September 2, 2013 will always go down as a historic date for the Pitt football program.
It didn’t take them long to get their welcome to the ACC moment.
Florida State’s ultra-hyped freshman quarterback Jameis Winston exceeded all the hype in his collegiate debut as he torched the Pitt secondary early and often as the Seminoles made it look easy in a 41-13 in the 2013 season opener for both teams.
Winston put on a clinic, completing 25-of-27 passes for 356 yards and four touchdowns, including connecting on the first 12 pass attempts of his career.
Pitt actually got off to an excellent start as they took the opening kickoff and punched it in with a beautiful nine-play, 80-yard drive that culminated with a Tom Savage four-yard touchdown pass to Manasseh Garner.
Savage was making his first start in over 1,000 days and showed no rust as he showed the arm strength early that the Panthers haven’t seen from their signal caller in quite some time.
But then the rust showed.
On Pitt’s second drive Savage felt the pressure from the Seminoles’ pass rush and forced a pass that was picked off by Jalen Ramsey. Two plays later, Winston threw his first career touchdown pass as h connected with Nick O’Leary, who torched Pitt cornerback K’Waun Williams, with a 24-yard strike.
The game stayed tied at 7 until the second quarter when Florida State broke it open with 21 points.
Winston gave the Seminoles the lead when he connected with O’Leary on a two-yard touchdown and after Pitt made it 14-10 with a Chris Blewitt field goal, the freshman Winston made things happen with his legs as well as he scored on the ground from five yards out, which capped off an impressive 14-play drive.
Savage was picked off again late in the first half, this time by Terrence Brooks, and it didn’t take Winston long to make Pitt pay as it only took three plays for him to hit Rashad Greene with a 23-yard touchdown pass to give Florida State a 28-10 lead at the half.
The two teams exchanged field goals on three third quarter drives as Florida State opened the lead to 34-13 entering the fourth quarter before Winston hit O’Leary with another touchdown pass to open up the lead to 41-13.
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.
Notes: The Panthers were outgained 533-297…Savage finished 15-for-28 for 201 yards with a touchdown and a pair of interceptions…Eight different FSU players caught passes, led by Greene who had eight receptions for 126 yards…Devin Street had a real nice night for Pitt, catching six passes for 141 yards, meaning the rest of the team caught only nine passes for 96 yards…Freshman Tyler Boyd caught two of those for 26 yards, but also led the Panthers in rushing as he took three jet sweeps and showed off his speed by gaining 54 yards… Former Pitt wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald had his number retired before the game.
Photo Credit: Associated Press