If the season ended today, a guy in Louisiana would walk away with the Heisman Trophy. No argument there. But Florida State running back Dalvin Cook would be in New York, sitting right next to him.
The sophomore from Miami poured in a monster effort to lead his Seminoles past his hometown team, as No. 12 Florida State survived a comeback effort to edge Miami 29-24 Saturday night in Tallahassee. Cook set a Florida State record for rushing yards against Miami by carrying 22 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns while also hauling in three receptions for 47 yards and a touchdown.
He made his mark early, taking an option pitch from Everett Golson and racing 72 yards for a touchdown to give Florida State a 7-0 lead, then hauling in a 36-yard touchdown pass to push the lead to 14-3 not 10 minutes into the game.
Miami responded, though, climbing from a 17-3 second-quarter deficit and a 20-10 halftime hole to eventually grab a 24-23 lead after Brad Kaaya hit Stacy Coley for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 10:02 remaining. But Cook answered – again – posting consecutive 23-yard runs, the second to paydirt, to put the ‘Noles back on top with 6:44 to play.
Miami touched the ball twice more, but never managed to penetrate Florida State territory on either touch, as the Seminoles’ front harassed Kaya throughout.
Kaaya was great in a second straight close-but-no-Cuban effort against Florida State, hitting 29-of-49 throws for 405 yards and three touchdowns. His right arm was the entirety of Miami’s offense; Joseph Yearby led the ‘Canes’ ground efforts with 15 carries for 33 yards.
Golson turned in easily his best effort as a Seminole with 291 yards and a touchdown on 25-of-33 passing to go with 14 yards on the ground. But his exploits took a backseat to Cook, who registered his second 200-plus yard game and his third multi-touchdown outing of the young season.
The win pushes Florida State to 5-0 on the season (3-0 ACC) with wins in their last 27 ACC outings and now 34 triumphs in 35 tries – and sixth straight victory over their rivals from the south.
For Miami and Al Golden, the loss drops the Hurricanes to 3-2 on the season (0-1) in the ACC and, most importantly, 0-fer against Florida State and 0-fer against teams that finished the season ranked in the top 25.
Miami hosts Virginia Tech next week, while Florida State hosts Louisville.