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Winston news overshadows Seminole win

The SportsXchange

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- If only for a few hours Saturday, the focus for No. 2 Florida State was firmly on football.

That likely won't be the case, however, in the days and weeks ahead.

Smack dab in the middle of Saturday's 80-14 blowout of FBS independent Idaho, the Florida state attorney in Tallahassee, Willie Meggs, curiously issued a statement concerning the fate of the Seminoles' most important player, freshman quarterback Jameis Winston.

Winston is currently under investigation for a 2012 sexual assault that was re-opened last week and has yet to be resolved.

Meggs said that a decision as to whether or not to charge Winston, Florida State's 19-year-old Heisman Trophy favorite, would not come before Thanksgiving as Meggs previously indicated.

Meggs called a resolution to the case in the next week "unlikely."

Instead, Winston's potential legal trouble will continue to hang over the program as the Seminoles prepare to close their regular season next Saturday at rival Florida.

In the meantime, the football field has become Winston's sanctuary from the swam of unwanted attention. And he showed a remarkable ability to block out the distractions Saturday while playing only a little more than a half against the Vandals (1-10).

Winston passed for 225 yards and four touchdowns as the Seminoles set a school record for points against Idaho

"I thought he played well," coach Jimbo Fisher said. "I thought early he had a couple reads he could have pulled the trigger a little quicker, but I thought he played a solid game.

Wintson's performance, in Fisher's eyes, was secondary to sending Florida State's 24 seniors off with a win.

"I'm thankful for these seniors, sending them out the right way," Fisher said. "First undefeated home season we've had in a long time."

The Seminoles are 11-0 for the fourth time in school history and stayed on a crash course for the BCS national title game.

Florida State racked up 336 rushing yards and got huge games from running backs Devonta Freeman, who had 129 yards and a touchdown, Karlos Williams, who added 114 yards and two scores, and James Wilder Jr., who amassed all 85 of his yards on four carries.

Florida State went to halftime ahead, 42-7, after Winston's second of two touchdown passes to Kenny Shaw, who led the Seminoles with 107 yards receiving on five catches.

It was Shaw's first 100-yard game of the season, and it came during his final game at Doak Campbell Stadium.

And on a day when Winston understandably wasn't his usual jovial self while speaking with the media after the game, talking about Shaw did bring a smile to his face.

"Kenny finally got a 100-yard game, which is good," Winston said when asked about Shaw, who has had seven games between 90 and 99 yards this season. "So y'all can finally stop asking him about it."

The Vandals lost their sixth in a row and are 1-32 all-time against ranked teams, including 29 straight defeats since their last Top 25 win in 1947 against Utah.

Florida State was the third undefeated team Idaho faced this season, along with Fresno State and Northern Illinois, and Idaho has dropped those games by a combined 186-63.

The Vandals' only victory came in Week 5 against Temple.

"What do you say (when) you get beat 80-14?" first-year coach Paul Petrino asked aloud. "Those are the best players on the country."

Idaho, which was held to five yards rushing in the first half and finished with a season-low 59, got its first touchdown with 41 seconds left in the half when Taylor Davis hit wide receiver Richard Montgomery for a 15-yard score.

The Vandals' only other touchdown came with 42 seconds left in the game when backup quarterback Joshua McCain found Najee Lovett from 14 yards away.

Petrino said there were some positives he could take away from scoring 14 points on the nation's fourth-ranked defense, which hadn't given up a touchdown in the last 10 quarters coming into Saturday's game.

"I think a few of (our guys) learned; if I was Dezmon Epps, I learned I could play with the best there is," Petrino said of his junior wide receiver, who had a team-high 126 yards receiving on seven catches. "He played against Florida State ... and he held his own.

"We didn't get (the job) done, but guys played their butts off."

Florida State had a season-high seven sacks and was paced by junior defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan, who had six tackles, including 4 1/2 tackles for losses and 2 1/2 sacks.

The Seminoles' No. 1-ranked secondary, meanwhile, intercepted four passes. Linebackers Telvin Smith and E.J. Levenberry recorded pick-sixes, while Keelin Smith and Jacobbi McDaniel also had interceptions.

Davis finished 16-of-38 passing for 221 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. The Vandals' Roman Runner, who switched from wide receiver to defensive back only a week ago, had a game-high 13 tackles and one sack.

With this one in the books, Florida State would like to think the next week will be all about preparing for the Gators and then the Dec. 7 ACC Championship game.

But they know all too well the storm that likely awaits.

"It's about us," Fisher said. "We need to go play well (the rest of the season). That's all we can control."

NOTES: Saturday marked the first meeting between the two schools. ... Idaho received a $950,000 check from Florida State to make the trip to Tallahassee. ... Florida State K Roberto Aguayo, who already broke the ACC record for consecutive extra points in the Seminoles' last game, is 80-for-80 this season. He broke the NCAA mark of 77 straight set by Louisville's Art Carmody in 2004. ... Idaho is playing its final season as an FBS independent before rejoining the Sun Belt Conference next year. ... Florida State's 80 points tied the second-most in ACC history.
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