ORLANDO, Fla. (WJTV) – In the closing game of what’s been marketed as the greatest opening weekend of college football ever, No. 11 Ole Miss and No. 4 Florida State traded runs in what had to keep your breath short and eyes glued.
After the Rebels led 28-6 with 3:04 left in the second quarter, the Seminoles stormed back in their home state to win 45-34. Florida State scored 33 unanswered points, sparked by a Deondre Francois touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph to go into halftime down 28-13, to complete the biggest comeback in school history.
The third quarter was a drastic departure from the start Ole Miss had gotten off to. After racking up 312 total yards and four touchdown drives lasting less than three minutes in the first half, the Rebels quickly moved backward in the third. They could only muster -7 yards for that period.
Meanwhile, Florida State feasted on Chad Kelly and found its groove. The Seminole defense forced two third quarter turnovers and scored touchdowns following each one to take a 36-28 lead on a 30-0 run.
After orchestrating an uptempo offense that seemed to keep the Seminole defense off-balance, Kelly had trouble with turnovers and was under pressure. He finished with 313 passing yards and four touchdowns, but also three interceptions and a fumble. DeMarcus Walker, who finished the night with 4.5 sacks, and his defensive line consistently hit Kelly.
Francois, a true freshman quarterback for the Seminoles, finished with 419 yards and two touchdowns after struggling in the first half. Ricky Aguayo was literally perfect, setting a program record by making all six of his field goal attempts to keep the team in the game and extend its lead.
Next up for Ole Miss is its home opener against Wofford on Sept. 10. The Seminoles will host Charleston Southern on the same day.