By Bob Thomas, Associate Sports Information Director
ARLINGTON, Texas – At the pace Rashad Greene established with his season-opening performance against Oklahoma State, the senior wide receiver improved his chances of re-writing some of the oldest records in FSU history.
Greene collected 11 receptions for a career-high 203 yards, but more importantly, delivered the knockout blow with a 50-yard catch-and-dash for the clinching touchdown with 3:58 remaining in the 37-31 victory.
“Rashad is a game-changer…and that’s something our team needed, was a good touchdown from him,” quarterback Jameis Winston said, after squeezing a pass in a tight window on Greene’s game-breaker. “He made a great play and took it to the house.”
Greene has made a bunch already, and continues to climb FSU’s career lists, closing in on many of Hall of Famer Ron Sellers’ marks which have stood since 1968.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher had high praise for the senior, whom he describes as quiet and unassuming.
“But he can play the game like a silent assassin,” Fisher said. “We found ways to get him the ball when he had to, and he made plays when he had to. He’s a big-time player; a tremendous human being.”
The consummate team player, Greene doesn’t seek the spotlight, but he has earned his place among FSU’s all-time greats.
“I work hard,” Greene said. “I’m not in it for attention. I don’t need attention. I just do my job and I try to help others on my team. At the end of the day, that’s what I’m here for. That’s what Coach Fisher gave me a scholarship to come be a receiver and catch the football. If that’s me making a catch a game, or 11 catches a game, I’m going to do that job to the best of my ability.”
Few have done it better, and that list continues to get shorter.
HEAVY HEART DOESN’T DETER WILLIAMS
Senior tailback Karlos Williams had a lot on his mind when he made his first career start in the backfield. Early Saturday he learned that his grandmother, Eva Brown, had passed away.
Williams played on, though perhaps not quite to the level his preseason performance might have indicated. That earned his praise from his teammates and coaches.
“That was just amazing to me,” FSU quarterback Jameis Winston said. “It was my first time playing with a player that lost a family member on the day of his game…It just showed tremendous character of him.”
Despite a pair of early fumbles – nearly of which were lost – Williams turned in a workmanlike effort, rushing for 66 yards on 23 carries and adding a career-high five receptions for 36 yards. A 14-yard kickoff return gave him 116 all-purpose yards on the day.
“We made sure we had his back,” said Winston, who was seen encouraging Williams after his first half fumbles. “Of course, somone is going to be nervous when you lose something so important to you. But…he manned up and he did his job and went out there and played a great game.”
FIRST SIX COMES FROM DEFENSE
Sophomore safety Nate Andrews’ 9-yard interception return for a touchdown and 10-0 lead over the Cowboys marked the first time in 11 seasons that the Seminoles’ first touchdown of the season was scored by the defense. Antonio Cromartie’s 61-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the 2004 season-opener at Miami marked the last time FSU’s first touchdown of the year was scored by the defense.
FIRST TOUCH, FIRST TOUCHDOWN
Redshirt sophomore tailback Mario Pender had not carried a football in a game since his 2011 senior season of high school. He clearly has not forgot how to find the end zone – something he did 49 times over his final two seasons at Cape Coral Island Coast. Sidelined for two seasons by injury and academics, Pender’s first carry in FSU resulted in an 11-yard touchdown run, helping the Seminoles to a 17-0 lead. “This guy is going to be a player,” Jimbo Fisher said of Pender, who rushed for 31 yards on three carries. “We will get him more (carries).”
Defensive end Mario Edwards Jr., from nearby Denton, Texas, and the son of former Seminole cornerback Mario Edwards, isn’t the only legacy player in the starting lineup. True freshman Stephen Gabbard was the starting long snapper when Roberto Aguayo drilled a 36-yard field goal on the opening drive of the game. Gabbard’s father, Steve, was a defensive tackle for the Noles from 1985-88. The elder Edwards is currently FSU’s Director of Player Development. The senior Gabbard served as a graduate assistant on the staff from 1997-99.
ODDS & ENDS
Wearing all-white uniforms for the first time since the 2009 home loss to USF, Florida State snapped a three-game losing streak in the good-guy ensemble…FSU’s 94-yard scoring drive in the second quarter was the longest in AdvoCare Cowboys Classic history…Winston’s 370-yard passing performance – the eighth time over 300 in his career – was also a game record…so was the Seminoles’ 476 total yards, Greene’s 11 receptions and 203 receiving yards…FSU was well-represented in the crowd of 61,521.