TALLAHASSEE — FSU QB Jameis Winston was selected as the ACC's overall and offensive player of the year Wednesday, one day after he was named league rookie of the year.
Winston is the first redshirt freshman in the 61-year history of the league to win player of the year, receiving 47 of 65 votes from members of the ACC Sports Media Association. Boston College RB Andre Williams was second with 13 votes. Pitt DT Aaron Donald was voted the ACC defensive player of the year.
Winston is the sixth Seminole to win the overall award and the first since Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke in 2000. He was also named a Walter Camp player of the year award finalist.
Winston's 3,490 passing yards 35 touchdown passes are ACC freshman records, and he has the Seminoles headed for the BCS national title game if they beat Duke in the ACC Championship Game on Saturday.
"It's easier (to focus) because when your team has the same goal in your mind, you become hungry for it. You don't become lackadaisical and like, 'Oh, we're almost there,' " Winston said. "That's the mentality that we created this year. It's easier because we're hungry."
USF: Motivating the D
TAMPA — Thanks in part to a unique motivational ploy from its coordinator, USF's defense has spent the final stretch of the season playing out of its mind instead of playing out the string.
With tension mounting in early November, veteran coordinator Chuck Bresnahan challenged his group to finish the last four games among Division I-A's top 10 in total defense.
"We reached a point where there was some frustration building in … it can really, really tear a team apart and a unit apart," he said. "So we tried to give them something to focus on."
Since then, the Bulls have allowed an average of 265.7 yards in three games, which would rank third, behind only Michigan State and Louisville, if it held up over the course of the season.
"We've always had something to play for," senior DT Luke Sager said, "but then having this as one of our goals definitely helped us come out to practice and come to the games and play harder."
In USF's last four contests, opposing offenses have been held to at least 99 yards below their season average..
"It's really a seniors' challenge and everybody's bought into it, wants to send 'em out the right way," Bresnahan said. "And the best way to do it is to worry about something you can control."
Joey Knight, Times staff writer
UCF: Bracing for cold
ORLANDO — Forecasts are calling for temperatures in the low 30s, freezing rain and possible "wintry mix" in Dallas when UCF plays Southern Methodist.
The Knights are not used to cold weather; QB Blake Bortles said he has never seen snow in person before. But the message from coach George O'Leary to the players is to worry about what they can control.