TALLAHASSEE -- Rashad Greene could only smile and shake his head in amazement. Jacobbi McDaniel was so taken by the magic of it all that he hugged two of his teammates with such force that he apologized to both afterward for any pain he might have inflicted.
As for Florida States equally incredulous coach, well, after redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston pulled off the play of the game in a 63-0 trouncing of previously unbeaten Maryland, a how-did-he-do-that combination of artistry and athleticism, Jimbo Fisher smirked and pointed out a mistake Winston had made.
Winston knew from the facial expression he was in trouble.
When he has a smirk, hes about to tell me I did something wrong, said Winston, who was able to smile about it afterward. But he also told me great play and dont do it again.
In what was a near flawless performance by the No. 8 Seminoles, Fisher had to find something anything to hold up for criticism, and he picked Winstons astonishing touchdown pass at the end of the third quarter. Winston, who became engulfed in a mass of bodies and looked to be headed for a short loss, squirted out of the predicament, rolled to the outside, and zipped a 12-yard touchdown pass one of five for him in the game to tight end Nick OLeary.
I dont know how he does it, OLeary said.
Said Fisher, joking: I was mad because he should have done something else.
There isnt much Winston cant do, which is why he has thrust his name into the thick of the conversation for the Heisman Trophy. With yet another whiz-bang job, throwing for 393 yards against a Maryland team that began the day ranked third nationally in scoring defense, Winston has the Seminoles riding high.
It was Florida States largest-ever margin of victory over a nationally ranked opponent, and it was the first time since 1999 the last time the Seminoles won the national championship that they began a season by scoring 40 or more points in their first five games.
No. 25 Maryland made it look like Cupcake Saturday for the Seminoles.
The Terrapins (4-1), who whipped West Virginia 37-0 one week before the Mountaineers humbled No. 11 Oklahoma State, brought the top-ranked defense in the Atlantic Coast Conference into one of three showdowns nationally Saturday involving ranked and unbeaten teams.
But it was the Seminoles defense that owned bragging rights after Saturdays shutout even after Florida State scored touchdowns on eight consecutive possessions during one overwhelming sequence.
Nonetheless, Fisher reserved his highest praise for the defensive unit.
The defense, I thought, was the story of the day, Fisher said.
Indeed, the Terrapins were forced into 11 punts, held to 33 yards rushing, and couldnt get anything going after McDaniel knocked Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown out of the game in the second quarter with a hit that left the quarterback with a concussion.
McDaniel inflicted even more pain and to his own teammates, no less after Winstons dazzling play from the sideline.
I want to apologize to Timmy Jernigan and Mario [Edwards], McDaniel said, because I was beating them up on that play. I was choking them and all that. Man, this guys [Winston] amazing. I was that excited.
Greene, one of Winstons favorite targets, wasnt on the receiving end of Winstons touchdown throw, but he admired it nonetheless.
No disrespect, Greene said. But the only thing I could do was laugh. Its just amazing how a guy can do things like that and still make plays.
Winston said Fisher scolded him for holding on to the ball to long, which put him in the predicament to begin with, but then gave him a pat on the back for making something out of nothing.
He does as good a job of getting out of pressure and finding guys down the field as hes eluding, Fisher said. It was a tremendous play. It really was.
Now comes a bye week for the Seminoles, followed by their toughest challenge to date: a battle against No. 3 Clemson on the road. Fisher doesnt want his Seminoles to feel too high on themselves after Saturdays blowout.
Now were going to be world-beaters, Fisher said facetiously.
Its one game. Keep it in perspective.