No. 2 FSU 80, Idaho 14

Florida State not at its sharpest despite blowout of Idaho


The Noles left points on the field despite setting a school single-game scoring record against overmatched Idaho.

Miami Herald Writer

For the second consecutive Saturday, dark clouds hovered above Doak Campbell Stadium.

In many ways it was apropos, too.

For nearly two weeks, No. 2 Florida State has been dealing with the fallout from sexual-assault allegations directed at redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

With no end to the ordeal in sight — State Attorney Willie Meggs told The Associated Press on Saturday he likely wouldn’t have a decision on whether to press charges until after Thanksgiving — the Noles have had to try to block out the distractions caused by the pending investigation and focus on football.

On Saturday against Idaho, you could see glimmers of how that situation has affected FSU.

Sure, the Seminoles won 80-14, setting a new single-game scoring record and amassing over 600 yards of total offense. But afterward you would never know what a one-sided affair it had been.

Focus — or a lack thereof — was on coach Jimbo Fisher’s mind in the moments following the Seminoles’ blowout win.

“I saw that before the game a little bit, just not focused like I thought we would be,” Fisher said.

“I’m being picky, I’m being really picky, I really am, but that’s the standard we want to be held up to.

“I don’t say that out of disrespect; I don’t mean that as disrespect. I saw little things as a coach, just little concentration issues, little details of a route or little details of a block or little details of a read that you know as a coach when you’re really on your game [it’s better].”

FSU didn’t really struggle. The Noles took just seven plays to score on their first drive and already had the game in hand by the end of the first half when they led 42-7. But they also weren’t as sharp as they have been all season.

Winston played well but also dealt with a number of blown protections. He finished 14 of 25 for 272 yards and four touchdowns but was also sacked three times and lost a fumble when he was blindsided on a pass attempt in the second quarter.

“When we [made] mistakes, it’s usually small mistakes,” Winston said. “That can be a good thing, and that can be a bad thing. If we can just clear those small mistakes [up], I mean we’re going to be a great team.”

Defensively, the issue for Florida State was tackling. Idaho receiver Dezmon Epps finished with seven receptions for 126 yards — a good portion of which came after contact.

“We did not wrap [up], we didn’t hit on the rise and step on the toes and wrap up — which we had done all year,” Fisher said.

But despite the mistakes, despite not being their sharpest, the Seminoles still manhandled the Vandals (1-10). The old Florida State single-game scoring record was 77 against North Carolina State in 1995.

On Saturday afternoon, the Seminoles hung 80 while still leaving points on the field.

But at the end of the day the Seminoles were more upset with the 14 on the other side of the scoreboard than they were impressed by the 80 on theirs.

And it wasn’t even the most Florida State’s coach had ever scored.

“Yes [I’ve been on a team that scored more],” Fisher said. “When I was in college against Samford — my first game was against them — [we won] 82-9.”

Replied Winston: “I guess we’ve got to step our game up a little bit.”

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