Rashad Greene caught 11 passes for a career-high 203 yards and a touchdown, and the top-ranked and defending national-champion Seminoles overcame a pair of Jameis Winston interceptions to top gritty Oklahoma State, 37-31, in the Cowboys Classic on Saturday night.
Winston completed nine of his first 10 passes for 117 yards as the Seminoles raced out to a 17-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Cowboys later clamped down on the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, however, and found themselves within 30-24 and with the ball at their own 44-yard line with 5:13 remaining.
Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh, though, was undercut by P.J. Williams on the second play of the drive, sending him cartwheeling onto the turf as the ball came loose and the Seminoles recovered.
Winston fired a 50-yard touchdown pass to Greene two plays later, as the elusive wideout took a slant pass and raced through the middle of the secondary for a 37-24 FSU margin with 3:58 left.
The Pokes quickly answered, as Walsh's 3-yard TD sprint cut the gap to 37-31 with 1:55 to play. The Seminoles ran out the remaining time on their ensuing touch to escape with the victory.
"We're still a work in progress," FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. "It's not about being great, it's about playing great."
Winston finished 25-of-40 for 370 yards and added an electrifying 28-yard touchdown run.
The Seminoles (1-0), who set an FBS record with 723 points scored a year ago, lost two receivers, including first-round draft choice Kelvin Benjamin, two running backs and a center to the NFL.
Greene was one of the holdovers at wide receiver, and he was targeted 20 times. FSU hopes that one out of the crop of young wideouts will emerge as the season goes along. Karlos Williams was held to 66 yards rushing on 23 carries.
Florida State was just 4-of-14 on third down after converting on 52 percent of those situations last year.
"We've got to get better," Winston said.
The national title game will take place in Arlington on January 12 in the first season of the new College Football Playoff.
Walsh completed 15-of-27 passes for 203 yards with a touchdown and interception and added 51 yards and a pair of scores on the ground for Oklahoma State (0-1), which went 10-3 and lost in the Cotton Bowl last season.
"You don't ever know what to expect with so many young players on the field," Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy said of his offense.
A busted coverage in the secondary from FSU led to David Glidden's easy 55- yard score to get the Cowboys within 20-17 early in the third.
The Seminoles were handed a first down on a 3rd-and-11 from the Cowboys' 43 when Ashton Lampkin was flagged for holding. Winston then darted through the middle on a quarterback draw, hurdled an offensive lineman and sidestepped Seth Jacobs at the 10 before diving across the end zone for his 28-yard TD run and a 27-17 FSU advantage.
Walsh answered Winston's burst with a 24-yard scamper of his own to pull the Pokes within 27-24 early in the fourth. Roberto Aguayo booted through a 37- yard field goal for the Seminoles' 30-24 spread.
Earlier, Aguayo capped Florida State's opening 10-play, 40-yard march with a 36-yard field goal and Nate Andrews intercepted Walsh on the first play of the Cowboys' next touch before easily racing in for a 9-yard score and a 10-0 FSU lead with 8:37 to go in the first.
Winston fired a 51-yard completion to Greene, which highlighted an 8-play, 94- yard sequence that was finished off on Mario Pender's 11-yard TD run for FSU's 17-0 cushion midway through the second.
The Cowboys had tallied just three first downs before moving the chains four times on their opening scoring drive. Walsh flipped a 22-yard completion to Tyreek Hill on a 3rd-and-4 and Desmond Roland plunged in from a yard out to complete the 11-play, 75-yard trek.
Ben Grogan split the uprights from 37 yards out on the final play of the half to get the Pokes within 17-10 heading into the break.
Aguayo kicked a 27-yard field goal on FSU's first touch of the second half.
Winston was 5-of-6 for 101 yards in the fourth quarter ... Florida State tied a school record with its 17th straight win ... The Seminoles outgained the Cowboys, 476-364 ... OK State was 8-of-16 on third down.