Florida State rallies from 22-point deficit to beat Ole Miss

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ORLANDO, FL - SEPTEMBER 05: Deondre Francois #12 (R) celebrates with Dalvin Cook #4 after throwing a touchdown pass to Ryan Izzo #81 of the Florida State Seminoles (not pictured) in the third quarter against the Mississippi Rebels during the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL – SEPTEMBER 05: Deondre Francois #12 (R) celebrates with Dalvin Cook #4 after throwing a touchdown pass to Ryan Izzo #81 of the Florida State Seminoles (not pictured) in the third quarter against the Mississippi Rebels during the Camping World Kickoff at Camping World Stadium on September 5, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Florida State’s 45-34 win against Ole Miss was a fitting ending to what was a crazy opening college football weekend.

The Seminoles shook off a terrible first half, rallied from a 22-point second quarter deficit and dominated in the second half to hold onto their Top 5 ranking for at least one more week.

The win gave the ‘Noles their largest comeback victory in school history.

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But the game was not without its drama.

Things started to turn for the Seminoles late in the second quarter when redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois stood in the pocket under immense pressure and delivered a 16-yard touchdown strike to Travis Rudolph.

As Francois let the ball go, an Ole Miss lineman drilled him. The hit was so hard Francois stayed on the turf and never looked to see if the ball was caught.

It was the spark Florida State needed.

Florida State opened the second half with a field goal and then got the ball back off a tipped interception. Three plays later, the Seminoles were in the end zone. On the next possession, Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly fumbled and Florida State ultimately turned that into points was well.

When the smoke cleared, Florida State, which was down 28-6 in the second quarter, had rattled off 33 straight points and taken a 39-28 lead to start the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, the Florida State defense played inspired by its offense. Ole Miss, which had racked up 312 yards of total offense in the first half, exited the third quarter with 305 total yards of offense while the Seminoles had gained 214 in that quarter alone.

The turnaround was stunning.

This was a Florida State team that was completely out of sorts in the first half.

Francois looked rattled in his first collegiate game as the Ole Miss defense swarmed him. The Seminoles as a whole had 11 first half penalties for 98 yards. In the middle of the second quarter, running back Dalvin Cook, who essentially was the team’s only offense in the first half, had a clear path to the end zone after a swing pass, but dropped the ball on the way to score. Florida State had to settle for a field goal and it looked like it was going to be a bad night for the Seminoles.

Then Francois made that perfect pass to Rudolph before the half and something clicked in the locker room. The Noles came out of the half a completely different team and Ole Miss looked stunned and unprepared. Kelly, who looked brilliant in the first half, looked pedestrian in the second. The up-tempo Ole Miss offense did score a quick fourth-quarter touchdown to make things interesting, but Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo hit a school record six field goals to help solidify the win.

Francois completed 33 of 52 passes for 420 yards and two touchdowns.

Kelly, who is the best quarterback in the SEC and possibly one of the best in the country, threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns, but he also had three interceptions and a fumble.

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With the loss, the SEC finished the opening weekend 7-7 (6-6 in nonconference games) and two of its top four teams — Ole Miss and LSU — lost in stunning fashion. Meanwhile, the ACC’s top two teams — Florida State and Clemson — won to keep pace in the race to the College Football Playoff.

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!