On Saturday, the top ranked Florida State Seminoles faced the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Florida State was expected to torch Oklahoma State in Dallas. How would the reigning Heisman Trophy Winner Jameis Winston fare?
Early in the game, Winston turned to running back Karlos Williams. The offensive line looked strong early, and Williams was the perfect decoy to enable Winston to make the right choices.
The Seminoles' defense was loaded with NFL draft prospects like Mario Edwards Jr., Eddie Goldman, Terrance Smith, P.J. Williams, and Ronald Darby. Edwards recorded the first tackle before Goldman recorded the second tackle while Smith had a tackle on third down to end the Cowboys first series. Smith was proactive on the Seminoles' defense early and often.
Oklahoma State threw a pick 6 early thanks to the outstanding coverage. That gave the Seminoles a 10-0 lead. Williams and Darby were outstanding rotating between the field and boundary cornerback roles. The Cowboys did score points. Oklahoma State only scored when they threw the ball away from these corners. The Cowboys got a first down on third down, when Williams blitzed on third down. Williams blitzed more than you would want him to in this contest. Darby surprised me and played much better than I expected. Oklahoma State got a first down on Darby, but Darby was playing zone when the Cowboys' receiver was thinking about catching a short pass. Darby still made the tackle. You cannot blame Darby's coverage on that play because middle linebacker Terrance Smith probably yelled the play the defensive coordinator called towards Darby.
Rashad Greene did not do squat in the first quarter. His play improved as the game progressed. Tight End Nick O'Leary had a few moments worth noting in the first half. His play got worse as the game progressed. Winston has to be held accountable for not getting O'Leary involved in the offense. O'Leary deserved more receiving opportunities.
Losing Justin Gilbert and Tyler Patmon at cornerback was reason enough for Winston to play turnover free football against the Cowboys. Winston went three quarters without throwing a touchdown. In the fourth quarter, Winston threw his first passing touchdown. He closed the lid on Oklahoma State at the end with a touchdown to Rashad Greene.
You expected the offensive line to do their part with four returning starters. For the most part they did. The offensive guards enabled Winston to make the right throws. Left tackle Cameron Erving displayed bad footwork on a few plays. That is probably due to the fact that he was fatigued from keeping a defensive end in check for up to seven seconds on a play.
Winston finished the game 25/40 with 370 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, 1 rushing touchdown, and 2 interceptions. Rashad Greene was targeted 20 times, but only managed to catch 11 of the 20 receptions Winston threw his way. Greene finished with over 200 receiving yards.
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Chris Ransom writes for NFL Draft Insiders. Be sure to check out his website Draft Utopia for more NFL content.