No. 4 Florida State earns spot in ACC title game by pulling away from game Pitt 24-7
PITTSBURGH (AP) — Jordan Travis ran for a touchdown and threw for another and No. 4 Florida State clinched a spot in the ACC Championship game with a 24-7 win over Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The Seminoles (9-0, 7-0) are heading to Charlotte on the first Saturday in December for the first time in nine years, overcoming a shaky first half to pull away over the final two quarters.
Travis hit tight end Markeston Douglas for a 22-yard touchdown midway through the third quarter to give Florida State a 10-point lead. Trey Benson sprinted 55 yards up the middle on the Seminoles’ next possession to put the Panthers (2-7, 1-4) away.
Florida State, fourth in the initial College Football Playoff ranking, won its 15th straight game.
It did not come easy on a day the Seminoles played without leading receivers Keon Coleman and Johnny Wilson. Wilson was ruled out well before the game due to injury, while Coleman did not take the field for warm-ups.
Travis relied heavily on screens and dump-offs before finally getting going after halftime. The senior completed 22 of 36 for 360 yards and also ran for a 1-yard score in the second quarter to go with his touchdown strike to Douglas, giving him multiple touchdowns in a school-record 16 straight games,
Ja’Khi Douglas caught six passes for 115 yards. Benson added 97 yards rushing for the Seminoles, who appear to be all the way back to national prominence in coach Mike Norvell’s fourth season after the program slipped into mediocrity in the late 2010s.
Christian Veilleux threw for 244 yards with a touchdown and an interception for Pitt, which played well a week after getting shredded by Notre Dame but was undone by penalties and mistakes. The Panthers were flagged 11 times for 91 yards, including a pair of calls that took away scoring opportunities, and turned it over three times.
The most costly miscue came in the third quarter with Florida State leading 10-7. Pitt was in makeable field-goal range for Ben Sauls when tight end Gavin Bartholomew was given a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty well after the whistle on a third-down play.
Instead of having a chance to tie, the Panthers punted. Travis then took the Seminoles 80 yards in 11 plays, the last a dart over the middle to Douglas that gave Florida State some breathing room.
Florida State: The Seminoles have come a long way in Norvell’s four seasons. Florida State was drilled by the Panthers in Tallahassee in 2020 during his first year. Three years the tables have flipped completely.
Pitt: The Panthers played with the kind of effort that seems to indicate coach Pat Narduzzi’s suggestion after the loss to the Irish that Pitt didn’t bring in enough talented players during the offseason — a suggestion he later apologized for — has been forgiven. Still, Pitt will miss a bowl game for just the second time in Narduzzi’s nine-year tenure.
The Seminoles didn’t really make a compelling argument that they deserve to crack the top three while struggling to put away a 21-point underdog. If anything, Florida State’s performance might cost them a spot or two.
Florida State: Welcomes archrival Miami to Doak Campbell Stadium next Saturday.
Pitt: Travels to New York City to meet Syracuse at Yankee Stadium next Saturday.
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