The ‘Noles put themselves in a deep hole heading into halftime down 28-13 with what looked like a team with no-life. The Seminoles looked like a whole other team heading out of the locker room for the second half. FSU went on to dominate the Rebels in the third quarter, holding Ole Miss to negative-seven total yards while outscoring Chad Kelly’s offense 23-0. By the end of that third quarter, it was 36-28 ‘Noles.
Florida State began its first drive in the fourth quarter with — you guessed it — points. Ricky Aguayo knocked in a 40-yard field goal, his fourth conversation of the game to make it a two possession game, 39-28.
Ole Miss would finally regain some momentum on offense, scoring a touchdown on Chad Kelly’s fourth touchdown pass of the game, a 20-yard strike, with 12:09 left in the game. The Rebels would go for two, but were unsuccessful, keeping the ‘Nole lead at five, 39-34.
Kermit Whitfield set up FSU in great field possession following his second return of the night, giving the offense the ball at FSU’s 47-yard line. Francois would continue the trend of converting third downs, hitting Travis Rudolph for a first down on a 3rd and 15 for 27 yards. The drive would end up in yet another Ricky Aguayo field goal, this time from 44-yards out, extending FSU’s lead to a full touchdown and two-point conversation, 42-34.
Another three-and-out by the FSU defense later, the offense continued to slowly wind down the clock, while make progress at extending the lead. Ricky Aguayo made his sixth field goal, from 30 yards out.
On a last desperation drive by Ole Miss with less than three minutes remaining, Tarvarus McFadden picked off Chad Kelly, the Ole Miss QB’s third interception of the game. FSU would run out the clock for the victory with the final score of 45-34.
The ‘Noles scored on all seven of its possessions in the second half, before running out the clock to end the game, and nine straight possessions going back to the first half.
DeMarcus Walker was one of those difference makers on defense, recording 4.5 sacks and forcing a fumble which was recovered by FSU. Matthew Thomas, Derwin James and Trey Marshall all added eight tackles. After allowing 312 yards and 28 points in the first half, Ole Miss only had 68 total yards and six points in the second half.
Deondre Francois already put his name in the Florida State record books, as his 419 passing yards were 16th all time, regardless of first start or not. Dalvin Cook added 91 yards on the ground from 23 attempts and another 101 yards through the air. Bobo Wilson led all receivers with 125 yards on nine receptions.
Florida State now opens up the season at 1-0 as it looks to improve on the mark on Saturday back at Doak Campbell against Charleston Southern. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 PM