NoleGameday

Week One Offensive and Defensive MVP’s

 

Florida State kicked off the 2016 season with an exciting 45-34 comeback victory over Ole Miss. We got a chance to see this team overcome adversity together, and that is definitely encouraging moving forward. Let’s take a look at this week’s offensive and defensive MVP’s.

Offensive MVP: Deondre Francois

What can I say about this guy? Francois absolutely put on a show last night in Orlando. He finished with 419 yards and 2 touchdowns, while completing 33 of 52 passes. Francois kept FSU in the game all evening, even as the offensive line struggled to create effective running lanes for Dalvin Cook.

He was up to the challenge of facing another star quarterback, and even outplayed Ole Miss’s Chad Kelly, who recorded 313 yards and 4 touchdowns while completing 21 of his 39 throws. Kelly also threw 3 interceptions, while Francois had zero turnovers in his debut.

It was definitely an up and down start, throughout the first half the Seminoles struggled to move the ball. Dalvin Cook seemed to be bottled up again and again, and Francois was a little erratic early as the offensive line was picked apart by the Ole Miss defense.

Things seemed to change for the offense right before halftime, trailing 28-6, FSU went on a 75 yard drive that was capped with a nice touchdown throw to Travis Rudolph from Deondre Francois. Francois released the ball as he was drilled into the ground, and Rudolph made a nice grab to help cut the deficit to 28-13.

The offense came out on fire in the second half, they scored 23 points in the 3rd to take a 36-28 lead and completely flipped the momentum around in this match up. Francois seemed to be right on the money on most of his throws in the second half, and he also got a chance to show off his wheels.

Deondre Francois prides himself as a quarterback who passes first, and has the ability to move the chains with his legs if he has no one open to throw to. We saw this twice in the 3rd quarter as Francois had two 30+ yard runs on plays where he was forced to scramble, another positive is that he chose to slide on most of his runs which shows he recognizes that he needs to avoid as many hits as possible.

However, Francois couldn’t avoid all the hits that came his way as the Ole Miss defensive line lived in FSU’s backfield at times. Perhaps the most impressive trait that Francois displayed on Monday night was his willingness to stay in the pocket and step into throws in the face of oncoming rushers. Often paying for this by being knocked to the ground violently. In spite of this, Francois made some of his most impressive and important throws of the night with Ole Miss defenders bearing down on him. This is a great sign for Francois’ development.

All in all, it was a great first start for Francois. He finished with 478 total yards of offense, while Ole Miss finished with 380 yards of offense as a team. He can only go up from here.

Defensive MVP: DeMarcus Walker

This was a no brainer to me. Walker is the heart and soul of this football team, and his play in the second half was one of the main reasons that FSU was able to orchestrate a comeback. He recorded 6 tackles, 4.5 sacks, and forced a fumble.

Lets face it. The defense came out flat, and frankly I was a bit surprised. I was expecting the offense to struggle a bit while Francois got his first game jitters out, but I definitely didn’t see the defense getting torched like they did in the first half. The Noles allowed 312 yards in the first two quarters, and looked like they were going to get blown out early. The defense missed assignments, and Chad Kelly picked them apart.

The defense as a whole seemed to be a step slow when it came to the defending Ole Miss offense. The Rebels moved at a fast tempo, and the coverage on defense was exposed early on. Receivers were left wide open, and Ole Miss was able to capitalize on the defensive mistakes in route to a 28-13 halftime advantage.

DeMarcus Walker inspired the other guys on defense with his energy and leadership, he was involved on the sideline trying to help guys overcome their mistakes and I’m sure he provided the team with a speech at halftime that I’m hoping we’ll all catch on ‘A Season With’ tonight.

The pass rush in the first half was almost nonexistent, the Seminoles failed to record a sack and only had one tackle for loss in the opening 30 minutes. That all changed just over 4 minutes into the second half. DeMarcus Walker came off the edge and leveled Chad Kelly, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Derrick Nnadi. The FSU offense would score on the ensuing possession to take a 29-28 lead, the Noles wouldn’t trail again.

But really, that was only the beginning for the senior captain of this team. Walker would go on to record 3.5 more sacks (he shared one with Jacob Pugh) and single handedly became the pass rushing threat that the Seminoles needed in this game.

Walker seems to be primed for a big senior season, and he definitely has a nice foundation to build on after 4.5 sacks in week one.

Dustin Lewis
Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in English Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Writer for FSView Sports and Hashtag Basketball.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *