By JOE REEDY
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida State’s Dalvin Cook hopes that Saturday’s game against Louisville goes a lot better than the last time he came off a 200-yard game.
Last month, Cook rushed for 266 yards against South Florida but was held to 54 yards on 15 carries in the next game at Boston College. With 222 yards and three touchdowns in last Saturday’s 29-24 win over Miami, Cook has 792 yards for the 12th-ranked Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which is the second-most yards by an ACC back through five games since 1996.
Had it not been for a hamstring injury during the first quarter on Oct. 3 at Wake Forest, Cook likely would have surpassed the 821 yards by Maryland’s Bruce Perry in 2001.
While no one debates Cook’s speed, Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher gets perturbed at those who say it’s just a matter of a fast guy getting the ball and running free.
"It’s like saying a guy swings the bat hard, he ought to be able to hit. All of a sudden, they throw that changer, slider, the 98-mile fastball, that cutter, you can’t hit," Fisher said. "He runs with great tempo. When it’s burst time, it’s burst time. When it’s read time, it’s read time. He can transition both up and back like that because he has great vision, his eyes and what he sees."
Louisville (2-3, 1-1 ACC) has firsthand knowledge of what Cook can do.
In last year’s game, where Florida State trailed 21-0 before rallying for a 42-31 victory, Cook had 110 yards on nine carries, including a 38-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to give the Seminoles the lead for good.
Louisville defensive coordinator Todd Grantham said that Cook is the most explosive back he has seen in a long time and added that it was going to be a team effort to stop him.
"He’s a guy that if you give him a seam he can hit it and go the distance," Grantham said. "We’ve got to do a good job of setting the edge in the run game and make sure we build a wall inside to keep seams to a minimum."
Florida State’s defense will also have to contain the run. Louisville freshman quarterback Lamar Jackson has three 100-yard rushing games and is averaging 6.6 yards per carry. Jackson, who grew up in Pompano Beach, Florida, School, was recruited by Florida State. Jackson is one of 23 Florida natives on Louisville’s roster.
Some other things to watch when Florida State hosts Louisville:
STEADY GOLSON: Florida State quarterback Everett Golson has gone 152 attempts without an interception as the Seminoles remain the only team without an offensive turnover. Louisville faced Golson last year when he was at Notre Dame and Grantham said the biggest difference in Golson this year is the lack of turnovers.
SECONDARY STRUGGLES: Florida State’s secondary, which was thought to be a strength coming into the season, has had his problems. Cornerback Jalen Ramsey missed a couple tackles last week and the unit has had some depth issues as two players have been ejected during games this season due to targeting calls.
JIMBO’S DIAMOND GAME: Saturday marks Fisher’s 75th game as Florida State’s head coach. With a win he would be 64-11, which according to STATS LLC would tie him with Pete Carroll and Bob Stoops for second-best starts by a head coach since 1996. Chris Peterson was 69-6 at Boise State before going to Washington.
YOUNG TARGETS: Three freshmen — tight end Micky Crum and wideouts Traveon Samuel and Jaylen Smith — have become regular contributors to the Cardinals’ passing game. Smith leads Louisville with 214 yards, Samuel has a team-high 14 receptions and Crum has two TDs, helping fill the void while players such as James Quick and Jamari Staples dealt with injuries. Quick has returned to catch seven passes for 113 yards the past two games.
GETTING PRESSURE: Louisville defensive end Sheldon Rankins has three sacks over the past two games and is fourth on the team in tackles with 31, including 5 1/2 tackles for loss.
AP Sports Writer Gary B. Graves in Louisville, Kentucky, contributed to this report.
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