Posted: 2:05 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014
By Bud Elliott
When it mattered most, Winston stepped up. But his teammates kept him within range.
Jameis, do you feel like you're living in a dream? Freshman, Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, one minute to go, you lead a last second drive, 13 seconds to go you score a touchdown, and it's your birthday?
JAMEIS WINSTON: I mean, that's a storybook moment right there the way you tried to explain it. I mean, I'm just so excited for our guys, man. It's not really about me. It's about them, I mean, and all I can say now is that we're champions. That's that matters to me. My birthday, I could care less about that, man. But the Heisman, if I didn't have them, I wouldn't be in that predicament anyway. But this championship means so much to me.
Jameis, going into that final drive less than two minutes, what was your feelings? You haven't been in that situation this year. How were you feeling going into that drive?
JAMEIS WINSTON: I was ready. I wanted to be in that situation because that's what great quarterbacks do. That's what the Tom Bradys, Peyton Mannings, Drew Brees, that's what they do. Any quarterback can go out there and perform when they're up 50 0 in the second quarter. That's what you're judged by, especially by your teammates. I'm pretty sure I got more respect from my teammates and the people around mow on that last drive than I got the whole year.
Jameis, on that final touchdown to KB, what was the play called and what were you thinking when you saw him matched up one on one out on the edge?
JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, I ain't going to tell you what the play call is, but I knew it was going to be a touchdown as soon as I stepped up to the line of scrimmage. Any time you see KB one on one, it's a dream come true, the way that guy plays, the way that he wanted it. KB actually got emotional before the game and cried. He teared up. I was like, KB want this, and he kept telling people thank you all for believing in me because KB went through a lot his first two years here and we accepted him and he kept getting better, and he deserved that moment to catch that touchdown.
Jameis, could you just talk about what it means to go down the field and score like that, not only just is it your birthday but to be able to do it against a team from Alabama, I believe four of the last National Championships have come from the state of Alabama. What does it mean to you to be able to do that?
JAMEIS WINSTON: I'm pretty sure people back home are going to say five championships in the state of Alabama because of me being from Alabama. Alabama people are going to try to keep it in their state however they can, but Florida State has the National Championship. It's the national champion. That drive, man, like I say, it really wasn't about me, man. It was about actually last practice before we came to Pasadena we were doing two minute. Coach Fisher kicked me off the field. He kicked me out of practice, and we won that game in two minute.
You struggled in the first half but you really turned things around in the second half becoming very effective. What accounted for that change?
JAMEIS WINSTON: Well, I had to go back to playing Florida State football, and that's one thing that I did in the Duke game, that's one thing that I did in the Miami game. As a quarterback you've got to always believe that you are never bigger than the game, and I was out there, I was so outcome oriented, I was like, man, I'm trying to blow these boys out. I had to remember, hey, I've got to respect the game. I've got teammates around me. I've got a team for a reason, so I can't go out there and do stuff by myself. I took the initiative in the second half, hey, guys, we're here for a reason, and I was like, I'm going to get on my 'A' game, I'm going to start doing what I need to do. We're not going to have any more turnovers. I said, guys, if we don't turn the ball over we're going to win the game, and we had one turnover in the first half and then in the second half we didn't turn the ball over, and we won.
Jameis, coach said you didn't have your 'A' game. What grade would you give that before the last drive?
JAMEIS WINSTON: You said I didn't have my 'A' game. Coach said that was the best game that I played. (Laughter.)
But the last drive, that's a great way to cap off our season. That's the way we wanted to cap off our season. You can ask Telvin here, we didn't want everybody to think - if we would have blew them out, people would be like, oh, Florida State, Auburn had an off game or something like that. But for us to physically line up, match them play by play, they played their best football in the first half, we played our best football, and we had some up and down moments and for us to overcome the adversity to show that, hey, Florida State is in here, and that last drive really showed it?
Was there a moment when you felt settled down?
JAMEIS WINSTON: Yeah, after I fumbled I was good since then. I mean, sometimes like me being a young quarterback sometimes you've got to mess up first for you to be - when I fumbled I was like I can't mess up anymore, guys. If I go out there and throw some people, I already fumbled. Like turnovers is on the column by me, I fumbled the football. I mean, I'm focused, I'm going down here for me. I was like, there's nothing to lose now, I already messed up.
Jameis, Dee Ford, the defensive end from Auburn, said that he felt that they did have you rattled in the first half and second guessing yourself. Did you ever have a moment like that when you were wondering what was going on and what you would have to do to pull it together?
JAMEIS WINSTON: Throughout that whole game I never felt rattled from Auburn's defense or from anything that we were doing. But throughout the whole game I was uncomfortable, but Auburn wasn't the cause of that. It was myself. It was me wanting to do too much instead of doing what I needed to do. And when I focused and locked in and said, Jameis, you need to do what you need to do instead of what they want you to do, you need to do what your team wants you to do, and if Auburn had me rattled, I don't think we would have won the game. I never heard of a young quarterback to be rattled and then come back at the game winning drive. If I was rattled, I think I would have flipped out or something.
Only thing is we're victorious and glad to say Florida State is the national champion again, and I guarantee you we're bringing that swag back. You'd better believe it.
Transcript via BCS.