Jameis Winston's second game wasn't perfect, but it was still plenty good enough to lead Florida State past Nevada on Saturday, 62-7.
Winston opened the game struggling: he threw a costly interception deep in Florida State territory to set up Nevada's go-ahead touchdown and took a costly sack on the next drive. But in the second quarter, Winston found a groove.
The freshman quarterback led FSU (2-0) on back-to-back scoring drives to close out the second quarter and retake the lead for Florida State. First, Winston found Kenny Shaw with a throw over the shoulder while scrambling and under pressure for a go-ahead touchdown.
Then, when FSU stuffed Nevada and got the ball back with just 1:59 to play, Winston marched the Seminoles down the field in just four plays before finding Rashad Greene in the end zone for a critical momentum-swinging touchdown to end the half. Winston finished 15-18 with 241 yards, one interception and two touchdowns through the air. After throwing his first interception, Winston was 13-for-13 passing.
"That's all part of things that until they happen, you don't know," FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. "They're going to happen in bigger games and bigger moments, and you just keep growing with it. You've got to remember, he's just a freshman."
For added emphasis, FSU broke things open in the third quarter with big-time runs. First, Devonta Freeman went 66 yards for a touchdown in two carries. The next drive, Karlos Williams, in his first ever offensive snap after switching from defense last week, went 65 yards for a touchdown. James Wilder added another score on the next drive and Winston rushed yet another touchdown on the next drive.
"Coach Jimbo did a tremendous job of changing the game plan," Freeman said. "Just run at them, run straight at them. And That's what we did."
Freeman finished with nine rushes for 114 yards while Williams had seven carries for 109 yards and a score. FSU averaged 9.2 yards per carry for the game and finished with 377 rushing yards for the game. Six different players scored rushing touchdowns for Florida State, including freshmen Ryan Green and Freddie Stevenson.
"We just needed a spark to get something going," Freeman said.
FSU had scored 31 points in the third quarter and 45 unanswered points and in the first three drives of the quarter ran seven plays for three touchdowns.
Florida State's defense struggled to stymie Nevada's Pistol offensive in the first quarter despite the absence of dual-threat starting QB Cody Fajardo, but locked the Wolf Pack (1-2) down completely after the opening series.
Nevada's offense put up 128 yards of combined offense in its first four drives, but only 86 for the rest of the game as FSU's defensive linemen adjusted to Nevada's blocking.
"We're making adjustments, guys can't get caught up in what's going on around us, we just have to focus in and do our jobs," defensive lineman Timmy Jernigan said.
The adjustments worked particularly well in the pivotal third quarter. While FSU was running off score after score, Nevada only had three first downs and just 55 yards despite running 19 plays. By the third quarter Nevada was down to third-string quarterback Tyler Stewart.