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Staff Predictions: Florida State Seminoles vs. Pitt Panthers

The 4th-ranked Florida State Seminoles are on the road to face the Pitt Panthers (2-6, 1-3 ACC) Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Charles Mays/Tomahawk Nation

The 4th-ranked Florida State Seminoles are on the road to face the Pitt Panthers (2-6, 1-3 ACC) this Saturday. The game is being televised on the ESPN network with the kickoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m.

This is the 11th meeting between Pitt and Florida State in a series that dates back to 1971. Pitt leads the overall series 6-4, and won the most recent encounter 41-17 at Doak Campbell Stadium in 2020. This is only the third ACC game between Pitt and Florida State and the series is tied at one win apiece.

The Seminoles (8-0, 6-0 ACC) are looking to remain undefeated and in control of the ACC Conference. FSU is in midst of a 14 game winning streak, the third longest active streak in the country. Florida State has scored at least 30 points in every one of those 14 wins for the longest active streak in the country, and the Noles have outscored their opponents 585 to 255 points. Additionally, the Noles have won nine straight ACC conference games heading into play this weekend.

The Seminoles are one of just eight undefeated teams remaining in FBS this season (counting James Madison, which is in its second year of transition to the FBS level). FSU is one of only eight teams ranked in the top 20 in scoring offense and defense - offense (5th, 41.5 ppg) and defense (20th, 18.2 ppg).

FSU QB Jordan Travis has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 20 consecutive games, and has accounted for multiple TDs in 15 consecutive games for the longest active streak in the nation. Travis ranks in top-6 nationally in completion percentage, yards per attempt, passing TDs and passer rating against ranked opponents.

Pitt Sophomore Quarterback Christian Veilleu is set to make the fourth start of his collegiate career. In five total games this season, Veilleux has completed 66-of-127 passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns with six interceptions. Veilleux posted career-best production at Wake Forest (Oct. 21), throwing for 302 yards and two touchdowns on 28-of-45 passing. In his first collegiate start, Veilleux engineered a 38-21 upset of previously undefeated Louisville when he completed 12-of-26 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns.

During the month of October, the FSU defense allowed just 10.5 points per game, were the only team not to allow a passing touchdown, led the country in opponent completion percentage, yards per pass allowed, and opponent passer rating, while also producing the ACC’s best scoring defense. The Seminole defense held all four opponents in October to under 150 passing yards, the first time since 1999 that FSU allowed fewer than 150 passing yards in four consecutive games.

The Panthers lead the ACC (tied) and rank 12th nationally with two defensive touchdowns. M.J. Devonshire’s 86-yard interception return for a touchdown against nationally ranked Louisville proved crucial in the 38-21 upset. Devonshire is the Panthers’ active leader in defensive touchdowns with three (all via interceptions). Also, Pitt ranks first nationally (tied) with two blocked punts this season.

According to DraftKings, the Seminoles are a 21.5-point favorite against the Pitt Panthers with the over/under set at 50.


FRANK’S GAME DAY FLASHBACK

The year is 1980 — the previous week, FSU upset No. 3 Nebraska at home, and are now facing the undefeated 3rd-ranked Pitt Panthers at Doak.

Pitt’s team featured the likes of Dan Marino, Hugh Green, Jimbo Covert, Mark May, Russ Grimm and Rickey Jackson, and was considered one of the best team in Pitt school history.

The result? FSU jumped out to a 23-7 halftime lead en route to a 36-22 win.

By giving Pitt their lone loss of the season in 1980, FSU cost Pitt any opportunity to play for (and by extension, win) a National Championship.

Pitt went on to win their remaining games and finished the season with an 11-1 record, and the #2 ranking in both final polls.

By upsetting the No. 3 team in the country for the second week in a row, the Noles turned one of the corners towards building a continuing dynasty.

This video is the 4th quarter of the 1980 FSU vs Pitt game.

You will recognize many names, and at the 7:40 mark you will hear the Gene say “Super Toe and Thunderfoot” in reference to Bill Capece and Rohn Stark being shown on the scoreboard, which I have mentioned before.

Enjoy.

FRANK’S GAME DAY TRIVIA

  • Florida State head coach Mike Norvell’s professional path includes one season at Pitt where he served as co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2011.
  • The 1982 game between FSU and Pitt was memorable for monsoon-like conditions that saturated the playing field at Doak Campbell when the No. 1-ranked Panthers defeated the Seminoles, 37-17. Rarely has Doak been saturated with such driving rain during a football game. Personally, I knew it was going to rain.

A) Read what your TOMAHAWK NATION PROGNOSTICATORS think about this Saturday’s showdown.

2) Then look over and digest all of the FREE PREGAME CONTENT we’ve posted below.

D) We would love to hear your thoughts about how you feel about this game and your final score prediction in the comments.


  • NoleThruandThru (Season record: 8-0)

It was lovely seeing FSU put together its most complete game to date in person last weekend, and I’m confident that the momentum will continue against the Panthers. My biggest concern this week is for the guys to remain as healthy as possible ahead of the Miami matchup.

Jordan Travis is getting better about deciding when to use his legs, and there have been noticeable improvements from several OL and TEs. I see nothing on Pitt’s end that can contain this offense, so yet again, FSU must avoid stopping itself when it has the ball. The Seminoles should easily be able to continue their 30-point streak on Saturday.

Adam Fuller’s defense has looked better and better the past couple of weeks and gave a masterful performance against the Demon Deacons. The defensive coaching staff has their guys playing with confidence and having fun, and the defensive line in particular is growing into its monstrous potential. It’s going to be a long day for Pitt.

FSU 41, Pittsburgh 13

  • Jon Marchant (Season record: 8-0)

After what they put on film vs Wake Forest I expect the ’Noles to take care of business on the road again, clinching a spot in the conference title game.

FSU 44, Pitt 16

  • Tim (Season record: 7-1)

I’d love for this to turn into an early Tate Rodemaker game. Maybe even a full half. Pitt popped up and knocked off Louisville, so FSU cannot enter this game asleep. I think we may see a slow start but FSU pulls away in the late second or third.

FSU 35, Pitt 17

  • LastNoleOfKrypton (8-0)

It’s a hostile environment but Pitt is just overmatched at this point in this season; like Jon said, FSU clinches. Pat Narduzzi tried to clean up his comments but first impressions are hard to overcome and his players took to social media to express their discontent with what he said; I can’t imagine how focused they are right now. Big game from Destyn Hill and Rodney Hill as FSU rolls.

FSU 49, Pitt 10

  • Brian Pellerin (Season record: 7-1)

Pitt isn’t good. I don’t know how else to analyze this one. Florida State wins as long as they don’t beat themselves. There’s no weather excuse like we feared when the schedule came out. There’s no early or late kickoff to worry about. This one is squarely on FSU to show up and play their A game to handle business, and I think they will.

FSU 38. Pitt 10

  • FrankDNole (Season record: 12-0)

This is a game that should go into garbage time by the middle of the third quarter, giving the second and third team players more game experience for the final stretch.

The Seminole defensive front will dominate an outmatched Pitt offensive line which has lost 2 of their starters, and pressure their young QB into making mistakes.

Travis and the offense will continue to do what they are doing best, scoring touchdowns.

The Noles will cover easily.

FSU Seminoles 48, Pitt Panthers 20

  • Jordan Silversmith (Season Record: 7-1)

Earlier this year, when asked who I thought Florida State could lose to that wasn’t the obvious, I answered Pitt every time. The Seminoles would face the second week of a road trip, a trap game before Miami, and a 6th year QB in what should be cold weather. Fast forward two months and everything I thought was wrong. The QB I mentioned is now a TE, the cold November air calls for a high of 60, and the Panthers are 2-6 and barely keeping bowl eligibility alive. Something supernatural would need to strike Western Pennsylvania to make this a ball game, let alone an upset.

Florida State will continue their streak of inexperienced and poor quarterbacks as they face Christian Veilleux, who threw four INTs last week against Notre Dame. The Pitt offensive line has been putrid the first two months of the season, and should face their toughest defensive line to date. In fact, the unit has been so bad that only one starting offensive lineman puts up an above average PFF grade in run blocking or pass blocking.

The Panthers, like Wake Forest, are known to be pretty average to above average on defense ranking high in the country in TFLs and quarterback pressure. Again, the issue they face is an FSU offensive line hitting their stride and looking to impose their will. Florida State needs to get out of PA as quick as possible and should be looking to get everyone healthy for Miami next weekend. Win, Cover, Under.

Florida State 42 Pitt 7

  • Evenflow58 (Season record: 7-0)

At the beginning of the season I was mildly concerned that this could be a trap game and that FSU would play this game close and then lose to Miami a la the body blow theory. That’s looking less and less likely with Pitt’s injuries, Pat Narduzzi’s extreme dislike of all offenses and his decision to throw his team under the bus (it doesn’t matter that he said he needs to coach better; he said his players stink). I think FSU can put this one away early and give up some meaningless yards to Pitt in the second half.

Florida State 41 Pitt 10

  • Matt Minnick (Season record: 8-0; ATS: 6-2)

I was surprised at how quickly last week’s game got out of hand, with FSU ultimately putting it in cruise control at halftime and still covering. The defensive line was a big part of that, totally disrupting everything Wake wanted to do on offense. If that continues into his week, Pitt might not score a touchdown.

The two main priorities are 1) win the game, 2) keep the two deep healthy and fresh going into Miami. I am fully confident the Seminoles will accomplish priority number one, and the sooner they put the game away the better the odds of accomplishing priority number two. The Panthers defense can be feisty, but do they want to play for the coach that’s been throwing them under the bus? Ultimately, I think the FSU defense hands the ‘Noles a few easy scoring opportunities early and we see a game flow similar to that of Wake Forest.

My biggest concern about covering 21.5 is that Pitt tacks on a garbage time score or two against backups and gets a backdoor cover, especially with the half-point hook. But I’m willing to take that risk.

FSU 38, Pitt 13

  • Perry Kostidakis (Season record: 8-0)

Mike Norvell’s teams find their second level in November — overall, he’s 20-5 in the 11th month of the year, with four of those losses coming within his first two years at Florida State (he’s now 6-4 overall).

Last season, we saw the Seminoles start to hit on all grooves once the final stretch of ACC play hit and now, with a chance to solidify a preseason goal in clinching a spot in the conference title game and the reality of a playoff berth now even closer within reach, I’m expecting to see the same elevation.

Pitt, outside of accidentally beating Louisville last month, has been a struggle fest this season — that win was just the second time in 2023 they put up more than 21 against an FBS opponent (the Panthers also hit the mark in a 41-24 loss to North Carolina.)

Switching from Phil Jurkovec to Christian Veilleux at quarterback after beating the Cardinals provided a bit of an initial spark but that luster seemingly wore off last week against Notre Dame after Pitt’s heartbreak loss to Wake. With injuries across the line and a lack of identity offensively overall for the Panthers, FSU should match up well. Pitt is averaging just 292.5 yards per game against Power 5 opponents this season — expect the Seminoles' defense to feast once more with as good of a chance as any for Adam Fuller to bring home a spiked baseball for a shutout.

Pitt brings a decent enough defense to the table (21 of Notre Dame’s 58 points came from turnovers/special teams, so it’s not fully on them), only allowing 208 yards per game through the air to Power 5 opponents (No. 28 in the nation) but are definitely still susceptible to explosive passing plays and have by and large brought a below-the-Narduzzi-standard rush defense to the table so far this season.

Random aside: I’ve got a feeling this is Jordan Travis’ best game of the season — after regaining his confidence in his game (both his love for it and the way he plays it), he’s looked awesome and while there might be eyeballs elsewhere during a pretty entertaining 3:30 slot, the highlights should be enough to further propel him forward as the Heisman race dwindles down.

FSU 47, Pitt 10


Florida State Seminoles vs. Pitt Panthers

Pre-Game Coverage from Tomahawk Nation

Whiteboard Review: Florida State’s Emergent Screen Game

Line of Scrimmage: Discussing Florida State vs. Pittsburgh with Corey Cohen of the Pitt Talk Network


Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.