Jameis Winston wasn't all that sharp Thursday night, but he still threw for 401 yards and three touchdowns as No. 2 Florida State thumped Louisville 42-31.
Winston finished 25-of-48, and the yardage total was the second-highest of his career; he also threw a career-high three interceptions. Winston faced consistent pressure from Louisville's pass rush and seemed to be limping for most of the second half. While his 52.0 completion percentage was the lowest of his career, he also had four completions of at least 30 yards and did a solid job of spreading the ball around.
He was helped out immeasurably in the second half by true freshman tailback Dalvin Cook, who ran for 110 yards and two touchdowns and provided a huge spark for what had been a stagnant running game. Cook gives FSU a big-play threat at tailback; starter Karlos Williams is a downhill runner who lacks breakaway speed. True freshmen scored four touchdowns for FSU, as wide receivers Ermon Lane and Travis Rudolph had scoring receptions.
Winston was 10-of-22 for 123 yards and two interceptions in the first half; he threw an interception on his first attempt of the second half, but Louisville safety Gerod Holliman -- who had two picks and now leads the nation with 10 -- fumbled it back after a short return.
FSU was scoreless on its first five drives of the night, with three punts and two interceptions. But beginning with the last drive of the first half, Winston led the Seminoles to touchdowns on six of their next eight drives; of the non-touchdown drives, one ended on downs and another in a rare missed field goal by sophomore kicker Roberto Aguayo.
Winston and the Seminoles rolled up 574 yards against what had been the nation's No. 1 defense. Louisville came in allowing 245.8 yards per game and had surrendered more than 300 yards only once all season. FSU also was 9-of-16 on third down, while Louisville was 1-of-11.
The victory was FSU's 24th in a row overall and its 20th in a row in ACC play.
The loss spoiled a huge night by Louisville senior wide receiver DeVante Parker. Working for much of the game against FSU star cornerback P.J. Williams, Parker had eight receptions for 214 yards. Michael Dyer also continued his rebirth, rushing for 134 yards and three TDs. That gives Dyer -- who was the offensive MVP of the BCS national championship game after the 2010 season while playing for Auburn -- 307 yards and four touchdowns in the past two games.
Mike Huguenin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.