TALLAHASSEE — When Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston strolled to the sideline after delivering perhaps the best play of his booming career, he saw an all-too familiar look from coach Jimbo Fisher.
"When he has that smirk, he's about to tell me that I did something wrong," Winston said, "but he's also about to tell me, 'Hey, great play.' "
Winston's rush-evading, third-quarter touchdown pass to tight end Nick O'Leary left Fisher smirking and the QB's teammates shrugging after the No. 8 Seminoles' 63-0 demolition of No. 25 Maryland on Saturday in front of 74,909 at Doak Campbell Stadium.
"I don't know how he does it," O'Leary said.
While Winston's play drew only a wry smile from Fisher, FSU's defensive dominance had both of them beaming.
The Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC) recorded their first shutout of the season and handed the Terrapins (4-1, 0-1) a loss that ties for the worst by an Associated Press ranked team in college football history. No. 11 Texas lost 66-3 to UCLA in 1997.
"As good as we played on offense today, I think the defense played better," Fisher said.
Maryland quarterback C.J. Brown entered the game as the conference's leader in total offense (331.5 per game). FSU held him to 6-of-14 passing and a season-low 85 total yards before linebacker Christian Jones and defensive tackle Jacobbi McDaniel knocked him out of the game in the second quarter with a concussion.
Brown's replacement, Caleb Rowe, didn't fare much better, finishing 9-of-17 for 119 yards.
"Not really much to say," Terps coach Randy Edsall said. "We weren't very good."
Maryland only reached FSU territory three times — none in the second half — and never advanced past the 'Noles 33. The Terps had only eight three-and-out drives in their first four games but had five Saturday in their first shutout in five years.
"The defense was clicking," said Winston, who completed 23 of 32 passes with no interceptions. "They kept getting us the ball. When you keep giving our offense the ball, something's going to happen."
That something was Winston. He torched the league's No. 2 scoring defense while setting career highs in passing yards (393) and touchdowns (five).
The Seminoles scored touchdowns on eight consecutive possessions. Five scoring drives covered at least 77 yards. FSU scored more in the second half (42 points) than Maryland had allowed all season (41).
Karlos Williams rushed for two scores, and Winston threw one touchdown to Kenny Shaw and two apiece to fellow receiver Kelvin Benjamin and O'Leary, including one that drew Heisman Trophy buzz on Twitter.
With FSU leading 35-0 late in the third, a Maryland defense that entered Tallahassee tied for the national lead with 17 sacks attacked up the middle. In the end zone, O'Leary saw Winston disappear. But the redshirt freshman broke free of linebacker Yannik Cudjoe-Virgil, rolled right and eluded another defender.
"Being tackled wasn't even in my mind," Winston said.
O'Leary finally saw his quarterback pop out and fire the ball his way. The grandson of golfing great Jack Nicklaus leapt for the 12-yard catch and came down just inside the right sideline to put the game out of reach.
Winston pumped his fist. McDaniel squeezed Edwards and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan so hard he thought he hurt them. Fisher just smirked.
He wanted Winston to get rid of the ball sooner.
Matt Baker can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's one big loss
Biggest margin of losses by teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25:
66-3: No. 11 Texas to UCLA, Sept. 13, 1997
63-0: No. 25 Maryland to No. 8 Florida State, Oct. 5, 2013
62-0: No. 16 Syracuse to No. 4 Virginia Tech, Oct. 16, 1999
61-0: No. 6 Penn to No. 1 Army, Nov. 17, 1945
59-0: No. 2 Notre Dame to No. 1 Army, Nov. 11, 1944
59-0: No. 14 Syracuse to No. 1 Miami, Nov. 17, 2001
59-0: No. 15 South Carolina to No. 5 Florida State, Nov. 5, 1988