TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – After watching Sean Maguire throw for 53 yards and two touchdowns in relief of the injured Deondre Francois on Friday, Jimbo Fisher smiled and said, “His parents ought to be the proudest parents on earth.”
What luck, then, that Maguire’s parents – Kevin and Tina – were in town to see FSU’s 45-7 win over Boston College, having traveled from their home in New Jersey to participate with Sean in Senior Day ceremonies.
But while the Maguires likely figured that the pre-game festivities would be the highlight of their evening, they had no way to know what was in store.
“It was great,” Maguire said. “Especially it being Senior Day. You never know when your number is called.”
It’s no secret that this year hasn’t been easy for Maguire.
A fifth-year senior, Maguire entered the season competing with Francois to be Florida State’s starting quarterback.
But a foot injury suffered by Maguire just a week into fall camp – and a few months after breaking his foot in the Peach Bowl last season – ended the race before it ever really started. Francois took control of the job and hasn’t let go.
As a result, Maguire came into Friday’s game against Boston College having thrown just two passes all season.
“It’s been tough, obviously,” Maguire said. “It’s one of those things where you just have to be ready. The situation (is difficult), but I’m mature enough to understand the situation I’m in. And that’s why I prepare every week like I’m going to play, and that’s why I think everybody on this team respects me.”
Maguire’s attitude and preparation paid off late in the third quarter Friday, when Francois was hit late by a Boston College defender.
The play was penalized, but Francois got up slowly and favored his right shoulder.
So Maguire grabbed his helmet and made his way into the huddle, where he saw more than a few familiar faces.
Maguire played in eight games a year ago and was FSU’s full-time starter by the end of the season.
He’s known most of FSU’s linemen, especially center Alec Eberle, left tackle Roderick Johnson and right guard Wilson Bell, for years.
“It was awesome to go back out there and go in the huddle, get the fist bump from the linemen,” Maguire said. “It was pretty special.”
What came next wasn’t so bad, either.
With Florida State holding a 28-0 lead late in the third quarter, Fisher got Maguire going by dialing up three straight passes.
After throwing a screen pass that lost six yards, Maguire then uncorked a deep ball that sophomore receiver Auden Tate hauled in for a 28-yard gain down the left sideline.
One play later, he connected with Tate for a six-yard touchdown pass – his first since the fourth quarter of last year’s Peach Bowl.
“Yeah, it’s been a while since I got out there and played meaningful snaps,” Maguire said. “But after a few plays you get right back in the rhythm.”
Turns out Maguire wasn’t done, either.
He tossed another touchdown – a six-yarder to fellow senior Freddie Stevenson – for a score that gave FSU a 45-0 lead, and he finished with two of his five completions going for touchdowns.
After the game, Maguire was the man of the hour. He did postgame radio interviews on the field, then made his way toward the locker room, where a crowd of fans waited to applaud and show their appreciation.
His teammates and coaches did the same.
“It means a lot, and he needs to be rewarded for what he did and how he fought back to be here for the team,” running back Dalvin Cook said. “For him to be rewarded with touchdowns, I wish we could get him more.”
Added Fisher: “That guy right there is salt of the earth, and whatever you ask him to do, … (he says) ‘Yes, sir, I’ll do it,’ and he goes in and performs every time.
“He goes in with a lot of heart and a lot of toughness. Just very proud and happy for him.”
Fisher said he expects Francois to play at Syracuse. But with three games left to play, including another at home, it’s entirely possible that Maguire has more chapters to write in his story at Florida State.
But regardless of how things play out, Maguire will be hard-pressed to top his experience from Friday night.
“I was extremely happy. …” Fisher said. “Just very happy and proud for him.”