Cook's 266 yards carry No. 11 Florida State to win
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) With rain pelting Doak Campbell Stadium during pregame warmups, Florida State running back Dalvin Cook figured he was going to see plenty of carries during Saturday's game against South Florida.
The rain ended up subsiding before kickoff but Cook ended up having one of the best rushing performances in school history. The sophomore rushed for 266 yards on 30 carries with three touchdowns in the 11th-ranked Seminoles 34-14 victory.
It is the second-best rushing game in school history and the first 200-yard game by a Florida State back since Sammie Smith had 212 yards against Tulane in 1988. Greg Allen has the school record with 322 yards against Western Carolina in 1981.
''He was in the zone today. He prepared well this week. He gave us hell on defense - this whole week,'' Florida State cornerback Marquez White said.
Cook said he didn't know how many yards he had until a postgame interview on the field. He figured he was over 200 yards after breaking a couple long runs but didn't know for sure.
''I felt like we were going to run well today,'' said Cook, who has five straight 100-yard games dating back to last season. ''The first half we didn't play well but in the second half we had to open it up and we came out strong.''
After two games, Cook has rushed for 422 yards, scored five touchdowns and is averaging 8.6 yards per carry. After his 37-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter, fans started chanting ''Heisman.'' A running back from a Florida school has never won the Heisman.
South Florida coach Willie Taggart knows Cook well. He tried to recruit him at Miami Central.
''Cook is the real deal. You look at their offense, he was pretty much their entire offense,'' Taggart said.
Cook carried the Seminoles in the first half. The passing game had only six yards as it was tied 7-all at halftime. Florida State had no passing yards in the first quarter. The last time that happened according to STATS was in the 2010 Chick-Fil-A Bowl against South Carolina.
''The big plays came at big moments for our team to be successful,'' said Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher, who got his 60th victory in his sixth season. ''Dalvin is a guy who has individual efforts, like some other great ones I've been able to coach in the past that don't do it for themselves, they were doing it for this team because the team needed it.''
Cook's 74-yard touchdown in the first quarter started the scoring and might be one of the plays of the weekend in college football. He found an opening on the right side of the line, gained speed toward the middle of the field, where he juked past USF's Jamie Byrd and then bounced off Tajee Fulwood at the Bulls' 27 before racing along the left sideline for the score.
His 24-yard touchdown on the opening possession of the second half put the Seminoles (2-0) ahead for good as they scored on all five second-half drives. Everett Golson finished 14 of 26 for 163 yards and a touchdown.
USF was trying for an encore of its 2009 upset of the Seminoles but couldn't gain any momentum in the second half as it had possession for only 8 minutes, 39 seconds. The Bulls would have had the halftime lead if it wasn't for a costly red-zone turnover. Late in the first quarter, Quinton Flowers threw an interception to White in the end zone.
D'Ernest Johnson scored both USF touchdowns as he had five receptions for 89 yards. His 71-yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter brought the Bulls within 24-13. Flowers was 12 of 24 for 125 yards and Marlon Mack had 83 yards on 18 carries.
Florida State's Roberto Aguayo set an Atlantic Coast Conference record with his 161st consecutive extra-point kick.
AP college football website: collegefootball.ap.org