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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com)– Dalvin Cook ran over, around and through the South Florida Bulls on Saturday.
With Florida State’s offense otherwise sputtering after a rare morning kickoff, Cook jarred the Seminoles awake with 266 yards on 30 carries and three touchdowns that carried No. 11 FSU to 34-14 victory over USF.
Cook’s 266 rushing yards are the second-most rushing yards by a Seminole, only eclipsed by Greg Allen’s 322 yards churned up vs. Western Carolina in 1981.
Cook became just the fifth Florida State running back to reach the 200-yard mark, and the first since Sammie Smith in 1988. And he posted his fifth straight game with at least 100 yards, tying Greg Jones (2001-02) for the second-most in school history.
He can tie Warrick Dunn’s record next week when the Seminoles (2-0) open conference play at Boston College on Friday night at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Cook’s output was the highest of the Jimbo Fisher era, topping Chris Thompson’s 197 yards against Wake Forest in 2012.
And he didn’t need too many carries to do it. That’s thanks in large part to runs of 74, 50 and 24 runs, two of which went for scores before he ran off another run for 37 yards that went for a score with 1:55 left.
One of his long rushes, the 50-yarder midway through the third quarter, ended with Cook in the end zone. But officials ruled that Cook stepped out of bounds at the 7-yard line after a USF defender got a hold of Cook’s collar from behind.
A holding penalty then wiped out what would have been another Cook TD early in the fourth quarter.
Still, the touchdowns that counted were memorable enough.
The first started at FSU’s 24-yard line and ended only after Cook ran past one USF defender, sprinted between two more and then finally pulled away down the sideline for a score that gave the Seminoles a 7-0 lead.
If the second wasn’t quite as acrobatic, it was no less important. On the opening drive of the third quarter, with the score tied at 7-7, Cook took a handoff to the right side and, without much apparent room to run, turned the corner and darted into the end zone without a USF defender laying so much as a finger on him.
It started a run of 17 straight third-quarter points that helped put the Bulls away.
Quarterback Everett Golson, meanwhile, overcame a slow first half (1 of 9, six yards) to finish with an efficient 163 passing yards on 14 of 26 passing.
Golson connected with Bobo Wilson for a 23-yard touchdown in the third quarter and has yet to turn the ball over through two games.
Golson’s second-half surge was indicative of a far better effort for the Seminoles’ offense over the final 30 minutes.
After posting just 110 total yards at halftime (104 of which were Cook’s), FSU finished the game with 441 yards, including 331 second-half yards.