No. 2 Florida St rolls, investigation continues

Florida State did what coach Jimbo Fisher said the Seminoles
would do: control the things they can control.

Jameis Winston and second-ranked Florida State rolled over
Syracuse 59-3 on Saturday, getting a respite from the ongoing
sexual assault investigation of the redshirt freshman
quarterback.

But the probe remains a dark cloud over the program. State
attorney Willie Meggs has said the investigation will continue for
a few weeks and are setting up an interview with the alleged
victim.

A female student first made the report to campus police on Dec.
7, 2012 and the case was turned over to the Tallahassee Police
Department. Prosecutors were presented the case last week.

The outcome of the investigation could come after the Atlantic
Coast Conference championship game on Dec. 7 – exactly one year
from the date of the original report. The uncertainty of Winston’s
status could also affect the decision-making of Heisman Trophy
voters with ballots due after that weekend.

Voters could also drop Florida State out of the top two in the
polls and the BCS standings if Winston is eventually suspended.

None of that is within the Seminoles’ control, and Fisher says
Winston and the team have not it become a distraction on the
field.

The Seminoles (10-0, 8-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) certainly
were not distracted against the Orange.

”It’s the same every week,” Winston said. ”I have a great
team. We have so many veterans. We use the (same) plan every single
week and we’ve got to show up every single week.

”That’s how it is. Seminole football.”

Winston played just two quarters Saturday and missed on two of
21 pass attempts – the second time he completed 90 percent of his
passes this season. He threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns
without an interception. He remains a Heisman front-runner as the
Seminoles led 38-0 at halftime.

Florida State has now defeated opponents 59-3 in consecutive
weeks and gone undefeated in ACC play for the first time since
2000.

”I thought we came out very focused and, again, started very
fast and got a great opening drive,” Florida State coach Jimbo
Fisher said, ”and were able to make a couple big plays early, get
control of the game and we were able to execute.

”Very happy with our focus throughout the game.”

Winston and the offense has dominated on the field – there have
been 10 offensive scoring drives that took less than two minutes in
the last two games. But the Seminoles also have the No. 3 scoring
defense in the league that allows just 11.1 points per game.
They’ve given up 17-plus points just twice in 2013.

”I thought the quarterback was a defensive end until he turned
his shoulders and I saw his jersey number. They look like an NFL
team out there, personnel wise,” Syracuse coach Scott Shafer said.
”They have guys who don’t touch the field that are giants. That’s
the sign of a good program and one (terrific) job by Jimbo Fisher
and his staff.”

Still, the outcome of the investigation could derail everything.
Florida State has a conduct/discipline policy that states all
student-athletes who are charged with a felony are suspended from
game participation ”until such time as the charge is resolved and
all court, university and athletics department conditions for
reinstatement have been met.” A student-athlete charged with a
misdemeanor is subject to the coach’s discipline and may not
participate in game action until after any required jail time is
served.

Prosecutors are setting up a time to interview the victim, who
has moved out of Florida. Winton’s attorney, Timothy Jansen, said
Saturday he’s given officials two affidavits from eye witnesses
that will ”completely exonerate my client.” He’s repeatedly said
his client did nothing wrong and he thought the investigation was
over months ago.

Winston, Fisher and Florida State have declined to comment on
all inquiries involving the investigation.