|Mike Stewart/Associated Press|
|Florida State QB Jameis Winston improved his Heisman hopes and the Seminoles' BCS aspirations Saturday night.|
The Clemson-Florida State matchup was one-sided Saturday night; so was the Tajh Boyd-Jameis Winston quarterback battle.
Winston and the Seminoles embarrassed Boyd and the Tigers 51-14 in a battle of top-five teams and leading Heisman contenders. The beatdown was such that it's hard to imagine Clemson getting back into the top five at any point this season or Boyd being a Heisman finalist. FSU, meanwhile, thrust itself squarely into the national title hunt, and if Winston wasn't a top-three Heisman candidate before the game, he removed any doubt with his performance.
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Winston (6-foot-4, 228 pounds) was 22 of 34 for a career-high 444 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for a score. Winston was making just his sixth career start, but didn't seem bothered at all by the magnitude of the game. He showed off his arm strength, his mobility and his preternatural calm in the pocket.
Winston threw two TD passes in the first half, which ended with FSU leading 27-7. He basically put the game on ice when he connected with Rashad Greene on a 72-yard catch-and-run 1:27 into the second half.
FSU finished with 564 total yards, 30 first downs and was 8 of 12 on third down.
Boyd (6-1, 225) played one of his worst games since he became the starter at the beginning of the 2011 season. He finished 17 of 37 for 156 yards, with one touchdown and two picks. Perhaps his only poorer game as a starter came against South Carolina near the end of the 2011 season; he was 11-of-29 for 83 yards, one TD and one pick in that one.
Boyd is a three-year starter, but he looked uncomfortable from the start against Florida State. Clemson lost a fumble on the first play, and FSU scored quickly. The turnover seemed to fluster Boyd. His mechanics broke down, he made poor reads and he appeared jittery in the pocket. If a scout was looking for reasons not to draft Boyd in the first round, he saw those reasons Saturday night.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at email@example.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.