Three thoughts on FSU’s loss to Pittsburgh

Coming off of the bye week there was some hope that Florida State would be able to have some success against a Pittsburgh team coming in losing four straight games. After the 41-17 home loss to the Panthers, we have as many questions as ever. Here are three thoughts on the game and where the Seminoles are at right now.

Saturday’s game versus Pittsburgh started out as good as it could be expected. Ten minutes into the contest FSU was feeling good, up 14-3. A record 88 yard run by quarterback Jordan Travis, and inspired play by the defense, had the Seminoles close to blowing the game out early. After a scoop and score was called back which would have put FSU up 21-3, the game fell apart for the Seminoles. Old habits and bad play led to Pitt finishing the game on a 38-3 run. Here are three thoughts after watching Saturday’s debacle.

1. The lack of a passing game continues to hurt this offense 

When Jordan Travis came into play earlier this season he was able to hit chunk plays and push the ball downfield. His ability to run the ball kept defenses honest, and teams didn’t know what to expect from him. For the second week in a row, FSU’s opponent sold out to stop FSU’s running game, looking to force Travis to beat them as a passer. Some of that has been Tamorrion Terry being banged up, as well as the overall poor play by the wide receivers as a whole.

FSU’s three quarterbacks combined for 23 completions for 144 yards Saturday – stats that aren’t going to get it done. FSU went away from a running game that was finding the most success of any opponent Pitt has faced this season, looking to try to combat the constant pressure being brought by the Panther defense. FSU’s offense will continue to struggle if they can’t make throws downfield. The entire offense needs to be better; better blocking, better catching, better reads and throws. 

2. Second-half woes continue

As we’ve seen the past several games, dating back to North Carolina, this offense comes out molten hot. Since FSU got up 31-7 against the Tar Heels they’ve been outscored 110-33. Their last second-half offensive score came in the third quarter at Notre Dame. Nearly 118 game minutes without an offensive score. Between turning the ball over, not being able to adjust, untimely penalties, poor coaching decisions, and mental frailty, FSU’s offense sputters out in the second half. The youth is showing and it’s happening at the worst times for the Seminoles.

3. The depth isn’t there on both sides of the ball

The loss of Devontay Love-Taylor early in the game was huge for FSU’s offensive line. Before the knee injury, FSU was moving the ball well, especially on the ground. Pitt was having problems getting to the quarterback consistently, and Jordan Travis was able to create out of the pocket. Defensively FSU is feeling the lack of depth two-fold. FSU has seen marked improvement from Fabian Lovett, but Marvin Wilson was out today. Add to that the secondary missing Hamsah Nasirldeen, Travis Jay, Akeem Dent, Meiko Dotson and Renardo Green, the defense continues to struggle.

A defense that is bend, but don’t break cannot continue to play without its best players. Once the offense started to sputter again the defense was put in bad spots because of the turnovers, the fold was on. The 14-3 lead disappeared quickly after the Panthers controlled field position in the second quarter. The effort against a team limping in on a four-game losing streak was disappointing.

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