If there was any thought Florida State might be looking at an ongoing quarterback controversy, that thought should be erased. Barring injury, Sean Maguire will lead the Seminoles for their final three games.
Maguire came in for starter Everett Golson with 7:32 left in the second quarter with FSU trailing, 17-7. Golson had three turnovers, had thrown for only 52 yards.
Coach Jimbo Fisher had nothing but positives to say about Maguire, especially the difficulty of coming into a game cold.
“That’s not easy to do, to walk in there and do what he did,” said Fisher. “He played an outstanding game and made the plays and we got some rhythm on offense and then we took off.”
FSU immediately went on a 6-play, 64-yard touchdown drive, the first of 27 unanswered points they would score for the remainder of the game. The 34-17 victory closed the Seminoles’ Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, finishing with a 6-2 mark.
Maguire’s statistics of 18 for 28 with 231 yards passing and two touchdowns are impressive, but he adds much more to the offense. He has the stronger arm between the two quarterbacks, which can stretch a defense.
One of the beneficiaries is Dalvin Cook. The Heisman-caliber running back had 28 yards rushing (he missed two series with a minor injury) before Maguire entered. Cook finished with 140 yards on 22 carries.
With the rapid development of freshman running back Jacques Patrick, the offense can be even more effective. Fewer false start penalties would help even more, as FSU was flagged four times.
Maguire gave the first indication he could lead this team when he threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns against Syracuse without Cook in a 45-21 victory. He also performed well last year in relief of Jameis Winston against Clemson. Fisher gave him another chance against Clemson in this season’s biggest game last week.
He gave a credible performance in a hostile environment, but could not complete the big throw that might have made the difference. Still, Cook ran for 194 yards and a touchdown.
It is too early for Fisher to name his starting quarterback for next week, but one of the biggest upsets of the season would occur if Maguire does not line up under center. The coach did not hide his intentions very well after Saturday’s game.
“I thought he did a great job of earning the job today.”
Florida State hosts the Chattanooga Mocs next Saturday in the final home game of the season. Then, it’s off to The Swamp in two weeks, followed by a bowl game.