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Dalvin Cook carries Florida State but rest of offense evolving

Dalvin Cook accounted for three touchdowns against Miami, but the rest of FSU's offense showed some growth as well. Stephen M. Dowell/Orlando Sentinel/Getty Images

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Florida State running back Dalvin Cook nears the right sideline, makes a cut off of receiver Jesus Wilson's block and scores the go-ahead, game-winning 26-yard touchdown against Miami in the fourth quarter.

Wait. That was 2014.

OK, here’s the Saturday’s touchdown.

Florida State running back Dalvin Cook nears the right sideline, makes a cut off of receiver Jesus Wilson's block and scores the go-ahead, game-winning 23-yard touchdown against Miami in the fourth quarter.

“It’s a great feeling. It’s something you can’t describe,” Cook said.

The Seminoles’ 29-24 win against Miami on Saturday was more revival than déjà vu for the Hurricanes. They had been there before, and once again it was the Miami native Cook sinking the hopes of the Hurricanes to avoid the upset and keep the Seminoles undefeated.

“You saw Dalvin Cook, one of the best pure players in college football. That guy is something different now,” Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I'm glad he's on my team, I know that.”

He’s the Seminoles’ latest Heisman Trophy contender. For the season, he’s second nationally with 158 yards per game and second among Power 5 running backs with at least 50 carries in yards per carry (9.0). He is tied for first nationally in rushes of at least 20 (12), 30 (7), 50 (4), 70 (3) and 90 (1) yards.

Saturday, Cook finished with 222 rushing yards, a 10.1 yards per carry average, 47 receiving yards and three total touchdowns.

Not listed in the box score is the unstable left hamstring Cook was operating on. He missed the final three quarters of the Seminoles’ game Oct. 3. On his first touch against Miami, he ran away from defenders on a 72-yard touchdown.

“I wasn’t doubtful at all” that Cook would play, Seminoles left tackle Rod Johnson said. “He did a little bit of things [in practice] but I knew deep down this is Miami-Florida State and knowing Dalvin this is a very, very big game for him.”

Through five games, the offense has leaned heavily on Cook. His 792 rushing yards account for 37 percent of Florida State’s total offense, and he’s missed time with the hamstring. For comparison, LSU RB Leonard Fournette's 1,022 yards accounts for 44 percent of LSU’s offense.

No. 11 Florida State remains undefeated because of Cook.

However, the rest of the Seminoles offense finally showed life against Miami. Senior quarterback Everett Golson played his best game of the season, and Fisher looked to Golson to move the ball early in the Seminoles’ game-winning drive.

The first three plays were Golson throws, the last of which was a 20-yard gain on third and long. He converted another third down later in the drive with his feet before handing off to Cook for the final 46 yards -- back-to-back 23-yard runs.

Golson completed 25 of 33 attempts for 291 yards and a touchdown with no turnovers. He’s yet to turn the ball over this season in 175 action plays, which ranks second among quarterbacks nationally. He was second worst among FBS players last season with 22 turnovers.

Florida State opened up the offense for Golson. Fisher called for pre-snap motions, quick screens and options, the first of which was Cook’s 72-yard touchdown. On play-action passes they attacked the intermediate zone, an area Golson had avoided early in the season.

“There's a lot of things you don't have to ‐‐ it's about winning the next game and doing what you have to do. You don't show everything, and you don't have to do everything,” Fisher said. “We've got a lot of things left in our tank that we have to do, and we'll use them if we have to. … We thought it was needed, we knew they'd score points. They're an excellent defense. We had to be diverse.”

Three of the Seminoles’ next four games are against top-26 defenses, so the offense needed to show some progress. It did against Miami.

“[Golson] is playing great ball, not turning the ball over,” Cook said. “There’s no pressure on me.”