University of Miami

UM unable to make timely big plays against Dalvin Cook, FSU

Olsen Pierre got the first hand on him.

Tyriq McCord was next. Denzel Perryman dove and missed. Finally, Thurston Armbrister was the last Hurricane who got a hand on Dalvin Cook.

None of them could stop him. Cook, the kid who broke records, won state titles and Mr. Florida Football last year at Miami Central, knifed 26 yards, right through the heart of the Hurricanes defense. And when he was done, he stuck a dagger right in the center of it.

Cook’s touchdown run with 3:05 to play capped Florida State’s thrilling 30-26 come-from-behind victory at Sun Life Stadium and was the exclamation point on a crushing letdown for the Hurricanes defense.

UM, which had two weeks to prepare for this game and came in ranked 11th in total defense, led 23-7 in the second quarter. But Mark D’Onofrio’s group just couldn’t stop Jameis Winston — or his kicker Roberto Aguayo — from mounting a mega comeback.

Aguayo, one of the nation’s best kickers, booted field goals from 43, 37 and 53 yards. His kicks were a sign of how the Hurricanes scratched and clawed to keep FSU out of the end zone. But it wasn’t enough.

Cook finished with 92 yards on just seven carries. Essentially, he had just two big runs — that 26-yard game-winner, and a 44-yard touchdown run in the second quarter.

Miami’s defense came out like gangbusters in the first quarter. FSU went three-and-out on each of its first three series. Winston was under duress and just 4of7 for 10 yards in the opening quarter. The Seminoles had 14 yards of total offense.

But by halftime, it was clear the Hurricanes were in for a dogfight. Winston, last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, ended the half by getting picked off by Canes safety Deon Bush.

Bush, who also forced a fumble on a kick return in the first quarter that led to a field goal, was one of two big-time starters for the Hurricanes who didn’t finish the game. He and defensive end Anthony Chickillo left just before the end of the third quarter and didn’t return.

“It’s too early to tell [how bad the injuries are],’’ UM coach Al Golden said. “That was a big loss. Both of those guys were playing really well.’’

The Canes did all they could to slow Winston and FSU’s high-octane passing offense down. But they couldn’t make the plays when they had to.

Perryman tweeted afterward, “When you blitz, you don't want him [Winston] sitting back there making pizza. It was frustrating.’’

Winston finished 25 of 42 for 304 yards and a touchdown. That came on a lucky break, too. McCord batted the pass up in the air, but it came right down into the hands of Karlos Williams, who took it in for the score. That cut it to 23-17 midway through the third quarter.

FSU finished with 418 yards of total offense and was just 5of11 on third downs. FSU had the ball for just 24 minutes 23 seconds and turned it over three times. But the Seminoles found a way to win like they have all season.

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