Jameis Winston reaffirmed his Heisman Trophy candidacy with the best performance of his short career Saturday. The Florida State redshirt freshman put up career-highs with 393 yards passing and five touchdowns during a 63-0 victory over No. 25 Maryland.
The 63 points were the second-most scored by No. 8 Florida State during coach Jimbo Fisher’s tenure. Saturday was the most lopsided win against a Top 25 program in school history. The Seminoles beat No. 15 South Carolina 59-0 in 1988.
The lopsided score also tied the point-differential for the worst loss by a Top 25 team all-time. No. 11 Texas lost 66-3 to UCLA in 1997.
Winston’s weekly highlight came late in the third quarter when the pocket collapsed and Maryland linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil jumped on his back. The quarterback ducked and slid out of the sack, rolled right and threw a 12-yard touchdown pass to tight end Nick O’Leary.
Winston became the first FSU quarterback to throw five touchdowns since Christian Ponder in 2009. He’s now thrown for 1,441 yards, 17 touchdowns with two interceptions and a 73.3 completion percentage this season.
"It felt like a little league football game out there," Winston said. "It was 12 o’clock, the sun was out. I don’t think I saw a cloud in the sky. It was a beautiful day."
The Florida State defense was the concern throughout the week after giving up 34 points to Boston College seven days ago. Defenders got out of their lanes and missed tackles — something the Seminoles couldn’t afford against a Maryland offense that averaged 498.5 yards per game.
That was not a problem.
The Terrapins were held to 121 first-half yards and Florida State gave up a season-low 11 yards rushing on 10 attempts in the first half. Maryland punted on its first three possessions of the game, a Florida State first this season. The Terps converted just 1-of-7 third downs in the first 30 minutes and 2-of-15 all game.
"As good as the offense played today, I thought the defense played better," Fisher said. "The defense, I thought, was the story of the day. They really took the show."
Things became even worse for Maryland when starting quarterback C.J. Brown went down late in the second quarter with the Terrapins trailing 14-0. Brown released a pass downfield just before Christian Jones hit him around the waist and Jaccobi McDaniel followed with a blow to the chest. Brown lay on the turf for several minutes before he immediately headed to the locker room with a member of the medical staff.
Maryland coach Randy Edsall said Brown suffered a concussion and will be evaluated Sunday.
The Maryland offense was held to 234 yards and 33 yards rushing on 25 attempts.
"They have great athletes. They always do," Maryland backup quarterback Caleb Rowe said. "They were good, but we also could have taken advantage of a few things and we didn’t do that."
It was the Florida State offense that started slow this week, but that didn’t last long. The Seminoles scored on their first drive, a Karlos Williams 1-yard touchdown run, and then punted on the next three consecutive drives. That’s when the Winston show began.
The Seminoles scored touchdowns on their next eight consecutive possessions.
O’Leary had four receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Kelvin Benjamin had five receptions for 60 yards and two touchdowns. Receiver Rashad Greene had 108 yards receiving, but saw his streak of five games with a touchdown come to an end.
Williams added another touchdown from 17 yards out in the fourth quarter and backup quarterback Jacob Coker ran for a 24-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
"Not really much to say today," Edsall said. "We weren’t very good. … I take full responsibility for this. We didn’t play well offensively, defensively, special teams.
"I know the guys in the locker room. I know who they are and I know the resolve that we have and we will go back and we will look at this and get better."
Florida State has a bye week before it travels to No. 3 Clemson on Oct. 19.
Maryland hosts Virginia next week.
Notes: Florida State starting center Bryan Stork suffered a concussion in the second quarter and did not return.