Jameis Winston may not have 20/20 vision, but at quarterback, he nearly went 20-20 against the Syracuse defense.
Winston was 18-20 with 272 yards and two touchdowns. No, that wasn't his final stat line. It was with three minutes left in the second quarter. Winston threw another five-yard pass before the half, but coach Jimbo Fisher decided not to play him in the third or fourth quarter. He didn't need to – at halftime, the Seminoles led 38-0.
Winston's pinpoint precision helped the No 2. Florida State Seminoles (10-0, 8-0 ACC) defeat the Syracuse Orange (5-5, 3-3 ACC), 59-3, in Doak Campbell Stadium. The freshman quarterback had another Heisman-caliber performance and put the Seminoles one step closer to the national title game. He didn't show any signs of being distracted from his ongoing off-the-field investigation.
Syracuse's 59 points allowed is tied for the 8th most in team history. SU hasn't given up that many points since its 59-0 loss to Miami in 2001.
Coach Shafer on losing to FSU like others: "I didn't want to be part of that crew, damn it, but now I am"— WAER Sports (@WAERSports) November 17, 2013
On the opening drive, Winston went 5-5 for 75 yards. Winston stuck to short, quick passes and let his playmakers do the rest. James Wilder Jr. scored on a three yard rush touchdown. After a Syracuse three-and-out, the Seminoles had the ball at their own 26. Levonte Whitfield ran for a 74-yard touchdown to make it 14-0. Even with fifty minutes to go, it began to feel like the game was over.
The Syracuse defense had no answers to Florida State's accurate aerial attack. The Seminoles moved the ball at ease. They scored touchdowns on their next three possessions. In fact, the FSU didn't face a third down until the 5:35 mark in the second quarter.
Prince Tyson-Gulley left the game in the first half due to a "lower-body injury". With the game out of reach it was mostly the backups - George Morris II and Devante McFarlane - who got playing time. The duo was a rare bright spot in an otherwise dark day for the Orange. Morris II had 67 rushing yards with some particularly good runs early in the second quarter. McFarlane played very well in the fourth quarter. He had 13 carries for 81 yards.
Sophomore corner Julian Whigham left the game in the second quarter after suffering a serious abdominal injury. He was taken to a local hospital.
UPDATE: A Syracuse press release from 7:58 p.m. states, "Julian was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital with an injury to his abdomen. Julian is doing much better and is in good condition. As a precaution, he will remain at the hospital overnight for observation."
For those of you who switched from football to basketball at the half, you didn't miss much. In the third quarter, Syracuse gave up two quick touchdowns and Chris Casher returned a Hunt fumble for a TD to put FSU up 59-0.
Ryan Norton got Syracuse on the board with a 32-yard field goal with 7:42 left in the game.
Fortunately for Syracuse, losing by 56 points counts just as much as losing by six. The Orange will have two more chances to get its sixth win and become bowl eligible. Next Saturday, the Orange hosts Pittsburgh, who fell to 5-5 after losing this week. Syracuse gets one last chance on Nov. 30 when the Orange faces Boston College (6-4, 3-3 ACC) in the Carrier Dome.