PITTSBURGH -- Much of the hype leading up to Monday night's Atlantic Coast Conference game between league newbie Pitt and reigning champ Florida State was built around the debut of Seminoles quarterback Jameis Winston.
The redshirt freshman did not disappoint at sold-out Heinz Field.
Winston threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading No. 11 Florida State to a 41-13 victory. The 18-year-old completed the first 11 passes of his career and 20 of his first 21 en route to finishing 25 of 27 for 356 yards.
The lone incompletion in Winston's first 21 attempts was caught by receiver Kenny Shaw, but it was ruled out of bounds.
Three of Winston's touchdown passes went to tight end Nick O'Leary, who had four career TD catches coming in. Receiver Rashad Greene led Florida State with eight receptions for 126 yards.
Winston's final pass of the night was a 10-yard touchdown toss to O'Leary that polished off a nine-play, 49-yard drive. That was the Seminoles' lone touchdown of the second half, and it came with 9:32 remaining in the game, concluding the scoring.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher opted to remove his promising signal-caller following that drive and went with redshirt sophomore Jacob Coker under center for the last couple of series.
While Winston was putting on a clinic, one of Pitt's few bright spots was the play of prized 2013 recruit Tyler Boyd. The receiver piled up 151 all-purpose yards, including a team-high 54 on the ground.
Perhaps riding the momentum of the revved up atmosphere surrounding their first ACC game, and on a primetime stage at that, the Panthers put the Seminoles in a hole before Winston even took the field.
Pitt struck on the game's opening series when Tom Savage capped an 80-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Manasseh Garner. However, Winston later finished consecutive drives with touchdown passes of 24 and 2 yards to O'Leary to give Florida State a 14-7 advantage early in the second quarter.
Winston's 23-yard scoring strike to Greene with 39 seconds left in the half, and less than two minutes after his 5-yard TD run, closed out the first-half scoring.
Savage completed 15 of 28 passes for 201 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Panthers senior receiver Devin Street caught six passes for 141 yards.
NOTES: Savage, who played two seasons for Rutgers, has the distinction of throwing a touchdown pass for and against Pitt. He threw one against the Panthers in both 2009 and 2010. ... Pitt used 11 true freshmen in the game's first 17 minutes. ... Florida State became Pitt's highest-ranked season-opening opponent since the Panthers defeated No. 5 North Carolina 7-6 in 1982. ... In the spring of 2011, Fisher's youngest son, Ethan, was diagnosed with a rare blood disease known as Fanconi anemia. Both schools wore "I Fight Fanconi" Kidz1stFund decals on the back of their helmets. ... Florida State G Tre Jackson left the game with an ankle injury.