Associated Press Release
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston passed for 356 yards and four touchdowns in a spectacular debut and No. 11 Florida State dominated Pittsburgh 41-13 on Monday night.
Winston was nearly flawless, completing 25 of 27 passes and running for 25 yards and a score as the Seminoles gave the Panthers a rude welcome to the Atlantic Coast Conference. Rashad Greene caught eight passes for 126 yards and a score and Nick O'Leary hauled in three touchdown passes for Florida State.
The Panthers had been pointing to the opener from the moment the program announced the move from the Big East to the ACC nearly two years ago. Playing in front of a rare sell-out, Pitt simply couldn't keep up with the defending league champions.
Tom Savage passed for 201 yards and a touchdown for Pitt but also threw a pair of interceptions.
Florida State kicks off its 2013 season with a primetime Labor-Day night showdown at conference newcomer Pitt, live at 8 p.m. nationally on ESPN.
Offense Key Players:
Profile of FSU Quarterback, Jameis Winston #5: The nation watched and waited as Jameis Winston and Jacob Coker competed throughout fall camp for the right to start FSU's 2013 opener and Winston did enough to earn the start and become the first redshirt freshman quarterback to open the year as the 'Noles starter since Drew Weatherford in 2005.
Now that the job is his, the next step is to win his first game. To do so, the 'Noles' electric young playmaker must avoid turnovers and manage the offense in a hostile environment Winston's never seen before.
FSU coach Jimbo Fisher thinks Winston is better off starting his career on the road, as opposed to the friendly confines of Doak Campbell Stadium.
"My personal opinion, it is better for me to be on the road than at home," Fisher said. "I think there's less distractions."
Profile of Pitt Wide Receiver, Devin Street #15: A near-1,000 yards receiver a season ago as an All-Big East second team selection, Devin Street enters his first year in the ACC as the offensive player to watch for Pitt.
They have a great receiver -- [Devin] Street -- who is a playmaker," a mindful Jimbo Fisher said this week.
While the Panthers are a run-first team, Street could post big numbers thanks to the play-action game and big arm of new starting quarterback Tom Savage, who was recruited at one point by Fisher before originally enrolling and playing as a freshman at Rutgers in 2009.
Against a 'Noles defense with a lot of moving parts susceptable to some first-game jitters and potential communications issues, Street could find himself with unique opportunities to stretch the field and update the scoreboard.
Defense Key Players:
Profile of FSU Defensive Tackle, Timmy Jernigan #8: Much has been made about the off-season changes to Florida State's defense with the loss of Mark Stoops to Kentucky and the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt from Alabama. And while Pruitt's new multiple-style aggressive defense has some specific differences from Stoops' tradional schemes, there's one core principle that remains the same -- and it all starts up front.
All of the blitzing that FSU will throw at Pittsburgh revolve around a central theme of junior nose guard Timmy Jernigan eating up blockers. As FSU's star in the middle, Jernigan is resposible for occupying two blockers and freeing up his teammates to get after the quarterback and into the opposing backfield.
Against a quarterback like Savage, who is not known for his scrambling ability and athleticism, Jernigan has the chance to collapse the pocket and cause problems for the Panthers' offense
Profile of Pitt Defensive Lineman, Aaron Donald #97: The Big East Conference's leader in tackles for loss a season ago, Aaron Donald had a breakout junior campaign in 2012 for the Panthers. Now a senior and the driving force of a stout Panthers defense, Donald will be a key player for Pitt in its quest to combat the 'Noles' veteran offensive line and stable of stellar tailbacks.
"They do a great job of supporting and playing the run," Fisher said. "Very few big plays; a few teams have gotten some on them but not very many. They're very sound fundamentally, mixing blitzes a lot. They're very game-plan oriented on how they do things."
Pittsburgh finished last year ranked 18th in the nation in total defense with a little more than 330 yards allowed each game. With Donald leading the charge in the middle, the Panthers were actually best in the final frame of games, giving up just 52 total points in the fourth quarter.