When he’s not taking the mound in relief or throwing out base-runners from the outfield at Dick Howser Stadium, Florida State two-sport star Jameis Winston is accounting for five touchdowns as the quarterback for the Seminoles’ top 10 football team. As least that was the case through one nationally televised game.
When Florida State takes the field on Saturday against Nevada, the crowd at Doak Campbell Stadium will get its first look at Winston after 12 days of waiting. Winston certainly captivated the college football world on Labor Day with his 25-for-27, 362-yard, five total touchdown performance, but it will be interesting to see how he follows that effort up.
Florida State’s date with Nevada on Saturday lacks the appeal that the opener did when the Seminoles went to Heinz Field to welcome Pittsburgh to the ACC. While Nevada was far from horrendous last season going 7-6, the name itself and the lack of national recognition that the game gets will make Saturday’s contest a bit tougher for a team like Florida State and a freshman quarterback like Winston to get up for.
Not that Florida State is on upset alert, but whether Winston can be as crisp or efficient on a weekly basis against lesser competition certainly remains to be seen. Many in the northern parts of Florida are already touting Winston as a Heisman Trophy contender and for that vision to become a reality, Winston may have to put up numbers similar to the Pittsburgh game at least in terms of production on an almost weekly basis.
While Florida State’s September schedule is far from brutal with Nevada, FCS Bethune-Cookman and a Boston College team that won just two games a season ago on the slate, how Winston and FSU perform against the lesser opponents will set the tone for how the Seminoles’ offense plays when Clemson, Miami and Florida come calling.
Winston’s collegiate debut on Labor Day was highly anticipated as is this week’s home opener as the Florida State faithful gets an up-close look at the former top quarterback prospect. While Winston’s debut against Pittsburgh was the best ever for a Seminole quarterback, Winston will look to avoid making history this week. No Florida State quarterback has lost his first home start since Chip Ferguson and the ‘Noles fell to Miami 37-35 in 1985.
After Winston’s dominant effort against the Panthers to kick off 2013, the legend of Jameis Winston is already writing itself without Winston ever stepping onto his home field for a collegiate game. While fans in Tallahassee have waited for more than a decade now for the Seminoles to once again be perennial national championship contenders, most now believe that Winston is the guy to get them there. That however, leaves a huge void for Winston, a 19-year-old college student, to fill. If Winston proves to be anything less than legendary, he’ll be labeled a bust, but for now, he looks up to the challenge.