TALLAHASSEE — For the first two games of No. 8 Florida State's season, all eyes were on redshirt freshman Jameis Winston, the quarterback who, after back-to-back commanding wins highlighted by record-breaking accuracy, had given the Seminoles a reason to be hopeful for big success.
But in a 54-6 win against Bethune-Cookman on Saturday at Doak Campbell Stadium, the Seminoles' 266 rushing yards, coupled with two touchdowns through the air, showed that Florida State can make a statement in a variety of ways.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher talked about the importance of balance to a successful offense.
"It makes people in the red zone have to cover," he said. "You can't just load up and rush the passer, or you can't just play the run. … Having balance is the key."
Six offensive players had at least one touchdown for FSU. Winston had two touchdown passes and newly installed running back Karlos Williams had two rushing.
Williams was moved from safety last week in Florida State's win against Nevada, during which he recorded his first offensive touchdown. Against the Wildcats, Williams had 1- and 3-yard TD runs.
Williams' 83 yards were second-best on the night for the Seminoles, as Devonta Freeman added 112 yards and a touchdown which finalized FSU's 33-0 halftime lead with 1:33 to go before the break.
They shared the spotlight Saturday. But Williams insists spreading the ball around is always seen as a positive.
"We all know we have big-play ability," Williams said. "We know that everybody's going to eat. We know that everybody's going to carry that load."
Despite the offensive success, everything wasn't smooth for the Seminoles from the start.
Bethune-Cookman had four first downs in its first drive, which took 6:21 before linebacker Telvin Smith intercepted former Jefferson High star Quentin Williams on third and long and took it back 68 yards for a touchdown.
The Seminoles, whose first drive ended in a 45-yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo, had trouble stopping the Wildcats in the first quarter, but an interception and a sack for a major loss kept B-CU out of scoring range.
The defense went on to score nine of FSU's 33 first-half points after a James Wilder Jr. fumble was recovered by B-CU on the 3-yard line, and a holding penalty against the Wildcats in the end zone resulted in a safety.
B-CU had 71 yards on its first two drives, but for the rest of the first half, the Wildcats never again replicated that success. Bethune-Cookman went into halftime with 115 total yards, 58 by running back Anthony Jordan.
On their first drive of the second quarter, the Wildcats ended Florida State's bid for its first shutout this season with a 12-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 5-yard run from quarterback Jackie Wilson. Jonathan Cagle missed the extra point and the Wildcats had no more points to show for 242 offensive yards.
Winston saw a single drive — ending with a 19-yard touchdown to Rashad Greene — in the second half, and completed 10 of 19 passes for 148 yards.
Jacob Coker replaced him on FSU's next drive and hit Kenny Shaw with a 29-yard pass on his first play. Three plays later, Williams scored the first of his two touchdowns.
Next week, Florida State has a chance to become 2-0 in the ACC when it travels to take on Boston College (2-1). The Seminoles, despite their third big win, are far from perfect, Fisher said. But ready or not, their next test is around the corner.
"It better be (ready)," Fisher said. "It's coming in seven days."