On a late night in Orlando, with the scoreboard reading the wrong way, a star was born.
This is his team now. This is his huddle. There is no waiting his turn. There is no riding in the sidecar.
Oh, perhaps you thought it would be Dalvin Cook. But Cook didn’t get going until late. Oh, he caught seven passes for 107 yards, and he rushed for 91 yards. Still, it won’t be remembered as Cook’s game.
Maybe you thought it would be the defense. But Ole Miss shredded the FSU defense in the first half, scoring four touchdowns and taking a 28-6 lead. No, it won’t be remembered as the defense’s game despite Demarcus Walker’s 4.5 sacks on the night.
This was Francois’ night. He threw 52 times for 420 yards. He ran for 59 more. He led his team to the largest comeback in FSU history. Coming in, the thought was that FSU would protect Francois by playing great around him. Instead, Francois protected his teammates by playing well in front of them.
It was an impressive debut against the No. 11 team in the country. Francois threw for 101 more yards than the highly regarded Chad Kelly of Ole Miss and three fewer interceptions.
It was an amazing turnaround. The Seminoles were behind by 22 points on a weekend that three other Top 10 teams lost.
And then Francois wasn’t a freshman anymore.
And then he was a headliner.
The Seminoles scored 39 of the game’s last 45 points behind Francois, who wouldn’t be playing if not for a broken foot by Sean Maguire. Now, what we don’t know is whether Maguire will ever play again.
If you’re looking for a star beyond Francois, it would be Ricky Aguayo, Roberto’s younger brother. Aguayo hit all six of his field goals in the win.
It was a late touchdown by FSU that started the comeback, a 16-yard pass from Francois to Travis Rudolph. After that, Francois could not be stopped.
FSU outscored Ole Miss 23-0 in the third period to take the lead. FSU ended up with 200 more yards of offense and 25 more minutes of possession time.
FSU plays Saturday against Charleston Southern.