FSU vs. Ole Miss: Five Things We Learned

Photo by Logan Stanford

Florida State started off slow. They looked unprepared and out of focus.

Ole Miss came out hot. Their up tempo offense burned Florida State a couple of times and the Rebels bounced out to a 28-6 lead.

But then the Seminoles rallied back.

Led by redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois, the defense created several turnovers and the Seminoles scored 33 unanswered points. DeMarcus Walker came up huge with four total sacks and the defense shut down the Rebels offense in the second half. Credit to Jimbo Fisher and Charles Kelly for making adjustments at halftime that got Florida State the win in the end.

Here are five things we learned from the win.

1. Deondre Francois is the real deal.

In the beginning, Deondre Francois had a couple of overthrows and miscues with his receivers. He looked like a freshman.

In the end, the redshirt freshman had passed for 419 yards and two touchdowns against the vaunted Ole Miss defense.

With the offensive line crumbling around him, Francois stood tall in the pocket and made some veteran throws to keep Florida State in the ball game. The touchdown pass right before halftime was enormous in turning the momentum. He made several key throws on third down that kept drives moving. Most importantly, it became apparent as the game moved on that things were slowing down for Francois. While at first the tempo might have been a bit fast, by halftime the freshman was driving down the field, using both his legs and arm to keep the drive going for the Seminoles.

It’ll be hard for Francois to live up to his performance in this game, but at lease Jimbo Fisher and the offense have an identity to rally behind at signal caller.

2. The offensive line is a work in progress.

To put it lightly, the Ole Miss defensive line won this matchup.

Florida State’s offensive line struggled to get any push against the Ole Miss defensive line and were routinely whipped in pass protection. D.J. Jones and Marquis Haynes were relentless and were constantly in the FSU backfield. Both Roderick Johnson and Rick Leonard struggled against the edge rusher and the interior linemen didn’t fare much better either. Leonard especially struggled, which was expected since it was his first career start at offensive line after moving over from defensive end in the spring.

3. The secondary is boom or bust.

The secondary was burned early and often.

Chad Kelly and the Ole Miss receivers moved down the field with relative ease in the first half. It seemed like nothing FSU could do could stop the Rebels passing attack. Tarvarus McFadden, making his first career start at boundary cornerback, was picked on early for two scores. Trey Marshall struggled in coverage as well.

But then they got some turnovers.

Derwin James had an interception early, but Marcus Lewis made an athletic interception after halftime that led to an FSU score. Then McFadden redeemed himself with a late interception to seal the game.

In all, this secondary has the talent to create turnovers but they need to be more consistent and limit the passing yards early on.

4. DeMarcus Walker is in midseason form.

The pass rush had a slow first half, but DeMarcus Walker fixed that with a second half for the ages.

Walker finished with four sacks on the day, each of them with impressive individual effort. It is clear that the senior defensive  end has taken a major step forward in his development and should be even better this year for the Seminoles. He was impressive both rushing off the edge and as an interior lineman. Ole Miss struggled to block him in the second half and this is a very encouraging sign moving forward.

5. Ricky Aguayo is ready for the big stage.

How does Florida State replace Roberto Aguayo?

By recruiting his younger brother, Ricky.

The younger Aguayo lived up to all expectations, completing all six of his field goal attempts and all three of his extra point attempts. In all, he scored 21 points on the day. In a night where Florida State struggled at times to score in Ole Miss territory, Aguayo was a bright spot. The tradition of great kicking from Aguayo’s should continue with Ricky at Florida State.

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