FSU’s Winston disappoints in crushing Rose Bowl loss
Jameis Winston walked out of the Rose Bowl stadium with a much more somber look than the one he showcased to the world in Thursday’s postgame press conference.
After the confetti topped Oregon’s 59-20 crushing victory over Florida State and the trophy was hoisted in the arms of the Ducks, Winston still believed the Seminoles could play another game.
It won’t be in Dallas, of course, at the College Football Playoff championship, but somewhere, Winston believes Florida State’s season should continue.
Florida State was a hot mess with five second-half turnovers – four in the third quarter – and Winston had the most egregious one. He slipped on the turf and no matter how many times it’s replayed, there’s no explaining how the ball came free from his hands.
Oregon scored 28 points off Florida State’s turnovers, which was the story of the game. The game was long over, for everyone but Winston.
"It was never over," Winston said. "Honestly, it was never over. We just got beat, turned the ball over too many times. But it still ain’t over yet. We can go and play again, honest."
Next season, sure. But that’s not a given for Winston, the former Heisman Trophy winner. It’s unclear whether he’ll be back next year or leave early for the NFL.
"I’m not focused on that at all," Winston said. "I’m looking forward to next season and playing baseball. So I’m just trying to get better every day."
Before he sat down at the press conference, he hugged Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher.
Winston was the same defiant, too-confident quarterback we’ve come to know, much to our chagrin.
— Jill Painter Lopez (@jillpainter) January 2, 2015
A 29-game Florida State win streak was snapped with authority, and Winston couldn’t give credit where credit was due. Sure, it’s crushing, heartbreaking and disappointing.
It’s also an opportunity to be humble and learn that in failure we can learn our most valuable lessons.
Oregon had 301 rushing yards and scored every time it was in the red zone.
Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota was the better quarterback.
He has been gracious in wins and defeats. He’s the consummate leader. When Oregon lost to Arizona this year, Mariota said: "I just have to learn from my mistakes. We had a lot of miscommunication errors and, obviously, the turnovers. That’s on me. That stuff I can always get better on."
Winston hasn’t changed, even in an embarrassing defeat.
He didn’t plan on gaining a measure of humility, either.
A photo posted by Jill Painter Lopez (@jillpainterlopez) on
After one turnover, the always controversial quarterback and Fisher exchanged words. It appeared, via lip reading, that Fisher was caught on camera saying: "If you don’t calm the (expletive) down, you’re going to the bench."
Fisher brushed off the heated verbal exchange. ".. He gets animated but he’s not – it wasn’t words," Fisher said. "Wasn’t words at all. One of the receivers on the play in which he slipped, on which he fumbled, the guy fell down on the route.
Asked if, in fact, he wasn’t trying to calm an agitated Winston, Fisher said: "Yes, but he always gets animated when he talks. He does it when he’s playing good. That’s just his nature."
It’s not in his nature to accept defeat. We’d think more of him if he did.
Success is learning from failures.
A competitive fire is necessary but being gracious in defeat signifies character.
It would’ve been nice, but that’s asking too much.
A few Oregon players weren’t gracious in victory, either, when they clearly mocked Winston with a tomahawk chop and "no means no" chant. Winston was accused of sexual assault in 2012 but charges were not filed in the case.
— Bear Heiser (@BearHeiser) January 2, 2015
Winston has been the subject of endless controversy.
Oregon plays in the championship game, and Florida State is done.
It’s over. And Winston used this game to disappoint one more time. More in his behavior off the field than his play on it.
He used a question about Mariota and turned it into another head-scratching moment.
"He’s a fantastic player. Got to tip your hat off to him because he won the game," Winston said. "He led his team to victory. That’s the most important part."
Winston could’ve and should’ve stopped there, but he continued.
"I mean, we played our tails off, too, man," Winston said. "This game could have went either way. If everybody in this room just wants to be real with themselves, this game could have went either way. We turned the ball over a lot. We beat ourself. Just be real with yourself right now. We beat ourself."
And let’s be real, Winston is still the same immature, egotistical quarterback we’ve all come to know with the shove of a referee, table-top rant and endless miscues.
If Winston played his last football game at Florida State, it was more of a disappointing ending off the field than on it.