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Ole Miss jumps on Florida State football early

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The 'Noles head into the half trailing Ole Miss following a flat effort by the Seminoles defense.

NCAA Football: Mississippi at Florida State Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

After receiving the opening kickoff, it took just one minute and 46 seconds for Ole Miss to take a 7-0 lead, putting the pressure on the ‘Noles. After punting the ball back to the Rebels, and failing to gain any traction on offense, Derwin James caught his first career interception to give FSU the ball back.

However, it wasn’t until the Seminoles’ third offensive drive that it could get any points on the scoreboard when Ricky Aguayo made a 25-yard field goal. Florida State was not able to gain any momentum due to the multitude of avoidable penalties which included two unnecessary roughness flags and two false starts. In total, it committed 11 first half penalties for 97 yards.

Quarter number two began very similarly to the first with Ole Miss scoring a touchdown on defensive back Tarvarus McFadden. In a one-on-one, jump ball scenario, the ball tipped off of McFadden’s hands and into the arms of Ole Miss’ receiver D.K. Metcalf for the touchdown to put the Rebels up 11.

After another empty drive, ending in a punt for the ‘Noles, Rebels QB Chad Kelly threw his third touchdown of the half, a 22-yard strike to Evan Engram on 3rd and 12.

On the ‘Noles very next drive, Dalvin Cook inexplicably dropped the ball three yards before the end zone, going out of bounds, on what would have been a sure touchdown. FSU could not convert in three tries from the three-yard line and would settle for a 20-yard Ricky Aguayo field goal, trimming the Rebs’ lead to 21-6.

The defensive struggles continued for FSU, as Ole Miss would drive for another touchdown to take a 28-6 lead after an 11-yard Akeem Judd rush.

In a last ditch effort before the half, QB Deondre Francois led a 75-yard drive that ended in a touchdown pass to receiver Travis Rudolph, cutting the Ole Miss lead to 13-28 with the ‘Noles getting the ball out of halftime.

Going into halftime, the ‘Noles had allowed 28 points, more than every full game in 2015 besides the Peach Bowl loss to Houston. The defensive, which seemed as FSU’s biggest strength heading into the season, allowed 312 yards and 8.0 yards per play. Continued blown coverage, missed tackles and penalties fueled the Ole Miss defense and allowed it to get the early 15 point lead after 30 minutes.

‘Noles QB Deondre Francois, making his collegiate debut, threw for 218 yards on 16-27 passing. The air was all Florida State could get momentum through, struggling on the ground. Dalvin Cook had 31 yards on 11 attempts with Jaques Patrick gaining four yards on his only rushing attempt. Cook led the team in receiving with 95 yards on six receptions with Bobo Wilson adding 69 yards on four receptions.