Monday, September 2, 2013
Instant analysis: No. 11 FSU 41, Pitt 13
By Andrea Adelson
PITTSBURGH -- No. 11 Florida State overcame an early deficit to handily beat Pitt in the Panthers' ACC debut on Monday night. Here is a look at how the Seminoles won:
It was over when: Jameis Winston took the field. Partially kidding. Pitt scored on the opening drive, and that was about it for the Panthers. Winston, the redshirt freshman quarterback making his first career start, took over the game from there. Winston completed his first 11 passes and scored four first-half touchdowns -- three passing and one rushing. Winston left no doubt -- he has the talent to be a very special quarterback.
Game ball goes to: Winston. He was as close to perfect as you could be for a 19-year-old making his first start, with a national television audience watching. Winston ended up going 25-of-27 for 356 yards, with five total touchdowns and no interceptions. He set the Florida State record for most passing yards by a freshman in his first start.
Stat of the game: 3. Tight end Nick O'Leary set a career high with three touchdown catches. He and Winston had quite a connection working Monday night.
What Florida State learned: Winston is for real. Well, Florida State already knew that. The nation now knows after all the advance hype. After a shaky start, the Noles' defense recovered to post a good showing. You saw a much more aggressive group out there. It cost them a few times, allowing Pitt to make some big plays. But they also got after quarterback Tom Savage all night, not only sacking him but hitting him often. There were some blown assignments but you can see the talent in this group. They will only get better as they get more comfortable in Jeremy Pruitt's new defense.
What Pitt learned: The Panthers do have some talent at the skill positions. Freshman Tyler Boyd looks like he has the makings of being a special receiver. He and Devin Street are players to watch. But the defense really was a disappointment. A group that ranked in the top 20 in the nation a year ago returned the majority of its starters and yet, was completely out of position for most of the night. The secondary -- returning three starters -- did not play up to its potential, leaving Seminoles receivers wide open. If Pitt wants to make some noise in its first ACC season, it is going to have to shore up that defense in a hurry.