After torching the University of Miami’s defense for 379 total yards and five touchdowns in the past two meetings, Dalvin Cook struggled — with the exception of one long run — to get going in the first half of the latest installment on Saturday night.
But, with the Seminoles trailing 13-3 and in need of a big play, Cook found a way to make an impact, scoring on a 59-yard reception on Florida State’s second drive of the second half. That play helped turn the momentum towards the Noles in their 20-19 victory Saturday night.
That play was Cook’s only touchdown reception this season. His 36-yard touchdown reception in last season’s matchup was his lone touchdown reception last season.
“This game right here is one of the reasons I came to Florida State,” Cook said. “One of the reasons why I came to Florida State was to play in games like this — big time moments like this. To be undefeated against those guys tells us what type of team we are and the type of players coach [Jimbo] Fisher recruits around here.”
Cook also had a 54-yard run early in the second quarter. After breaking a few tackles near the line of scrimmage, Cook ran down the left side of the field before Corn Elder ran him down and tackled him at the Miami 22-yard line.
Cook, a former standout at Miami Central, finished the game with 209 total yards and the touchdown.
“This here’s my backyard,” Cook said. “I’m going to give them whatever they want to see. This game right here will bring that extra motivation and that extra effort out of me to win this game no matter what.”
The Hurricanes entered the game ranked fifth in the Football Bowl Subdivision in third-down defense, giving up just 13 conversions on 61 attempts, for a 21.3 third-down conversion percentage. Florida State converted nine third downs on 17 attempts for a conversion percentage of 52.9.
FSU’s 23 first downs were the most that Miami has given up all season, as were the Seminoles’ 240 passing yards and 407 total yards.
Miami’s defense did force five Florida State punts. Safety Jaquan Johnson had his first interception of the season, picking off Sean Maguire after he came in for starter Deondre Francois when Francois was shaken up by a hit. However, the Miami defense forced only one three-and-out.
The UM defense spent a lot of time on the field, with the Noles possessing the ball for nearly 14 minutes longer.