The Pitt Panthers football team started strong however, it was Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston that stole the show leading his team to a 41-13 victory.
Winston was the difference maker going 25 of 27 for 356 yards, four passing touchdowns and one rushing touchdown against last season’s 17th most successful defensive unit.
“He did a great job,” Florida State Head Coach Jimbo Fisher said. “As long as he keeps the process in mind and working with great habits, he will be fine. That’s what he has to do. It is not about age. It is about habits. If you have good work habits you have good results. You have ability. He does that. I was very pleased with the poise he showed in the pocket. He did a nice job of staying composed, poised and staying in the ball game.”
Panthers Head Coach Paul Chryst knew the game would be a challenge, and that the team will need to improve for the next game.
“That was a good team we played, give them a lot of credit,” Chryst said. “They beat us in a lot of phases. We got beat. I liked the approach of our players. Our guys competed, but we have to do more than that.”
The Panthers won the toss and elected to receive to open the game. Quarterback Tom Savage converted a key third down to Devin Street for 31 yards after two failed rushes. This was the start of a successful drive. On the very next play, wide receiver Tyler Boyd ran the ball for 18 yards – his first play as a Panther. The Panthers would score a touchdown on the drive as Savage found Manasseh Garner.
The score marked an ironic first as Savage became the first quarterback to throw a touchdown for the Panthers as well as against the team. The score against Pitt came from his time at Rutgers.
On Florida State’s first possession, the drive stalled thanks to a Bam Bradley stop on 3rd and 1.
On the Panthers next drive however Savage made his first mistake throwing an interception to Jalen Ramsey, Two plays later Jameis Winston threw a touchdown to Nick O’Leary.
“Personally I left a lot out here,” Savage said. “I think we can improve, but I think our offense is going to be something special this year and I am excited to watch it progress.”
The Seminoles would score again after a three and out from Pitt as Winston and O’Leary connected once again.
The Panthers were able to put more points on the board as kicker Chris Blewitt made a 28 yard field goal, but the Florida State offense responded once again as Winston ran the ball into the end zone from five yards out.
Florida State opened the third with another field goal. Pitt replied with a 39 yard field goal from Blewitt thanks to an athletic eight yard catch from Tyler Boyd. Another Roberto Aguayo field goal padded Florida State’s lead to 34-13 after three quarters.
In the final quarter O’Leary and Winston connected once again, this time for 10 yards to pad the lead. Winston was removed from the game before it ended as the outcome of the game had already been decided.
“I know the reason I was having a good night was because the guys around me were having a better night than I was,” Winston said. “I knew we were going to come out there and lay it out on the line.”
The Panthers will next play on September 14 against New Mexico. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30.
Of note: With a 52 yard reception in the fourth quarter, Devin Street got to 140 receiving yards – a career high.
The Panthers retired Larry Fitzgerald’s number at halftime of the game.
Here is part of the postgame interview with Jameis Winston:
My take: Pitt’s offensive line needs work. As the game wore on, Savage needed to run more. Savage had a great first drive, other wise was rather ordinary. Tyler Boyd probably was the most consistent Panther offensively and his number was not called enough. James Conner, another freshman also had a good debut as well. Devin Street had nice numbers but this is a team effort and the team was not able to stop Winston. The defense did not necessarily do a bad job, Winston was on a mission and could not be tackled, let alone stopped.
Pitt vs Florida State scoring info:
Pitt- Garner 4 yard pass from Savage [Chris Blewitt kick good] 10:50 7-0
FSU- O’Leary 24 yard pass from Winston [Roberto Aguayo kick good] 4:11 7-7
FSU- O’Leary 2 yard pass from Winston [Aguayo kick good] 13:41 14-7
Pitt- Blewitt 28 yard kick 9:18 14-10
FSU- Winston 5 yard run [Aguayo kick good] 2:13 21-10
FSU- Green 23 yard pass from Winston [Aguayo kick good] 0:38 28-10
FSU- Aguayo 22 yard kick 11:08 31-10
Pitt- Blewitt 39 yard kick 4:43 31-13
FSU- Aguayo 28 yard kick 1:12 34-13
FSU- O’Leary 10 yard pass from Winston [Aguayo kick good] 9:32 41-13