TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Although he wasn’t in the mood to reflect on his individual accomplishments, Dalvin Cook reached yet another milestone during Florida State’s 37-34 loss to Clemson on Saturday.
With his 70-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter, Cook topped 1,000 rushing yards for the third consecutive season.
He’s just the second Seminole to ever accomplish the feat (Warrick Dunn did it from 1994-96) and only the seventh player in ACC history.
Cook, who ran for 169 yards and four touchdowns against the Tigers, will no doubt appreciate the achievement one day. But it was the last thing on his mind after a difficult defeat.
“What I really want is a national championship,” Cook said. “I’m not a guy about stats. I’m a guy about wins and losses. I’m a team guy. I always want my guys to succeed.”
Florida State still has four more games in the regular season, which means that Cook is well within striking distance of the biggest prize in the school’s rushing record book.
After amassing 1,069 yards this season, Cook now has 3,768 rushing yards for his career – just 191 yards shy of Dunn’s all-time mark of 3,959. He could potentially break the record next week at North Carolina State.
But Cook insists that personal accolades pale in comparison to the team’s success. Picking up a win against the Wolfpack remains the top priority.
“I know all these guys want to win every game,” he said. “that’s my focus right there: keep these guys’ heads straight and keep playing some good football.”
‘Noonie’ takes advantage of extra workload
With senior receiver Jesus Wilson sidelined by a foot injury, sophomore receiver Nyqwan Murray filled in and delivered the finest game of his young career.
Murray, nicknamed “Noonie,” led the team with six catches for 96 yards and an impressive, toe-tapping touchdown in the front corner of the end zone.
He also caught a 40-yarder in thick coverage that led to a touchdown later in the second quarter.
“’Noonie’ really stepped up and really played big in the game,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “I told the guy, I love the way he’s been developing in the game.”
A former standout at Oak Ridge High in Orlando, Murray was one of the breakout stars of Florida State’s fall camp in August. But a veteran-heavy depth chart, combined with what Fisher called “little things and silly things he did,” limited Murray’s action through the first half of the season.
Murray, however, responded to Wilson’s absence with a strong week of practice and then brought it over to the field on Saturday night.
“He came on in practice and accepted the challenge,” Fisher said. “…The guy can be a tremendous football player. We’ve just got to get him going.”
Noles quickly turn focus to NC State
With Saturday’s game not finishing until well past midnight, the Seminoles can be forgiven if they feel like they’re headed to NC State on a short week.
The ACC announced Sunday that the Seminoles and Wolfpack will kick off at 7 p.m., and, as history suggests, night games at NC State’s Carter-Finley Stadium are never a picnic.
FSU is 2-3 in its last five trips to Raleigh and hasn’t won a night game there since a Thursday-night contest in 2008.
So there’s no time for the Seminoles to dwell on Saturday’s loss.
Asked how to ensure that the team puts its disappointment in the past, Fisher said, “I told them, ‘If you go out there deflated on Monday, don’t come out here. I’m going to run you off. You’d better come ready to win four great games down the stretch.’
“That’s how you do it: You tell them, and then make them do it.”