Football

Winston’s Florida St. career could end with 59-20 thumping against Oregon

FSU quarterback Jameis Winston runs for a gain before being knocked out of bounds by Oregon defenders during the second quarter of the Rose Bowl College Football Semifinal game on Thursday.
FSU quarterback Jameis Winston runs for a gain before being knocked out of bounds by Oregon defenders during the second quarter of the Rose Bowl College Football Semifinal game on Thursday. TNS

The career of Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston may have come to a disappointing end on Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.

The 2013 Heisman winner, who would be a junior in 2015, declined to say whether he’ll declare for the NFL draft after the Seminoles were pounded 59-20 by Oregon in the College Football Playoff semifinal.

It was an erratic finish to the season for Winston, who fumbled and threw an interception, his 18th of the season, during a disastrous third quarter in which Florida State turned it over four times. FSU turned it over in five of six consecutive possessions in the second half in which Oregon converted into 35 points.

“I think what he did as a competitor and what he does with his teammates, he’s one of the great players in not only college football, college football history to me,” Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher said after the loss, the Seminoles’ first in more than two years. “He’s only had two years, and what he’s been able to accomplish. It was a tough day out there.”

Winston, who also plays baseball for FSU, said he’s looking forward to playing baseball. Thursday’s loss was the first of his career after starting 27-0.

“I’m not focused on the draft at all,” said Winston, who was certain his team gift-wrapped the win to Oregon.

“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,” he said. “We turned the ball over a lot. We beat ourselves.”

Although that’s debatable, the run of miscues in the third quarter allowed the Ducks (13-1) to pull away.

“The turnovers create momentum and bad momentum, and you’re able to feed on that,” Fisher said. “If you look at any game or any sport, how the swings and the momentum swings are critical, and it’s hard to change them back, especially when you play good people like Oregon.”

Fisher seemed as unsure about Winston’s future as does the media.

“He’s a tremendous player, tremendous competitor, tremendous person,” Fisher said. “Have to wait and see what the future holds.”

Don’t see that often

Marcus Mariota, Oregon’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, threw an interception in the second quarter.

It was only his third interception in 397 career pass attempts.

Moments later, FSU kicker Roberto Aguayo hit the upright on a 54-yard field goal attempt on the last play of the first half. It was only his fourth career miss in 52 attempts.

Mariota recovered in the second half, completing 8 of 10 passes for 181 yards and two touchdowns.

Turnovers plague FSU

Florida State was tied for 109th out of 125 teams with 27 turnovers before the Rose Bowl.

Add five more to that unseemly total, putting them close to the most in the country with 32. New Mexico State led the nation with 34 turnovers.

Key stats

3.8 Plays per minute for Oregon’s offense in the first half, on pace to run 96 plays. It slowed in the second half and Oregon finished with fewer plays than FSU 87-81.

25-1 The combined records for Oregon (12-1) and Florida State (13-0) entering the Rose Bowl, the second-best combined record for Rose Bowl competing teams. Texas and USC were both 12-0 in 2006.

39 Point margin of victory, the largest in the Rose Bowl since Michigan beat Stanford 49-0 in the inaugural Rose Bowl in 1902.

Briefly

▪ Oregon receiver Devon Allen was injured on the opening kickoff and left the field in wheelchair with a wrap on his right knee.

▪ Florida State’s All-American tight end Nick O’Leary injured his hamstring during warmups and finished with just one reception in limited action.

Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760

Twitter: @StevensonFWST

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