Florida State's defense arrived in Pittsburgh somewhere around the end of the Panthers' second offensive possession on Monday night. After stuffing Pitt's first two snaps, the Panthers were able to convert on third and long and then finished their drive several plays later in the end zone (9 plays, 80 yards, TD).
“I thought we competed well in the game, I thought we responded well," head coach Jimbo Fisher said afterwards. "We knew that Pitt would come out very emotional, they have a good ballclub, Paul is a heck of a football coach. They hit us right in the mouth right off the bat, I’m very proud of the way the guys responded back.”
After Jameis Winston and the offense flipped field position, the defense came back and collected their first turnover of the season when Jalen Ramsey reeled in his first career interception on a first-and-10 pass from the Panthers' own 38.
Ramsey, a true freshman making his first career start, has been impressive since the day he got to Tallahassee. Originally a USC verbal, Ramsey flipped late in the recruiting period and hasn't looked back. From the outset of FSU's camp he has been working with the first unit and on Monday night he repaid the coaches' confidence in him in a big way.
After Ramsey's pick the Florida State defense seemed to get its legs under it, giving up just 96 rushing yards the rest of the way and limiting Pitt QB Tom Savage to 15 of 28 passing, sacking him three times and picking him twice.
“The defense finally got its feet on the ground, but it’s the first game," said Fisher. "We’ve still got a lot to improve on.”
Fisher did say after the game that he counted three different instances where the Seminole defense lost the edge, something he admits must improve. But with four games between now and FSU's trip to Clemson, Fisher and company should have time to work on it.
As football coaches are wont to do, Jimbo Fisher wasn't content to just smile at Monday night's 41-13 win, he already had plenty of adjustments to make by the time he met with reporters for his postgame press conference. Chief among them: redzone improvements. Despite scoring on seven straight drives at one point, Fisher was not satisfied with his redzone offense.
“I was very happy with the redzone until we had to kick those field goals at the end," he said. "We should have got those in.”
Long gone is Dustin Hopkins, Florida State's all-time points leader, but redshirt freshman Roberto Aguayo didn't miss a step in his first game replacing Hopkins either. Aguayo went 2-for-2 on field goals and 4-for-4 on extra points.
More Ways that Winston Impressed
Jameis Winston finished Monday night with the highest single-game completion percentage in FSU school history (.926) and the Seminole offense averaged 9.04 yards per play with him under center.
Odds and Ends:
##- No Tight End has caught two TD's in a game since 1994, Nick O'Leary caught three last night. He had two TD's within the first 20 minutes.
##- Rashad Greene topped his 2012 single-game receiving best with 8 receptions for 126 yards and a touchdown. Kenny Shaw finished with four receptions for 94 yards and Kelvin Benjamin caught five balls for 74.
##- Last night's Defensive MVP was Lamarcus Joyner. The senior DB lead FSU with nine tackles, two sacks and a pass break-up.
Florida State is off next weekend before hosting Nevada in their home opener on September 14.
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