, unless you want to count a four-point third-quarter lead versus Boston College being seriously tested.

One game into their title defense, though, and these 2014 Seminoles have been seriously tested. Florida State built a 17-0 second-quarter lead, but was never able to shake the pesky Pokes. Oklahoma State pulled within 17-10 at the half, 20-17 in the third quarter, 27-24 in the fourth quarter, and had the ball with a chance for the lead with under five minutes to play in the game.

Unranked Oklahoma State proved every bit No. 1 Florida State’s athletic equal at AT&T Stadium on Saturday night, outrushing the Seminoles 161-106 and sacking Jameis Winston twice. More seriously, Pokes quarterback J.W. Walsh kept a zone read and raced around the left side with 50 yards of green artificial turf ahead of him, and opportunity that would have given Oklahoma State the lead with four minutes left in the fourth quarter, until Florida State defensive back P.J. Williams forced and then recovered a fumble. Walsh completed 15-of-27 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and a back-breaking pick six, and added 11 rushes for 51 yards and a career-best two touchdowns.

Winston hit Rashad Greene with a 50-yard catch-and-run two plays later to put Florida State up 37-24 with 3:58 to play. Greene had a career night, collecting 11 receptions and 203 of Winston’s 370 passing yards.

Though Walsh would notch a three-yard scoring burst two minutes later, Oklahoma State never again had the ball with a chance to take the lead. Final score: Florida State 37, Oklahoma State 31.

Saturday night’s extravaganza showcased the absolute best of these made-for-TV neutral site match-ups. Each team will be better for the opportunity, and the nation got to see the defending national champion pushed by a rebuilding program that appears to be better than anyone – perhaps including its own coaching staff – ever anticipated.

Florida State hosts The Citadel and then takes a week off before opening its ACC schedule against No. 16 Clemson in Tallahassee. Oklahoma State returns to Stillwater to face Missouri State next week and, though there are plenty of land mines throughout, does not face another team currently ranked in the AP Top 25 until Nov. 1.

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14 Responses to “One game in, Florida State already learning title defense is different than a title chase”
  1. arnie7781 says: Aug 31, 2014 12:06 AM

    Barn burner. #ironic

  2. packergator says: Aug 31, 2014 12:11 AM

    I’m not ready to call OSU a really good team. I’ll chalk that FSU performance to something much simpler – they lost a lot of key talent to the NFL. They looked like they REALLY missed Kelvin Benjamin in particular. I bet they miss Jeremy Pruitt too.

  3. blacknole08 says: Aug 31, 2014 12:15 AM

    Im a Nole fan and I was unimpressed with the victory. We have alot of work that needs to be done. Much respect to OK State for giving us a game.

  4. realfootballfan says: Aug 31, 2014 12:23 AM

    I think the people who count on that team, Winston, Jimbo, and the defensive leaders already knew that. The word I’ve heard all off-season is that the offense will be a work in progress because as you saw tonight, only Green is on the same page with Winston, and he’s the only one he trusts. Those other guys have to grow up quickly (in the freshmen’s case) and start making plays (in the others like Green and Whitfield’s case) because there are no other people in front of them anymore. Also, Oklahoma State isn’t exactly directional school university. Dangerous first game to take on, which is what the fans always ask for, and they did it and essentially won a road game against a quality opponent with alot of new moving parts on the team. I’d say mission accomplished. That defense and Charles Kelly need to step their game way up though while the younger offensive players get up to speed. Also, I want to see Pender get some more touches, and Cook didn’t play at all, which was disappointing. Williams wasn’t getting any traction all night.

  5. realfootballfan says: Aug 31, 2014 12:26 AM

    Btw, I’m meaning Christian Green as one of the veteran receivers who need to step it up like Rashad Green, who hauled in essentially 60% of Winston’s yards. That’s not going to get it done as Winston rightly said after the game. The young receivers need to grow up.

  6. Mr. Wright 212 says: Aug 31, 2014 12:28 AM

    Not impressed or even feeling celebratory about the win. Felt almost like a loss.

  7. draconian1111 says: Aug 31, 2014 12:29 AM

    Florida State hosts The Citadel and then takes a week off…

    Out of respect for the players of The Citadel (all players try and all get banged up!) they didn’t call it 2 weeks off….

  8. canetic says: Aug 31, 2014 12:40 AM

    LOL first team All-ACC TE Nick O’Leary and his 28 yds receiving.

  9. realfootballfan says: Aug 31, 2014 12:58 AM

    Mr. Wright 212

    They’ll get better. The atmosphere around there is ultra competitive, and Winston is definitely a leader who will push them to be better. No one should have expected a cake walk with the offense. The only thing I was disappointed in was how sorry Williams looked running the ball. I know he’s one of Jimbo’s favorites and he wants to feature him this year, but Pender looked more dynamic. Also, Cook is suppposed to be the truth. I’d like to see more of them. We’ll just have to wait on the young receivers because depending on Christian Green and Kermit Whitfield to do more than catch a ball here or there is probably wishful thinking. Rudolph is going to have to grow up very fast because Rashad Green can’t be getting all the balls thrown his way and expect to run this schedule.

    Lost in all the “Oklahoma State lost this many players” talk I had to keep hearing from people all off-season, FSU has lost quite a bit especially in the veteran leadership department between the last 2 years that needs to be replaced.

  10. jimmy53 says: Aug 31, 2014 1:00 AM

    Lots of sloppy play, and they definitely missed Casher on the D-line tonight. A win is a win!

    I love the Cane fan talking smack before their game tomorrow night—good luck with that!

  11. realfootballfan says: Aug 31, 2014 1:21 AM

    Miami is irrelevant. They need to be worried about their horrible DC and OC instead of FSU. We’re trying to win another championship. They’re finally trying to get to the ACC championship game, lol.

  12. theboondoggles says: Aug 31, 2014 1:26 AM

    STOKED ON THE POKES!

    What a great game for the least experienced team that Gundy has fielded in years. I’m very excited for this season. Look forward to the rematch in January.

  13. jmb795 says: Aug 31, 2014 9:08 AM

    Cowboy hats off to the Pokes for making FSU look, well, ordinary. Noles have a lot of wood to chop.

  14. realfootballfan says: Aug 31, 2014 11:58 AM

    jmb795,

    This isn’t the same team as I have heard Jimbo say repeatedly all off-season. FSU lost alot of guys who have been around those halls for years like Jernigan, Joyner, Freeman, Wilder, etc. Veteran leadership can never be underestimated. For instance, Joyner has been that guy the last couple of years that would have settled that defense down. PJ Williams is trying to step into that role, but he’s still young, much like Jailen Ramsy, who is my favorite player on the team, and a host of others on that side of the ball. On offense, I’m just glad Winston has Rashad to lean on. I didn’t realize how big it was for him to come back although I have always thought he was an underrated receiver even last year in the midst of Benjamin getting more hype, but man he’s look like a life saver right now. Jimbo’s got a whole lot of work to do with those young offensive players.

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