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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com)– Deondre Francois made himself right at home in Doak Campbell Stadium, and Dalvin Cook got on track, too, as No. 3 Florida State overpowered Charleston Southern for a 52-8 victory in front of 75,831 fans.
The Seminoles improved to 2-0 for the sixth straight season, and will open ACC play at No. 13 Louisville next week.
Making his home debut, Francois threw for 262 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to junior receiver Travis Rudolph.
Rudolph caught seven passes for 105 yards and upped his season TD total to three. He had seven touchdowns in 13 games a year ago.
Cook, meanwhile, finished with fewer total yards than he did in last week’s opener against Mississippi, but, on occasion, appeared to flash more of the burst and elusiveness that’s become his trademark over the last few seasons.
He finished with 83 yards on just 11 carries, 37 of which came on a winding, weaving touchdown run through the heart of the Charleston Southern defense midway through the third quarter.
That was the second of two touchdowns for Cook, who was held scoreless last week.
Cook’s fellow running back, sophomore Jacques Patrick, also had an impressive sequence in which he touched the ball five times on a six-play drive, and finished it off with a two-yard plunge into the end zone.
With 14 Charleston Southern players suspended for Saturday’s game, the Seminoles built a quick 28-0 lead on the strength of TDs from Francois and Cook, as well as an 89-yard punt return for a touchdown by senior Bobo Wilson.
It was Florida State’s first punt return for a score since Tyler Hunter did it against Duke in 2012.
The Seminoles slowed down some over the game’s final three quarters – coach Jimbo Fisher emptied his bench for the fourth quarter – but were never threatened by the Buccaneers, who are ranked No. 7 in the FCS Coaches Poll.
FSU will visit Louisville, a 62-28 winner over Syracuse, Saturday at noon. ESPN’s College Gameday will broadcast live from Louisville.
FSU turned in a stout defensive effort, limiting the Buccaneers to 294 total yards, 57 of which came on a long touchdown pass which was the result of a blown coverage in the secondary.
CSU came into the game averaging 287 rushing yards per contest, but the Seminoles allowed just 152 rushing yards on 39 attempts.
The Seminoles also continued a welcome trend of forcing turnovers. FSU recovered three of six Charleston Southern fumbles and turned those into 14 points. Through two games, the Seminoles have forced seven turnovers while committing just one of their own.
Saturday’s victory, however, did come at a cost, as star safety Derwin James left midway through the third quarter and did not return. Florida State later announced that James had a left knee injury, the severity of which is not yet known.