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.