Florida State University

Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston says he must cut down on turnovers

The numbers suggest that Jameis Winston had a fine outing in Florida State’s 37-31 win over Oklahoma State.

The sophomore quarterback ran for a dazzling touchdown, threw a 50-yard pass for another and completed 62.5 percent of his attempts.

And Winston’s 370 passing yards were the third-most of his career.

Numbers aside, though, it was plain Saturday night that Winston was hardly at his sharpest. At least not by his Heisman-winning expectations.

“It was the first week, but I’ve got to improve on turnovers,” Winston said. “And that’s just me — what I’ve got to do. We can’t have those turnovers.”

Of particular concern were two second-quarter interceptions, both of which helped lead to a closer-than-expected final score.

The first came on a third-and-10 pass at the OSU 13-yard line and prevented FSU from extending its lead from two to three scores.

The second occurred at the Seminoles’ 29-yard line and resulted in a field goal that cut their advantage to 17-10 at halftime.

“When you have chances to put people away and get up three scores, that changes the game,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “And we threw a pick and that lost the momentum.”

Although not a bad showing, Winston’s game was a jarring contrast when compared with most of his efforts from last season. That includes his sterling 25-for-27, four-touchdown performance in last year’s season opener at Pittsburgh.

He attributes the difference to some self-inflicted pressure.

“Just me trying to do too much,” Winston said. “Trying to redeem myself or have a game like I had last year instead of just going out there and playing.”

Still, FSU’s nervous moments in the second half also provided Winston with his best opportunities to shine.

With FSU up just three midway through the third quarter, Winston took a first-down snap and scrambled through virtually the entire OSU defense on the way to a 28-yard score.

Later, in the fourth quarter, Winston connected with receiver Rashad Greene for a 50-yard touchdown pass that proved to be the game-winner.

It’s those moments of brilliance, Fisher said, that make it easy to live with the occasional miscue.

“I mean, that’s the thing you love about him,” Fisher said. “Even when he is not playing at his best or whatever goes on, there’s still a competitor in him.

“ ‘If I’ve got to run, I’ve got to hit somebody, I’ve got to get hit, whatever I’ve got to do to get in the end zone or make plays for my team,’ that’s what he does.”

Winston has the spectacular plays down.

Now, Fisher wants to see a renewed emphasis on what he calls the “smart plays” — knowing when not to get greedy and simply take what’s available.

“I thought he had a solid performance, but he knows he can still play better as far as not wanting big plays, but just continuing to make smart plays,” Fisher said.

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