Date: October 30, 2014
Location: Papa John’s Stadium, Louisville, Kentucky
Opponent: Louisville Cardinals
Seven weeks into the 2014 season Florida State had earned a penchant for letting opponents get an early lead before snatching back victory, sometimes by the skin of its teeth, sometimes cruising to victory, but always enraging the the nation at large watching.
Just a week after narrowly beating Notre Dame due to an offensive pass interference call, the Seminoles found themselves in the largest hole they would all regular season: down 21, vs. the Louisville Cardinals.
A lucky Nick O’Leary fumble recovery made the score 21-7 at halftime, but then after a series that saw both a Jameis Winston interception-turned-fumble recovery and a turnover on downs, Florida State was facing a 24-7 deficit.
Eventually, as they would do all season (with one very, very important exception that we won’t talk about here), the Seminoles staged a comeback, getting a 68-yard touchdown from Travis Rudolph, a 40-yarder from Dalvin Cook and then finally, a 47-yard catch-and-score from Ermon Lane to take a 24-21 lead.
The Cardinals, in their first year (for the second time) under Bobby Petrino, launched a drive of their own, with a 51-yard DeVante Parker catch setting up a few Michael Dyer runs, one of which being good enough for a touchdown.
With 3:46 left in the game, the eyes of a nation weary from a 24-game long winning streak turned lustfully towards Papa John’s stadium, hopeful that the night before Halloween would bring some early treats.
And then Dalvin Cook pooped all over their hearts.
Some quick background information: Before this game, Cook had registered a total of 270 yards on the season, with 122 of those coming from a 23-carry game vs. Syracuse two weeks prior. His three touchdowns that season were from five yards, 19 yards and seven yards out and while those and other aforementioned numbers aren’t anything to be dismissed (especially for a freshman), it’s important to note that Cook hadn’t quite established himself as an every-down home run threat yet.
And so when the Miami native scampered off for his first big run against the Cardinals, it was an electrifying moment that showcased the potential that had been discussed since his commitment to Florida State that previous December, and when he hit the 38-yarder to seal the deal, he established the legend that would come in the wake of it, of a shifty, uncatchable speed demon deployed to be the final dagger in the hearts of opponents.