Tonight was an all-too-rare occurrence for the Jameis Winston era of Florida State football. No, not a loss. A win away from the spotlight. But on a night where seemingly half the top 10 will see its heads snapped off, laying in the weeds was exactly what the second-ranked Seminoles needed to do with a 34-20 win over Virginia.
Florida State scored first on a two-yard Karlos Williams plunge after recovering a fumble deep in Virginia territory, but then gave the lead away and then some when consecutive Winston interceptions turned into a 13-7 Virginia lead. But then Mike London‘s crew gave the lead right back with two turnovers of their own to give the ‘Noles a 21-13 lead just 70 seconds after falling behind by six.
Winston then added a four-yard run with 4:43 to go in the first half to give FSU a 28-13 lead at the break.
A third Florida State turnover, this time a Dalvin Cook fumble, gave Virginia its third touchdown, a 14-yard pass from Greyson Lambert to Canaan Severin, but the Cavs got no closer than 28-20. Roberto Aguayo booted two third-quarter field goals, and that was that.
Virginia moved as far as the Florida State eight yard-line in the fourth quarter, but turned it over on downs with 5:47 to go, and Florida State sat on the remaining 347 seconds to salt away a comfortable win.
In keeping with the ho hum-ness of the game, Winston completed 22-of-35 passes for a pedestrian 261 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions, plus his rushing score, while Williams carried 21 times for 70 yards and two touchdowns. Rashad Greene caught 13 passes for 136 yards and the touchdown. The ‘Noles held Virginia to 257 yards of total offense and no scores without direct help from the Florida State offense.
The win moves Florida State to 9-0 on the season, pushes the win streak to 25 and, thanks to North Dakota State’s loss earler today, gives the Seminoles the longest winning streak in Division I for the first time. They’ll look to extend the streak next Saturday night at a hot (and rested) Miami team.
Virginia (4-6, 2-4 ACC) will take next week off before taking on that same Hurricanes on Nov. 22 in Charlottesville.