Three key matchups for Florida State against Pittsburgh

The Florida State Seminoles (2-4) will hope to kick start their second half of the season with a victory this Saturday, as they play host to the Pittsburgh Panthers (3-4). Coming off their bye week, the ‘Noles should be energized and well-rested. As the two records indicate, the two teams are evenly matched, which could lead to a tight, back and forth game. 

Here are three key matchups for the contest. 

1. FSU Offensive Line vs Pitt Defensive Line 

This Panthers defensive line could easily be considered the most challenging the ‘Noles have faced yet. This group ranks first in the nation in sacks with 31.0 through seven games. A player FSU must keep tabs on is Patrick Jones II. The 6’5, 260lbs leads their defensive line in sacks (7) and is also capable of stuffing the FSU rushing attack. Unlike in years past, this FSU offensive line has shown flashes of promise throughout moments this season. It’s safe to say Offensive Line Coach Alex Atkins has been instrumental in the unit’s success. In the last few years, the group was considered among the worst in all Power Five. Under Atkins, the line has progressed in all facets of the game. It is indicated with the rush offense and sacks allowed numbers increasing drastically. If the Seminoles offense wishes to score fast and often against Pittsburgh, the offensive line must hold its own in the trenches.   

2. Jordan Travis & FSU Passing Offense vs Pitt Secondary 

After healing some wounds over the past week, Jordan Travis should be rested and ready to go on Saturday. The Panthers pass defense is nowhere near as strong as their front seven. Head Coach Mike Norvell and offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham will likely try to attack the short to intermediate, while taking a few shots down the field. In his first year as the starter, Camren McDonald has steadily improved in each game, and that should continue. As Tamorrion Terry recovers from surgery, Keyshawn Helton, Ontaria Wilson, and Warren will have to carry most of the load. The group endured a rough day in the last game versus Louisville, with several drops in key moments. Keep an eye on true freshman Brian Robinson, who was activated for the first time against Louisville. The former four-star recruit could see some action in the second half of the season. 

3. Pitt Passing Offense vs FSU Secondary 

The Pittsburgh offense has been without their senior quarterback Kenny Pickett the last two games, and his status for Saturday is questionable. Arizona State transfer Joey Yellen has thrown for one touchdown and three interceptions in Pickett’s absence. Under his command, the Panthers offense has been underwhelming, and that has resulted in two double-digit losses. Their rushing offense has been ineffective, so they will likely try to air it out against a shaky ‘Noles secondary. We know what Asante Samuel Jr. brings, and he will likely match up on leading receiver Jordan Addison (41 receptions, 484 yards, three touchdowns). The rest of the unit struggled versus Louisville in coverage, so expect the group to come out this weekend and play with a chip on their shoulder.

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