Top-ranked Florida State held off a scrappy Oklahoma State team to win the season opener 37-31 on Saturday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington.
The Cowboys held Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and the Seminoles to just a field goal on Florida State’s 1st possession. But when OSU got it back for their 2nd try, they had to start on their own 3 yard line after a muffed kickoff return.
On the 1st snap, Pokes quarterback J.W. Walsh threw it right to Florida State cornerback Nate Andrews, who easily high-stepped it 9 yards into the end zone for the touchdown and the Seminoles led 10-0 midway through the 1st quarter.
Later, it looked like the Cowboys had recovered a Carlos Williams fumble, but the ‘Noles running back was ruled down. And, on the very last play of the opening period, Winston found a wide open Christian Green for a 62 yard pass play to the OSU 13 yard line, after beating Cowboys safety Tre Flowers.
But 3 snaps into the 2nd quarter, the Pokes 1st time starter at linebacker, Seth Jacobs, made a great interception of a Jameis Winston pass – and it was still 10-0 Florida State. OSU only had 28 yards of total offense in the opening stanza, while Florida State gained 124 total yards.
After spotting Florida State a quick 10-0 lead when J.W. Walsh’s pass was intercepted and run back 9 yards for a touchdown by Nate Andrews, the Cowboys looked in danger of falling into a bigger hole until linebacker Seth Jacobs intercepted a Jameis Winston pass early in the 2nd period.
But OSU’s offense couldn’t do anything – and the top-ranked Seminoles marched 94 yards to take a 17-0 lead on Mario Pender’s 11 yard scoring run midway thru the second quarter.
That’s when the Cowboys decided they’d had enough. Mike Gundy’s team finally woke up and the offense put together a very efficient 75 yard drive in 11 plays with the scoring run a 1 yard plunge by Desmond Roland and it was 17-7 FSU with under 4 minutes left in the half.
On the next series, OSU linebacker Emmanuel Ogbah sacked Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston for a 7-yard loss and the crowd wearing orange went nuts! Late in the half, a briliant interception by OSU’s Ashton Lampkin of a Winston pass right in front of the Cowboys bench, set up the Pokes with another chance at points.
And kicker Ben Grogan toed through a 37 yard FG as the time expired to end the half, getting his team right back in the ballgame, with Florida State going to the lockerroom up 17-10.
After Florida State took a 20-10 lead early in the quarter, OSU zipped 76 yards in less than a minute…with the scoring play a 55-yard touchdown pass from J.W. Walsh to David Glidden, who was open by some 20 yards.
Walsh was 15 of 27 passing for 203 yards.
The Cowboys actually had a chance to take their first lead of the night, when Walsh just missed Jhajuan Seales in the end zone on a play that could’ve been called pass interference on Florida State’s P.J. Williams. On the next play, OSU botched the punt snap – and even though the Pokes recovered the fumble, Florida State began the drive on it’s own 44 yard line.
There were two controversial plays after that. On 3rd down and 11 at the OSU 43 yard line, it looked like OSU had stopped Winston on a scramble and would get the ball back. But the Cowboys Ashton Lampkin was called for defensive holding, giving Florida State an automatic first down at the OSU 28. On the very next play, the Heisman Trophy winner – Winston – unleashed a brilliant 28 yard touchdown run. But replay showed his knee was down at the OSU 1-yard line and he fumbled when crossing the goal line. However the replay official said the touchdown play would stand…and Florida State had their 27-17 lead as boos rained down on the field from the irate OSU fans.
Winston finished 25 of 40 passing for 370 yards, but also threw two interceptions.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys drew within three again when J.W. Walsh scored on a 24-yard touchdown run to make it 27-24 Seminoles.
A Seminole field goal made it 30-24, then a Cowboy turnover appeared to be the final straw.
Walsh fumbled at the Seminole 48, and it took FSU just two plays to score, as Winston found Rashad Greene for a 50-yard touchdown to make it 37-27 Florida State.
Greene had 11 catches for 203 yards.
The Cowboys weren’t done yet, though, as Tyreek Hill returned the ensuing kickoff to the FSU 39-yard line.
Hill compiled 278 all-purpose yards in his Cowboys debut.
From there, it took OSU seven plays to score, with Walsh getting in the end zone from three yards out to make it 37-31 Florida State with 1:55 to play.
Walsh finished with 51 yards rushing on 11 carries.
OSU’s defense needed a stop to get the ball back, but a defensive holding penalty against the Cowboys and a Seminole first down allowed FSU to run out the clock and survive to hold on to win 37-31.
The Seminoles have won 17 in a row.
OSU will host Missouri State next Saturday at 2:30 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.