On the final play of their final drive in the BCS title game in January, the Florida State Seminoles scored a touchdown that not only earned them their third national title, but also put them in the record books. On the strength of quarterback Jameis Winston’s touchdown pass to receiver Kelvin Benjamin, the ‘Noles scored their 722nd point of the season– a new college football record (Roberto Aguayo would kick the extra point to make the total 723).
That’s how FSU fans remember that iconic moment– those are the players, the contributing cast. But they’re short one man. The play began, of course, with a simple, yet crucial, exchange of the football, from center Bryan Stork to Winston. However undervalued, It was a successful combination that played no small part in Florida State scoring more points than any team in college football history.
As well as Seminole fans got to know the traditional hand-off calls last year — Winston to Freeman, Winston to Wilder, Winston to Williams — often neglected was the foundation of FSU’s potent attack: Stork to Winston. But the former’s effectiveness wasn’t lost on the folks at the Boomer Esiason Foundation, who saw fit to present Stork with the Rimington Award, given annually to the nation’s most outstanding center.
Stork is now gone, departed to the NFL’s New England Patriots. But those in charge of the Rimington Award are nevertheless expecting big things from his replacement, senior Austin Barron– he’s been named to their 2014 Rimington Award Watch List.
The 6-3, 292 lb. Barron joins a veteran FSU offensive line as the only new starter. The expectations are high, and he’ll have to assimilate quickly. Stork has started just five games in his career, and three of those came as a freshman back in 2011. The good news is that he’ll have plenty of help from a unit that may prove the nation’s best and is anchored by left tackle Cameron Erving. And if Barron can come close to Stork’s performance, it could be a big part of the Seminoles making history yet again.