When Auburn grabbed an early 21-3 lead against Florida State, the college football world was in temporary shock. The Seminoles were 10.5-point favorites and had a Heisman Trophy winner leading a prolific offense that topped 50 points seven times during the season. Why was FSU sputtering so badly against a porous Auburn defense? After Nick Marshall’s 4-yard TD run with 5:01 left in the half, Florida State was getting outgained 225-85. These were its 1st half possessions to that point:
|13:31||1||03:38||FSU 23||9||59||Field Goal Good|
Two 3-and-outs, one strong opening drive, one fumble. Twenty-three plays for 85 yards in 25 minutes. Was this an SEC speed thing? Was Florida State’s awesome regular season one big mirage because the ACC was so terrible?
Perhaps a little bit of both. Florida State used a fake punt as a springboard to a game-saving touchdown drive late in the first half, cutting the deficit to 21-10. But to start the second half, FSU went 3-and-out.
Then, this happened:
That’s star receiver FSU Kelvin Benjamin telling Winston and coach Jimbo Fisher that Auburn offensive coach Dameyune Craig was stealing offensive signals. How would Craig know them? He was the QB coach for the Seminoles from 2010-2012.
Florida State countered this by using towels to prevent Auburn from seeing what plays FSU was calling. Fisher addressed the issue after the game:
“They had a couple of our signals a couple times and were getting to them,” Fisher said Monday. “That happens, people do it, and that’s our fault. You’ve got to change them, constantly rotate them, being able to get them in different ways. That’s part of the game. I don’t have a problem with that.”
After FSU went to the towels, the offense magically clicked, Winston begin to find his receivers, and mounted a stirring rally. FSU won, 34-31, on a Winston touchdown pass in the final minute.
Craig has yet to comment. [H/T: Lee; towel photo via CBS Sports]
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