Pitt brings 4-game losing streak to Florida State
Quarterbacks take center stage on Saturday as Pittsburgh visits Florida State for an Atlantic Coast Conference clash between two teams that desperately need a win.
While the Seminoles (2-4, 1-4 ACC) have shuffled their way through a tough 2020, first-year coach Mike Norvell finally made a decision on the signal-caller he wants running the offense he brought to Tallahassee from Memphis: redshirt sophomore Jordan Travis.
After starting a trio of quarterbacks in three consecutive games, Norvell opted for Travis. The dual-threat QB gives Norvell run-throw options that have taken pressure off an offensive line that was sieve-like early in the season in losses to Georgia Tech and rival Miami — the latter a 52-10 rout that was the Hurricanes’ fourth straight win in the series.
A West Palm Beach native who played for Louisville and transferred to Florida State after 2018, Travis was named the starter against Notre Dame after a breakout performance in relief against Jacksonville State on Oct. 3, when he passed for a season-high 210 yards and produced touchdowns through the air and on the ground.
Travis is 1-2 as a starter and leads the Seminoles in passing yardage (758) and rushing yardage (389).
The 6-foot-1, 210-pounder has completed 48 of 95 passes with four TDs and four interceptions. He has rushed 71 times at a clip of 5.5 yards per carry with five scores.
“He’s played extremely hard these last three games, four games,” Norvell said. “He’s had some bumps and bruises along the way … (but) he’s looked really good in practice, excited about where he is and the growth for him in all aspects.”
Losers of four straight, Pitt (3-4, 2-4) isn’t so sure about its quarterback situation.
Four-year starter Kenny Pickett injured his left ankle in a 31-30 overtime loss at Boston College on Oct. 10, and redshirt freshman Joey Yellen, who played for Arizona State last year, has manned the position in losses against Miami and Notre Dame.
Yellen has been inconsistent so far, completing just 34 of 76 attempts — only 44.7 percent — for 397 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions.
Coach Pat Narduzzi said Monday the versatile Pickett still could not run on his ankle, but the senior was not ruled out for action against the Seminoles.
“Kenny can go out and throw, but he’s not moving his feet right now,” Narduzzi said. “He’s out there watching this week.”
The Florida State defense has allowed 118 points (39.3 per game) and 1,681 total yards (560.3 per game) in the past three contests — numbers that must appear enticing to Pitt offensive coordinator Mark Whipple.
However, the Panthers are ranked a woeful 93rd in rushing offense (98 yards per game) and 81st in total offense (357.6 yards per game).
“The only thing that can get your confidence back is a win,” said Narduzzi, who is 39-33 in his sixth year at Pitt, signed through 2024 and under pressure in the Steel City. “The way to get confidence back is to get a W. That’s the most important thing.”
–Field Level Media