This Saturday at 4 p.m. on the ACC Network FSU will be back at home to face off with the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Pittsburgh is 3-4 on the year with wins against Austin Peay, Syracuse and Louisville. The losses came against North Carolina State, Boston College, Miami and Notre Dame.
Florida State is 4-5 against Pittsburgh in the all-time series. Last time FSU beat Pittsburgh was in the 2013 season in Heinz Field when the Seminoles cruised to a 41-13 victory kicking off an undefeated season.
Observations from the last game
Catching the ball, not committing false starts, setting the edge and playing the ball in the air are just a few little things that the players need to work on. Doing those things consistently can help turn this thing around.
Jordan Travis played hurt and it showed when he was not willing to keep the ball on read options and scramble out for the pocket as much as usual.
The defense needs more depth at safety and hopefully Renardo Green and Hamsah Nasirildeen are back in the lineup sooner rather than later. When Travis Jay went out of the lineup the Seminoles were down to their fourth and fifth string safeties.
Florida State offense versus Pittsburgh defense
With Travis favoring his left shoulder he still helped guide the offense to over 400 yards. With him being healthy again and Tamorrion Terry coming back I expect the offense to put up some more points. Although, putting up more points will be a tough ask against Pittsburgh’s stout defense. The Panthers are number one in the FBS in yards per game given up on the ground at 69 per game.
When they force the opponent into long yardage situations, Pitt turns to their defensive ends Patrick Jones and Rashad Weaver who have combined for 19 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks. When those two are unable to make the play, linebacker SirVocea Dennis is there to clean up the mess.
Defending the pass has been a bit of an issue for the Panthers and with versatile safety Paris Ford opting out, Travis should find a few more holes in the Pitt secondary. Pittsburgh will try to force FSU into being a pass first offense so the receivers on the outside will need to make plays to loosen up the defense for Travis, La’Damian Webb and Lawrence Toafili.
Florida State defense versus Pittsburgh offense
The Panthers offense goes as QB Kenny Pickett goes. With Pickett the Panthers have scored 32 points per game and without him they have only scored 11 points per game. Pickett is a solid passer and a capable runner. Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi has yet to announce if Pickett will be able to play, but if he is unable to play Pitt will go with freshman quarterback Joey Yellen.
Pittsburgh wants to establish the run to set up the pass, but it has been ineffective as their leading rusher, Vincent Davis, averages only 2.9 yards per carry. The best player on the offense is receiver Jordan Addison, who leads the team in catches, 41, yards, 411, and receiving TDs, 3. Receivers like, DJ Turner, Shocky Jacques-Louis and Taysir Mack also play big parts of the offense as each player has at least 17 receptions.
Poor safety play and the inability to get to the quarterback have been plaguing FSU all season. The ‘Noles might be able to get through this game without too much production from those position groups. If FSU plays like they did in the first half against North Carolina, the Panthers will not not be able to keep pace.
The Pittsburgh kicker Alex Kessman has been fairly average as he is 12/17 while the punter Kirk Christodoulou has been good with 23 of his 33 punts being downed inside the 20 or over 50 yards.
FSU is still trying to find a reliable option at kicker while Alex Mastromammo has been improving every game. A big play from the special teams will probably have to come from a block punt because without Travis Jay returning kicks I don’t see much of an impact being made in the return game.
This game features two struggling teams coming off of a bye week with injury concerns at quarterback. It is trending towards Jordan Travis, Tamorrion Terry, Robert Cooper and Renardo Green suiting up for the Seminoles with a possible appearance from safety Hamsah Nasirildeen. For Pitt, QB Kenny Pickett will be sidelined for the third straight game. After a bye week to get healthy and playing in front of the home crowd I think the Seminoles will be able to pull this one out.
Florida State 31 Pittsburgh 29.