But the Golden Eagles couldn't keep the momentum, mainly due to their own mistakes, including four defensive offside penalties on Florida State's opening drive.
It was the final game for Florida State under interim coach Odell Haggins, who took over after Jimbo Fisher departed for Texas A&M and a $75 million contract.
For a 41st straight season, Florida State will finish with a winning record.
Blackman, who replaced Deondre Francois after the sophomore suffered a season-ending patella tendon injury on September 2 against Alabama, connected with wide receiver Auden Tate on scoring strikes of 20, 10 and 17 yards. Get the app and get the game.
Southern Mississippi pioneered an eight-play, 78-yard drive on the first drive of the game, capped off by a 5-yard touchdown score from quarterback Kwadra Griggs.More news: Extreme cold warning issued
"If you can get a little momentum going, you've got a chance to get this thing into the third quarter or the fourth quarter and we'll see what happens", Hopson said. These teams weren't in the same class, and Florida State drove that home. "Just a tough loss today".
Quarterback James Blackman had the offense humming, leading the offense to a 23-6 lead entering the half.
Griggs hit Korey Robertson for a 13-yard touchdown with 44 seconds left in the quarter, chopping the Southern Miss deficit to 33-13.
He had not been utilized heavily in that aspect over the past two seasons but did have 21 kick returns to his name over his first two seasons at Southern Miss. Blackman found Cam Akers with a 14-yard scoring strike just over two minutes into the second quarter to make it 13-6. He also added 27 yards rushing on five carries. A hiccup. A season to forget for a program that should be a national power. Cook had 1,008 yards in 2014. Florida State was simply more talented than Southern Miss at just about every position and it showed.
Both kickers missed extra points early. Florida State still has a talented roster and there's ample reason to believe it could be a quick turnaround for the storied program.