This post originally appeared at The Daily Nole on Sept. 2, 2016
Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francois will make his highly-anticipated debut on Monday night against 11th-ranked Ole Miss at Camping World Stadium in Orlando.
For the Seminoles, it’s their sixth Labor Day contest since 2005. FSU went 3-2 in the previous five. Florida State was scheduled to take on Miami on Labor Day in 2004, but the contest was moved back to Friday, because of a hurricane.
Francois will become the third Florida State quarterback to make his first Seminole start on Labor Day on Monday. Facing a talented Ole Miss defense will be no small task, but head coach Jimbo Fisher seems to think Francois will be up to the challenge.
On Labor Day, some Seminole quarterbacks have been outstanding while others were not so good. Here’s how FSU quarterbacks performed on Labor Day in years past:
Drew Weatherford vs. Miami
Sept. 5, 2005 — FSU 10, Miami 7
Stats: 7-for-24 passing, 67 yards, interception
As a redshirt freshman, it was Drew Weatherford, who was the starting quarterback that snapped the Seminoles’ 6-game losing streak to rival Miami. Weatherford’s debut however, was a rocky one to say the least. Weatherford finished the night with just 67 yards passing on less than three yards per attempt. James Coleman scored the only FSU touchdown while the defense came through with nine sacks. It was Weatherford however, who sealed the victory with a quarterback sneak for a first down after Miami mishandled the snap on a field goal attempt that would have tied the game.
Drew Weatherford at Miami
Sept. 4, 2006 — FSU 13, Miami 10
Stats: 16-for-32 passing, 175 yards, interception
In his second straight Labor Day start against Miami, Drew Weatherford had another pedestrian day against the Hurricanes, but was able to rally the Seminoles with 10 fourth quarter points to eek out the victory. Fullback Joe Surratt scored the only FSU touchdown. A 33-yard field goal from Gary Cismesia with eight minutes to go put the Seminoles ahead for good. Michael Ray Garvin sealed the victory with a late interception of Miami’s Kyle Wright.
Drew Weatherford at Clemson
Sept. 3, 2007 — Clemson 24, FSU 18
Stats: 17-for-34 passing, 142 yards, touchdown
In his third straight Labor Day start, Florida State redshirt junior Drew Weatherford tried to lead a Seminole rally, but ultimately, that rally fell short. After trailing 24-3 at halftime, the Seminoles outscored Clemson 15-0 in the second half at Memorial Stadium, thanks to a safety, a long touchdown run from Antone Smith and a Weatherford touchdown toss to Richard Goodman. FSU pulled to within six early in the fourth quarter, but could not score on any of its last three possessions. For the night, Weatherford averaged just more than four yards per pass attempt.
Christian Ponder vs. Miami
Sept. 7, 2009 — Miami 38, FSU 34
Stats: 24-for-41 passing, 294 yards, 2 touchdowns, interception, rushing touchdown
Florida State was unable to beat Miami at Doak Campbell Stadium to open the 2009 season, but that had nothing to do with quarterback Christian Ponder. Ponder led three second half scoring drives and with the Seminoles trailing 38-34, had his team in position to win the game. Flushed to his right on the game’s final play, Ponder fired a pass into the end zone, but it was dropped by Jarmon Fortson as time expired. The Hurricanes may have held on, but Ponder finished the night with 322 yards of total offense before going on to have a breakout season.
Jameis Winston at Pittsburgh
Sept. 2, 2013 — FSU 41, Pittsburgh 13
Stats: 25-for-27 passing, 356 yards, four touchdowns, rushing touchdown
It didn’t take Florida State long to know it had something special in redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston. In his FSU debut, Winston complete 93 percent of his passes and accounted for five total touchdowns at Heinz Field in a Seminole rout of Pittsburgh. Three of Winston’s four touchdown tosses went to tight end Nick O’Leary. FSU would go on to finish 14-0 and national champions while Winston would become the youngest player to win the Heisman Trophy.
Mike Ferguson is the lead writer for Double Fries No Slaw. Be sure to follow Mike on Twitter at @MikeWFerguson. Follow all of Mike’s work by liking his Facebook page.