Jameis Winston is hoping for a blowout on his birthday, and he’s not talking about the candles.
Florida State’s quarterback will turn 20 on Monday, the same day the Seminoles face Auburn in the BCS National Championship Game, and Winston says he will tell his teammates beforehand there are no rules that prevent FSU from winning in a romp.
“The NCAA has all these rules, but it does not say you cannot blow out everybody you play,” Winston said Friday. “Before we played Clemson, before we played Florida, before we played Miami … I said ‘Guys, where in the rulebook does it say we can’t blow out everybody that we play?’ ”
Although Winston stopped short of actually predicting a blowout win over Auburn, the Seminoles have made it look easy in going 13-0, defeating opponents by an average of 42 points per game.
And Winston is a major reason why.
The Heisman Trophy winner and Alabama native could cap his fairy tale football season in the Rose Bowl with a victory over Auburn. Winston termed it a a “rivalry game for me because I’m playing the home-state team.”
It’ll just be one more reason to get Winston’s juices flowing, and it wouldn’t be the first time.
When he made his collegiate debut at Pittsburgh in early September, he let out a year’s worth of frustration by completing 25 of 27 passes, including four for touchdowns.
“That game was really just out of anger and out of happiness of me just being on the football field again,” said Winston, who sat out 2012 as a freshman redshirt. “When you love this game so much and you’ve got to sit a whole year off, I mean, it kind of hits you in the heart.”
FSU quarterbacks coach, Randy Sanders, said Winston’s inaugural performance left him in awe.
“He had two incompletions,” Sanders said. “One of them was a throwaway and the other one could have been ruled a completion on the sideline.”
On the field, at least, it has been all uphill for Winston and the Seminoles from there, placing FSU in position to capture its first national title since 1999, and third overall. That was the year of the second BCS championship. Monday’s game will mark the last as college football will finally go to a playoff next season.
Winston said he hasn’t won a championship of any kind since middle school, although, given his age, that really wasn’t all that long ago. A 12-1 Auburn team that won the Southeastern Conference title behind a powerful running game and two miraculous victories over Georgia and Alabama is all that stands between Winston and the pinnacle.
Winston entertained thoughts of going to Stanford, LSU and Texas before finally settling on Florida State, in large part because the school offered a chance to play both football and baseball.
Texas never recruited Winston, however, and he said when he called the Longhorns to drum up interest, they never called him back.
“Texas was my favorite team,” Winston said. “Through the whole recruiting process, I said to my [high school] coach, ‘We got to get Texas on the phone.’ When I was young, I looked up to [former UT quarterback] Vince Young.”
Fortunately for Florida State, Winston eventually settled on the Seminoles, in part because of the recruiting efforts of Dameyune Craig, who is now in his first year as Auburn’s co-offensive coordinator. Although Winston said he has in regular contact with Craig, “I deleted him on the phone this week so I wouldn’t call him. I’m not talking to him this week.”
Auburn could prove to be easy pickings for Winston. The Tigers are susceptible to the pass, ranking 104th in the nation in passing yardage allowed. Georgia’s Aaron Murray torched them for 415 yards. Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel amassed 454 passing yards and four touchdowns against Auburn.
And Winston has more receiving targets in his arsenal — Kenny Shaw, Rashard Greene, Kelvin Benjamin and Nick O’Leary — than either of those two quarterbacks.
“Obviously, this is going to be a real tough game for us because Auburn holds the ball all the time with their dynamic running game,” Winston said.
But Winston still has thoughts of a blowout. After all, as he mentioned more than once, there isn’t any rule stopping it.
“Alabama blew out Notre Dame in the championship game last year,” he said. “We can do anything we want to do.”