Florida State QB Jameis Winston near perfect in first half against Pitt

By Chip Patterson | College Football/Basketball Writer

Florida State QB Jameis Winston totaled 4 touchdowns and just one incompletion first half of college football. (USATSI)
Jameis Winston totaled 4 touchdowns and just one incompletion first half of college football. (USATSI)

Florida State's quarterback competition lasted through spring practice and into fall camp, but all along there was a suspicion that redshirt freshman Jameis Winston would be starter. In his college debut on Monday night against Pittsburgh, Winston didn't just show why he was named the starter -- he showed why they call him "Famous Jameis."

Winston completed 17 of 18 passes for 240 yards and three touchdowns while adding a rushing touchdown to account for all scores in Florida State's 28-10 first half lead.

PIttsburgh actually struck first in the ACC opener. Former Rutgers quarterback Tom Savage led the Panthers down the field in nine plays for a touchdown on the game's opening drive. Winston picked up a pair of first downs on the Seminoles first shot with the ball, but a quick shovel to Kelvin Benjamin on 3rd and 1 resulted in a loss and Florida State had to punt.

That would the last time Florida State punted in the half.

Winston was spectacular from that moment forward. Freshman defensive back Jalen Ramsey intercepted Savage and two plays later Winston threw a touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary. The next time Florida State got the ball, Winston was perfect on an 81-yard touchdown drive.

Winston's first incompletion of the game occurred on arguably his most impressive drive. The redshirt freshman threw for a first down on both 3rd and 17 as well as 3rd and 9 before finishing the drive with a five-yard quarterback keeper for the touchdown.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Florida State, holding a 41-13 lead, put Jacob Coker in at quarterback to close the game. Winston's final stat line included 25 of 27 passing (92.5%) for four touchdowns and eight carries for 25 yards and a touchdown.

The Seminoles have a week off after the Monday night opener, then host Nevada on Sat., Sept. 14. That leaves plenty of time to discuss Winston's performance, as Florida State tries to focus on the pursuit of back-to-back ACC titles for the first time in a decade.

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