TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State Heisman Trophy candidate Dalvin Cook, owner of the fourth-best rushing average nationally, is taking his share of responsibility for the Seminoles’ offensive struggles in their last game.
Cook barely stepped out of bounds on what would have been a long touchdown run against Boston College in Week 3. The offense scored only seven points against the Eagles.
“I have to take advantage of that. I can’t leave an extra 50 yards on the field,” the star sophomore said. “That could have changed the momentum of the game.”
The Seminoles’ best offensive player by a wide margin, Cook is willing to share the blame with his teammates, even if he hardly warrants any. The Seminoles might be sitting with two losses at this point if not for Cook. Over the course of his short career he has made a habit of playing his best when the Seminoles need him most.
Against an improved Wake Forest team, the Seminoles will need Cook early with backup Mario Pender out with a collapsed lung. Cook missed the final few plays against Boston College with a minor chest injury, but he’s practicing fully in the lead-up to Saturday’s game.
Last season against the Demon Deacons, Cook had his first career 100-yard game, rushing for 112 yards on 23 carries. An elite high school recruit in the 2014 class, it was the game Cook confirmed to the Seminoles’ fan base he would be a special player in Tallahassee, following in the footsteps of predecessor Devonta Freeman.
An early enrollee in January 2014, it took Cook a few games to find his footing at the collegiate level.
“He wanted every run to be a touchdown, instead of taking a 4‐yard run [and] just make it a 7- or 8-yard run,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “He did that early until he learned, those runs come. All your great players out of high school are so used to breaking things. Sometimes at this level you've just got to drop those pads, make those 6-, 7-, 8-yard runs and those big ones come.”
The big ones are now coming consistently for Cook. He’s tied for second among Power 5 running backs with four rushes of at least 30 yards. He’s tied for first among Power 5 constituents with two runs of at least 50 yards.
It’s why Florida State will continue relying on Cook, especially as the offense continues to develop with Everett Golson.
“It took time for me to understand what Coach Fisher was talking about,” Cook said. “When I started really playing and knowing what I was doing and moving fast in practice, it did show in the game.”