ORLANDO — Any minute now, Ole Miss Rebels will self-impose a second-half ban.
What was that, Ole Miss? Where did you come from, Florida State Seminoles ?
Around America, college football fans went to bed early Monday night believing they’d wake up the next day able to mock Dalvin Cook ‘s bumbling fumble. What are the odds a couple AP Top 25 voters hit send on their ballots early with Ole Miss in the top five and Florida State buried?
Good morning. How did you sleep?
Say hello to a star quarterback. His name is Deondre Francois , not Chad Kelly . Say hello to Florida State 45, Ole Miss 34 after one of the biggest all-time meltdowns you’ll ever see.
In something straight out of a basketball game, Florida State scored 33 straight points after trailing 28-6. The Seminoles went on a 30-0 run in less than 15 minutes. Total yards in the third quarter: Florida State 214, Ole Miss -7.
Week 1 in college football was one giant emoji with a shoulder shrug and smiley face. I don’t know what the hell happened either, but please give us more.
At first blush, Francois’ 16-yard touchdown pass 28 seconds before halftime, which he got off milliseconds before getting drilled, looked harmless. (Well, it wasn’t harmless for Francois, who stayed down for a while appeared to have his arm looked at by trainers on the sideline.)
“Hey, look at the Seminoles still fighting,” the thinking went. “At least they won’t fold like Southern California Trojans .”
Fold? These Seminoles showed heart they lacked at the Peach Bowl loss last year to Houston Cougars . They showed toughness they lacked when Clemson Tigers punched them in the mouth during the fourth quarter last season.
Francois’ touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph started the avalanche. Then Ricky Aguayo — yes, Roberto’s younger brother — kicked a 40-yard field goal. Then Freddie Stevenson ran in from 1 yard out after a Kelly tipped-ball interception. Then Kermit Whitfield had a 3-yard touchdown run after a bad Kelly fumble. Then Ryan Izzo caught a 2-yard touchdown from Francois. Then Aguayo added another 40-yard kick.
For the love of God, why didn’t Andy Kennedy call a timeout? Oh wait, this was football? (Kennedy is the Ole Miss basketball coach.)
You can’t overstate how dominant Ole Miss looked and the mess Florida State found itself in during the first half. Television cameras caught Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher rolling his eyes in amazement on the sideline as Francois, a redshirt freshman making his first start, tried to explain one of his miscues.
The lasting image of the Seminoles looked like it would be their Heisman Trophy candidate amazingly fumbling away a touchdown while trailing 21-3. Dalvin Cook caught a wide-open pass at the 12-yard line and was about to waltz in when, inexplicably, he started to switch the ball from his right hand to his left.
Why? Was the ball slipping? Was he getting ready to celebrate? Whatever the reason, Cook helplessly watched the ball dribble out of bounds in another sign that football — this game, at least — has truly become basketball on grass. The Seminoles settled for a field goal and those four missed points looked like they might loom large.
Give Fisher credit. He adjusted the offense to the strengths of his new quarterback, and Francois ran with it. With five minutes left in the game, Francois completed 33-of-52 passes for 419 yards and two touchdowns, and he also rushed for 59 yards. What is it about Labor Day night and redshirt freshman Seminoles quarterbacks? Ask Jameis Winston, who was on the sideline Monday.
The Rebels again got burned by their inability to establish a true running game to milk the clock and stay on the field. The more they relied on Kelly, the more Florida State’s defense pinned Ole Miss’ ears back and attacked him. Defensive end DeMarcus Walker had an incredible 4.5 sacks.
This one is going to hurt Ole Miss for a while, especially as the pending NCAA investigation looms over Hugh Freeze and his program. This is a meltdown of epic proportions, and in further wonderful news for Freeze, Alabama Crimson Tide comes to Oxford, Mississippi, in two weeks.
This one will sting for the SEC, which went 6-6 outside the conference in Week 1. Before the game, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey put on a brave face about the tough start — and yes, it’s just that, a start — but pointed out the SEC won three of its four games against ranked opponents.
“What’s the old cliché? Teams show more improvement from Week 1 to Week 2 than any other point of the year,” Sankey said. “I don’t think it’s a rough week. It’s a week in college football. We’ve played some great games and challenged ourselves the first week. That’s good for college football.”
So, how did you sleep? Say hello to Deondre Francois. Welcome back Florida State from the dead and buried.
Week 1 is over and, beautifully, none of us know where we go from here.
Source: CBS Sports / Florida State, reloaded: Seminoles find a quarterback, key an all-time comeback