Dalvin Cook. Coming into this season there were high expectations for the sophomore tailback. Some in the media had even dubbed Cook as a Heisman contender. Against USF, Cook both met and surpassed the hype as he put the Seminoles on his back by rushing for 266 yards and three touchdowns, the second best performance by an FSU running back in school history.
The previous week against Texas State, the Seminoles executed and performed well on offense. This week was a different story. USF controlled the line of scrimmage from the very start and their defensive line wreaked havoc on the Seminoles offensive line. The right side of the line in particular continued to struggle, especially with the various stunts and blitzes that USF executed.
Quarterback Everett Golson did a complete 180 after throwing for four touchdowns and three hundred yards last week. In the first half this week, Golson only completed one pass and he looked a step slow in his progressions. His passes were short, he was constantly scrambling, and he generally struggled to get the ball down the field in the first half. Dalvin Cook out produced the entire FSU offense in the first half, rushing for 115 yards while the rest of the unit only produced 110 yards. Cook’s 74-yard scamper to the endzone was FSU’s lone score of the first half.
Defensively, the Seminoles played quite well. The defensive line and linebackers did a good job of filling the running lanes and getting pressure on the quarterback during passing situations. Cornerback Marquez White had a very impressive first half as he played the run well and also had an interception in the endzone on a corner fade route. The defense managed to play well even after starting safety Lamarcus Brutus was ejected for targeting on a punt return.
With the score being tied 7-7 at halftime, fans and pundits alike began to become nervous for FSU. However, Kermit Whitfield’s 60-yard kickoff return to open the second half quickly changed the momentum of the game in the Seminoles favor.
Golson finally began to connect with his receivers and he finished the game 14-26 with 163 yards passing and one touchdown. The Seminoles also continued to ride Dalvin Cook to the tune of 151 yards and two touchdowns in the second half. The defense held the USF Bulls in check, allowing only one more touchdown as FSU went on a 27-7 second half scoring run, eventually winning the game 34-14.
Next week, FSU plays at Boston College on Friday night. If the Seminoles are to have success in their first road game of the season, the offensive line must play better and Golson must find his rhythm much faster than he did against USF. However, with both FSU’s defense and Dalvin Cook in the backfield, the Seminoles will still be tough for Boston College to defeat.