The ‘Noles came into USF needing a big win following the loss at Louisville, which the team got, defeating the South Florida Bulls 55-35 and will return to Tallahassee with a 3-1 record.
After a game in which Florida State gave up the most points in school history, one would expect FSU to work on that aspect in practice the week leading to USF.
Instead, the defense left off right as they were, giving up an 82 yard touchdown pass on USF’s first drive of the game, putting the ‘Noles in a deficit just 17 seconds into the game. Dalvin Cook responded of Florida State’s first offensive play from scrimmage, going 75-yards to the end zone to tie things up. The offensive scoring did not stop there, as USF ran down the field, going 76 yards for another touchdown. In just one minute and 42 seconds on defense, FSU had allowed 14 points.
Cook once again broke out for a touchdown, from 13 yards away, but in a different manor. After his first long run was a test of speed, Cook muscled his way on the ‘Noles second drive, testing the shoulder, and ultimately tied up the game after a 13 yard run.
FSU would then take control of the game, scoring two more times from Freddie Stevenson and a Bobo Wilson reception. By the end of the first quarter, FSU was up 28-14 and had amassed 250 total yards after only gaining 287 in four quarters at Louisville.
The offense would quiet down in the second quarter as FSU managed to tack on another 10 points from Freddie Stevenson and Ricky Aguayo, 25-yards out. The defense finally picked it up as well, limiting USF to just 35 total yards in the quarter while shutting out the offense. Tarvarus McFadden picked up his third interception of the season, a number that led Florida State in 2015.
At the half, with Florida State up 38-14, Dalvin Cook had amassed 185 rushing yards on nine carries, already inside the top-20 all time single game rushing games in FSU history.
Jacques Patrick, after standing out against Louisville, made the most of his carries on Saturday against USF. The sophomore amassed 40 of his 124 yards in the day with the third quarter, including a touchdown. USF answered back with a touchdown of its own, but still trailed the ‘Noles 45-21.
In the fourth, Deondre Francois added a 35-yard touchdown run alongside a Ricky Aguayo field goal for the ‘Noles only scores of the quarter. Against a mixture of first and second team players on the Florida State defense, USF put 14 more points on the board before the game ended
Florida State’s 478 total rushing yards were the most ever given up by USF, and first time FSU had more than 400 yards on the ground since 2002. Dalvin Cook was responsible for 267 of those yards, while also leading the team with 62 receiving yards. The heavy rushing game was something not seen in the near past from Florida State, with the last time before today the team ran more than 60 times was back in 2002.
Florida State returns home next week for a conference matchup with UNC.