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Jameis Winston helps Florida State secure BCS title-game berth

AP Photo/Bob Leverone
Florida State QB Jameis Winston is the front-runner to win the Heisman Trophy.

Jameis Winston threw for 330 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for 59 yards and a score Saturday night as top-ranked Florida State locked up a spot in the BCS national championship game with a 45-0 rout of Duke in the ACC title game.

Winston had been the subject of a sexual-assault investigation stemming from a Dec. 7, 2012 incident -- a year ago Saturday -- but the state attorney in Tallahassee, Fla., announced Thursday that Winston would not be charged.

Voting for the Heisman Trophy ends Monday at 5 p.m. ET, and Winston seems a lock to become the second consecutive redshirt freshman to win the Heisman.

Florida State (13-0) will be in the BCS title game for the fourth time but will be making its first appearance since 2001. FSU is 1-2 in title games, winning after the 1999 season but losing following the '98 and 2000 seasons.

Saturday's performance was Winston's eighth game this season with at least three TD passes. He has thrown 38 TD passes this season; that's an FBS freshman record (the old mark was 36 by Oklahoma's Sam Bradford) and an ACC single-season mark (Clemson's Tajh Boyd threw 36 last season).

Winston and the Seminoles started slowly Saturday, failing to score in the first quarter for the first time this season. But FSU put 17 points on the board in the second quarter, with the first TD coming on a pass from Winston to wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin, and never was challenged in the second half.

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Winston threw two more TD passes and also scored on a 17-yard run in the third quarter. He did throw two interceptions, his ninth and 10th of the season; it was the second time this season he threw two picks in one game (he also did it in a rout of Miami).

Benjamin, a third-year sophomore, had two touchdown grabs and finished with 119 yards on five receptions. He now has 14 TD catches this season and is garnering more and more attention from pro scouts. Benjamin, 23, is 6-foot-5 and 234 pounds, and has proved to be a matchup nightmare in the second half of the season, when he finally has showed some consistency and focus. He has great size and good speed, and is surprisingly nimble for a guy his size.

Florida State rolled up 569 yards of offense, 30 first downs and was 6 of 11 on third-down conversions.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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