Florida State's first game as defending national champions was not an exercise in domination.
Oklahoma State hung with a Seminoles team that looked out of sync at times before a costly fourth-quarter turnover gave Florida State a two-possession lead and ultimately a 37-31 win in Dallas.
After Florida State kicked a field goal to go up 30-24, Oklahoma State had the ball at its own 44-yard-line with just over five minutes left. On the third play of the drive, QB J.W. Walsh, who had been an effective runner for most of the evening, scrambled and flipped over as he was tackled. The ball slipped out of his hand before his elbow hit the ground and Florida State fell on it.
On the second play following the fumble, Heisman-winning QB Jameis Winston threw into traffic to Rashad Greene, who snagged the ball and raced 50 yards for a touchdown and a 37-24 lead.
While Oklahoma State scored with two minutes to go via a Walsh run, it never got the ball back for a chance to win the game.
Winston looked liked his dynamic self in flashes, especially on a nifty 28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter where he hurdled a teammate and immediately sidestepped a defender. However, for the glimpses of Heisman brillaince, there were also moments of ineptness. He threw two interceptions (and nearly a third) and took a couple of sacks that could have been minimized.
He finished 25-39 passing for 370 yards.
The Seminoles' biggest playmaker was Greene. He had 11 catches for 203 yards. For as well as Oklahoma did stopping Florida State's running game, it didn't have an answer for Greene, who seemingly created his own space in Oklahoma State's secondary at will.
While it was a bit more dramatic than expected, the win should do nothing to rattle the Seminoles' bid for a return trip to Dallas in January for the title game of the College Football Playoff. Florida State's immense talent was evident; it just wasn't consistent throughout the entire 60 minutes. And much like the BCS Championship Game in January, the talent came through at the right time. FSU is still penciled in for the College Football Playoff. It just may not be as easy as last year.
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