No. 1 Florida State University had to overcome an emotional week as they lost their key player, Jameis Winston, due to a one-game suspension. Winston, FSU’s go-to quarterback, Heisman Trophy winner, and NFL potential, was forced to sit out due to a vulgar comment that was made on campus earlier this week. The Seminoles had no other choice but to put Winston’s back up, Sean Maguire, in the spotlight as the Noles’ put their 18-0 winning streak at risk. With pressure being on Maguire the entire night, FSU was able to pull a win against Clemson in overtime, 23-17, with Jameis Winston watching from the sidelines.
The FSU-Clemson game was everything it was expected to be without Jameis Winston, and despite FSU’s victory, the game was not an easy one for either team. Clemson knew that they were missing a key factor on their roster and even performed statistically better than FSU in the first half as they outran the Seminoles in yards. Anxious for a win, the Tigers had game-changing mistakes that resulted in the game being close and seat-clenching until the last seconds. Clemson, now No. 22, failed to take advantage of the many opportunities to win this game. Ammon Lakip, Clemson’s kicker, had two missed field goals, which was the six points they needed to have possibly led to a Clemson win and upset over FSU.
At halftime, Clemson was up 10-3, but it could have been 17-3 if the Tigers’ Cole Stoudt did not underthrow a perfect pass to wide open Jordan Leggett, who was yards away from the touchdown. This then set up one of the two missed field goals by Lakip. Soon after, FSU’s Maguire threw an interception close enough to put Clemson into Seminole territory with 2:14 left in the game with the game tied. Clemson had a perfect opportunity for a game-winning play, but that was quickly stripped away from them – literally. The ball was stripped from Clemson’s C.J. Davidson, fumbled, and recovered by FSU with a little over 1:30 left in the game. FSU settled for an overtime victory when Maguire threw a pass to Karlos Williams. Williams ran 12 yards for an FSU touchdown and 23-17 win over Clemson.
All eyes were on FSU’s backup quarterback Sean Maguire as pressure rapidly added up following the suspension of starting quarterback and Seminoles star, Jameis Winston. Winston was initially only suspended for half of the Clemson game, but the decision was then switched to him missing the entire game. During pregame, Seminole fans had to look twice when Winston had his pads on and participated in pregame warm-ups, but he was eventually sent into the locker room to change out of his pads.
Jameis Winston was put into the public eye when he was suspended for making a vulgar comment at the student union while standing on top of a table this past Tuesday. During a press conference days later, Winston apologized for his mistake. However, this was not the first incident that Winston was involved in that made fans question his off-field integrity and behavior. He was also accused of sexual assault last year, but was never charged with a crime. Instead, Winston led the FSU Seminoles to a national title.
While Jameis Winston is still under investigation for potentially violating Florida State’s Code of Conduct, Sean Maguire and the Seminoles have proven that they are an overall talented team without their key quarterback. Despite the first half being in their favor, Clemson failed to finish and take that same mentality into the second half, where FSU wanted the win more.
Commentary by Tricia Manalansan