FSU-Ole Miss grades: Defense shines in Seminoles’ comeback win

The biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Florida State's 45-34 victory over Ole Miss.

| 3 weeks ago
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

FSU-Ole Miss grades: Defense shines in Seminoles’ comeback win


Florida State Seminoles 45, Ole Miss Rebels 34 

Here are the biggest takeaways and highest-graded players from Florida State’s 45-34 victory over Ole Miss:

Florida State Seminoles:

Quarterback grade: Deondre Francois, 71.6

It was quite the statline from the freshman Monday night, although there are a couple reasons why the grades don’t match up. The most obvious being that he still left a ton of yards on the field. As mentioned earlier, the Mississippi secondary was letting receivers run wild down the field and Francois had seven throws where he missed open receivers. He also threw two passes we deemed turnover-worthy that fell harmlessly to the ground.

FrancoisPressureOleMiss

Top offensive grades: 

FB Freddie Stevenson, 76.4
C Alec Eberle, 74.1
WR Kermit Whitfield, 73.3
WR Jesus Wilson, 72.9
T Roderick Johnson, 68.8

Holes few and far between for Dalvin Cook 

For as well as the Florida State offense executed Monday night, it was rarely due to their offensive line. It didn’t take long to realize the front five is going to be a big issue this season and could put a serious damper on Dalvin Cook’s Heisman candidacy. The most egregious case was right tackle Rick Leonard, who had multiple whiffs in the run game to go along with eight pressures in pass protection.

Top defensive grades:

S Derwin James, 86.3
DT DeMarcus Walker, 82.3
DT Derrick Nnadi, 81.1
OLB Jacob Pugh, 79.0
DT Demarcus Christmas, 76.3

Big plays bring back Seminoles’ defense

There were two absolute standout performances for the Florida State defense that changed this game and both deserve some recognition. The first is DeMarcus Walker, who single-handedly killed multiple drives with his five sacks. There’s something to be said for beating a man cleanly inside and four of Walker’s five sacks were legit beats. The other player is sophomore safety Derwin James. There’s not a more complete safety in the country as James had two pressures, three stops and an interception.

Ole Miss Rebels

Quarterback grade: Chad Kelly, 63.3

If you were looking for a discernable step forward in Chad Kelly’s second year as a starter, you wouldn’t find it Monday night. The same shaky accuracy and head scratching decision making was all too apparent from the Rebels quarterback. On throws 10 or more yards downfield, he was 9-of-22 with two interceptions.

ChadKellyPressureFSU

Top offensive grades: 

T Greg Little, 75.1
TE Taz Zettergen, 74.9
WR Damore’ea Stringfellow, 73.2
T Sean Rawlings, 70.7
WR A.J. Brown, 69.1

Running game abandoned early on 

Even though Ole Miss held the lead for much of the game early on and was never really getting blown out, they still only had 14 designed runs Monday night. Now some of that blame can be placed on quarterback Chad Kelly as the Mississippi offense allows him a good deal of freedom with run pass options, but it’s still a fairly drastic number when compared to 49 passing dropbacks. The Rebels offensive line though was fairly clearly overmatched from start to finish in this one so I can’t lay too much blame on the playcalling.

Top defensive grades: 

DT D.J. Jones, 87.4
LB A.J. Moore, 78.6
DE Marquis Haynes, 78.6
DT Breeland Speaks 76.8
DE John Youngblood, 76.4

Ole Miss secondary has a long way to go 

The Rebels pass defense was flat-out awful Monday night and it only looks worse when you consider how much pressure they put on Deondre Francois. The Ole Miss front seven pressured the opposing QB on 43 percent of his dropbacks, a ridiculously high rate for college, and combined for four sacks, eight hits, and 16 hurries. Even with all that pressure, however, not a single starter graded above-average in coverage.

| Senior Analyst

Mike is a Senior Analyst at Pro Football Focus. His work has also been featured on The Washington Post, ESPN Insider, and 120 Sports.

  • scott brown

    ole miss needs to move Tony Conner to running back for the rest of the season. It could help us alot.
    Also Patterson needs too have his redshirt pulled