The Daily Nole

33 Days Until FSU Football: FSU Scores 33 Straight vs. Ole Miss to Spark Biggest Comeback Win in School History

Mitch White/FSU athletics

There are 33 days left until Florida State football starts the 2018 season. As part of the offseason, we’re highlighting players, games, and specific moments from FSU football history.

On Tuesday, it was the legendary Bobby Bowden and his 34 seasons as FSU head football coach.

Today, it’s Florida State’s 33 unanswered points against Ole Miss in the 2016 season opener to give the Seminoles their biggest comeback victory in school history.

FSU hadn’t lost an opener in seven years as it met Ole Miss on Labor Day 2016 in Orlando. Late in the first half however, that seemed destined to change as the Seminoles found themselves in an unthinkable 28-6 hole.

Florida State was able to take a bit of momentum into the locker room as quarterback Deondre Francois, a redshirt freshman making his debut, stood in and fired a 16-yard touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph with 28 seconds remaining in the half to make it 28-13. That momentum would never leave.

After kicking a field goal on the opening drive of the second half to cut the lead to 12, the FSU defense found an edge that it would not relinquish. An interception by Marcus Lewis set the Seminoles up inside the Ole Miss 35-yard-line. That was followed by a 3-play touchdown drive highlighted by a 31-yard run by Francois and a 1-yard scoring plunge by fullback Freddie Stevenson.

DeMarcus Walker recorded 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble in the 2016 Labor Day win over Ole Miss. (Mitch White/FSU athletics)

On the ensuing Ole Miss drive, it was FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker who put his team in a good spot by stripping Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly. FSU recovered at the Rebels’ 11-yard-line and went on to take its first lead on a touchdown run by receiver Kermit Whitfield.

Up 29-28, the Seminoles proceeded to add 10 more points with a short touchdown pass from Francois to tight end Ryan Izzo and the fourth of six field goals by Ricky Aguayo with just under 13 minutes to play in the game. FSU led 39-28 after 33 straight points. Ole Miss wouldn’t go away as it added a touchdown, but a pair of Aguayo field goals and an interception by Tarvarus McFadden iced the 45-34 win in Orlando.

FSU tight end Ryan Izzo caught the touchdown against Ole Miss in 2016 that put the Seminoles ahead for good. (Mitch White/FSU athletics)

It was a memorable night for FSU debuts as Francois accounted for 478 total yards with 419 of those coming through the air. Aguayo set a school-record with six made field goals in his first game and did so without a miss.

On the defensive side of the ball, it was Walker who stole the show and helped change the game with 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Derwin James also collected his first career interception in the win. Ole Miss was held to just 68 yards of offense in the second half.

Francois would go on to win ACC Rookie of the Year while Walker garnered Consensus All-American status. The biggest comeback in FSU history remains the 1994 contest with Florida in which the Seminoles erased a 31-3 fourth quarter deficit to force a 31-31 tie. The biggest comeback win however, came against Ole Miss on Sept. 5, 2016, thanks to a 33-point run for the Seminoles that spanned less than 18 minutes of game time.

Mike Ferguson is the editor of The Daily Nole. Follow Mike on Twitter @MikeWFerguson

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