Maybe Florida State spent a little too much time listening to Jimbo Fisher give his pregame speech. Or maybe they didn’t listen enough. Whatever the case, No. 4 Florida State has a lot to work on if they want to climb back and make a game of this with No. 11 Ole Miss in Orlando. The Rebels jumped out to a 21-3 lead on the Seminoles, and hold a 28-13 lead at the half.
First, let’s give Ole Miss the credit it deserves, because oh my did they ever come to play a good game tonight in Orlando. Despite losing starting defensive back Ken Webster to an awful leg injury early in the game, the defense has been swarming. On offense, Chad Kelly has been locked in with three touchdown passes and over 200 passing yards in the half. Kelly has also gotten involved with his legs and leads the Rebels on the ground after one half. Kelly has managed to get everybody involved by spreading the ball to six different receivers in the first half. Akeem Judd has the only rushing touchdown of the game so far.
Florida State’s offense has been silenced by the defense of Ole Miss. Dalvin Cook, arguably the top running back in the nation heading into the 2016 season, has been held to just 16 rushing yards on 10 rushing attempts. Ole Miss has focused on him and taken him out of the running game, which should have been a strength for the Seminoles. The offense also looks as though it is being run by a freshman, because, well, it is. Deondre Francois, a four-star dual-threat quarterback out of IMG Academy in the Class of 2015, has had some quick growing pains but has hung in there at times. They can’t all be like Jameis Winston right from the start, not even at Florida State. Francois did lead the offense down the field for a late touchdown just before halftime, and he took a hit in the process. Given the situation on the field, a late touchdown could be the momentum shift Florida State needed.
Earlier, just when it looked as though Florida State was finally going to reach the end zone for the first time, down 21-3, Heisman hopeful Cook inexplicably fumbled the football out of bounds. Florida State maintained possession and was kept out of the end zone by Ole Miss defense. They settled for a short field goal instead.
Kaelin Clay, who dropped a football before crossing the goal line for Utah against Oregon two years ago, chimed in with his commentary following that play.
You play four quarters of football for a reason. If Florida State is going to get back in this thing, the offense has to start making something, anything, happen. Ole Miss needs to keep the pedal to the metal and find a way to close this one out.