TAMPA, Fla. (AP) – Dalvin Cook rushed for a career-high 267 yards and two touchdowns Saturday as No. 13 Florida State rebounded from the most lopsided loss in school history with a 55-35 rout of previously unbeaten South Florida.
Cook scored on a 75-yard run on the Seminoles’ first play from scrimmage, an immediate response to USF starting the game with Quinton Flowers and Rodney Adams teaming on an 84-yard catch-and-run for a quick 7-0 lead. The 213-pound junior’s rushing total on 28 carries topped his previous best of 266 yards against South Florida last year.
Florida State (3-1) bounced back from being trounced 63-20 by Louisville, a road shellacking that dropped the Seminoles 11 spots in the AP Top 25 from No. 2.
South Florida (3-1) is off to its fastest start since 2011, however the Bulls were no match for a talented bunch that began the season with expectations of contending for its second national title in four years.
Marlon Mack’s 1-yard TD run gave USF a brief lead before Cook, Freddie Stevenson and Bobo Wilson scored on Florida State’s next three possessions to put the Seminoles up 28-14.
Deondre Francois threw for 169 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. The red-shirt freshman added a 35-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter.
Florida State: Losing to Louisville by 43 may have severely damaged the Seminoles’ chances of winding up in this year’s College Football Playoff, however getting Cook back on track will give them a chance to have an impact on the race.
South Florida: Beating the Seminoles would have been nice, however a better test of where coach Willie Taggart’s rebuilding job stands is whether they can shrug off the disappointment and contend for a spot in the AAC championship game.
Florida State: Seminoles return to Tallahassee for their ACC home opener against North Carolina.
South Florida: The Bulls begin their AAC schedule next Saturday at Cincinnati.