Fourth-ranked Florida State was heading toward a once-in-a-generation defeat on Monday night. The eleventh-ranked Mississippi Rebels were laying a huge whuppin’ on FSU reminiscent of the 1988 season-opening debacle against Miami.
The Seminoles were ranked as the pre-season number one that year and went to face the sixth-ranked Hurricanes in the Orange Bowl. After falling behind by 17 points at halftime, things got worse and Miami handed Florida State a humiliating 31-0 defeat.
FSU trailed by 15 points at halftime on Monday, 28-13. Seminoles’ fans and haters were busy on the Twittersphere.
Monday’s game “feels like” the 1988 debacle, wrote one. “It’s not like FSU didn’t have an entire summer to prepare for this hurry up offense,” wrote another.
With Mississippi quarterback Chad Kelly looking every bit the performer as his NFL Hall of Fame uncle Jim Kelly, FSU looked as though they did not belong on the same field as the Rebels.
Not only was the offense struggling, but there was also the inability of the Seminoles to put any pressure on Kelly. Where was the pass rush?
“I haven’t heard DeMarcus Walker’s name once tonight,” offered another tweeter. Fortunately for the Seminoles, the same could not be said once the game ended.
The overpowering second half emergence of defense end Walker and the halftime locker room development of redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois quieted FSU critics and change the moods of fans. To be sure, Francois appeared on the way to having things figured out just before halftime with a 16-yard touchdown toss to Travis Rudolph 28 seconds left.
The 45-34 Florida State victory represented the largest deficit overcome for a victory in the program’s history. Instead of looking at the 1988 Miami game for comparison, the second half provided a better comparison with the 1994 Seminoles and their other in-state rival.
It was that season that Florida State overcame a 28-point, fourth quarter deficit to earn a 31-31 tie with the Florida Gators. That game is fondly remembered in Tallahassee as the Choke at the Doak.
In Oxford, Miss., home of the Rebels, the local police department tweeted about a “beer bottle through a window call. Officer’s out determining the reason why.” A retweet, likely from an FSU fan, suggested the perpetrator was “watching ESPN” during the second half.
A 32-6 second half blitz can have that kind of effect.