Florida State QB Jameis Winston exceeds the hype in opener

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Those who wondered whether Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston could possibly live up to the hype can stop wondering. Going by his performance Monday night against Pittsburgh, the hype may have been understated.

Winston and the Seminoles blasted Pitt, 41-13, spoiling the Panthers' first game as a member of the ACC. Pitt scored first, driving 80 yards on its possession, but Winston quickly took over and FSU rolled.

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Winston finished 25-of-27 for 356 yards and four touchdowns and also scored on a 5-yard run before sitting down midway through the third quarter. Winston was 17-of-18 for 240 yards and three TDs in the first half; his only incompletion in the half was a pass a receiver caught out of bounds.

EJ Manuel, the man Winston replaced at quarterback, threw for 350 yards only twice in his career.

Florida State enjoyed a big advantage in athleticism, and Winston took advantage of it, frequently finding tight end Nick O'Leary and wide receivers Rashad Greene and Kelvin Benjamin running wide open. Pitt chose not to use much press coverage and Winston picked apart a Panthers secondary that returned three starters.

Perhaps former FSU and NFL QB Danny Kanell was right on target with his high praise for Winston.

Winston and FSU don't play again until Sept. 14, when Nevada visits Tallahassee.

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

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