On a Saturday filled with instant classics, the clash between Florida State and Notre Dame lived up to the pre-game hype. Two of the nation’s top teams engaged in a seesaw affair late into the 4th quarter, when the host Seminoles took over possession at their own 25-yard line trailing by a field goal. Although quarterback Jameis Winston led the Florida State offense on a long drive down the field, the Seminoles faced a 3rd and 2 situation at the Fighting Irish’s 18-yard line. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher put his quarterback in the shotgun with a wing formation to the right of the offense. Flanker Jesus Wilson came in motion from the right, to the left of the offense. Notre Dame responded with their nickel personnel, and showed blitz on the right edge of the offense with linebacker James Onwualu (#17) and safety Elijah Shumate (#22):
The Fighting Irish blitz Winston on the play from the edge and play Cover 0 in the secondary. The Seminoles implement a designed roll-out with their quarterback, moving the pocket to the offense’s left and away from the two blitzers. Florida State sends two receivers into the secondary as Wilson runs a quick out right at the first-down marker, while split end Rashad Greene runs a deep out near the goal-line. Winston has an opportunity to deliver the ball to the underneath route and secure the first down, but the quarterback hangs in the pocket for a moment longer and delivers a perfect throw to the outside where only Greene can make the reception:
From another angle, you can see just how great of a throw this was from Winston. As he moves to the left he delivers a throw that leads the receiver back towards the line of scrimmage and the sideline. Cornerback Cole Luke can only watch Greene secure the pass and a fresh set of downs:
On the next play the Seminoles scored on a short run and took the lead for good.
While he is a lightning rod for controversy, Jameis Winston demonstrated his ability to make a perfect throw on the big stage at a crucial moment. Passes like this are why, even with his baggage, an NFL team will likely make the quarterback a first-round selection in the 2015 NFL Draft.
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