There for a while, the South Florida Bulls seemed to be entertaining thoughts of an upset. Then USF’s dreams got Cooked.
Running back Dalvin Cook, who missed most of the preseason, rolled to a three-touchdown, 266-yard rushing afternoon for Florida State, enabling the Seminoles to pull away in a 34-14 victory.
It was the first 200-yard day by a Seminole in 27 seasons, since Sammie Smith rushed for 212 against Tulane. It was the second-highest total by an FSU player ever, behind only Greg Allen’s 322 against Western Carolina.
The game had been tied, 7-7, at the half as FSU quarterback Everett Golson had a miserable time of it. But Cook was more than the equalizer, breaking four tackles on a 74-yard run and adding two other scores. FSU outscored USF 17-0 in the third period and 10-7 in the fourth. The Seminoles scored on all five of their second half drives.
Golson struggled in the face of a heavy USF rush, but he did end up going 14-for-26 for 163 yards. USF quarterback Quinton Flowers was 12 of 24 for 126 yards and threw two touchdown passes to D’Earnest Johnson.
Besides his long run, Cook also had touchdown runs 24 and 37 yards. In two games, Cook has rushed for 422 yards.
FSU travels to Boston College to play Friday night. USF travels to Maryland on Saturday.
Florida 31, East Carolina 24: All you need to do to describe this one was to notice the veins standing up on the neck of Gators’ coach Jim McElwain.
McElwain had several emotional outbursts as his Gators struggled to beat East Carolina, much like they did in last season’s Birmingham Bowl. McElwain was upset by two missed field goals, 12 penalties and two turnovers as well as a taunting penalty against Kelvin Taylor.
“That was embarrassing. We didn’t deserve to win the game,” said McElwain, whose team was called for just one penalty in last week’s 63-13 defeat of New Mexico State. “This is not how it’s going to be around here anymore. There were a lot more bad things than good things.”
Once again, McElwain used two quarterbacks, and once again, you can make an argument for either of them. Will Grier got the start, and in his eight drives he was 10 of 17 for 151 yards, two touchdowns and an interception. Harris was five of eight for 54 yards.
The Gators’ defense wasn’t nearly as good as advertised, giving up 346 yards through the air while playing without Vernon Hargreaves. Even Towson State last week gave up only 230 to the Pirates. This game wasn’t over until 21 seconds were left when the ball slipped from East Carolina quarterback Blake Kemp‘s hands and was recovered by Gator Alex McCalister.
It was a humbling game for the Gators, who play against Kentucky next week.
Indiana 36, FIU 22: The Panthers were marching toward the tying touchdown in the final minutes of the game when quarterback Alex McGough was intercepted. The pick was returned 96 yards by Jameel Cook Jr. to ice the game for the Hoosiers.
FIU led 22-19 in the second half, but after that, Indiana took advantage of turnovers. With the score tied at 22, McGough fumbled when sacked at his own 16, leading to the go-ahead score.
For the night, McGough hit 21 of 37 for 249 yards and three scores. His late turnovers were costly, however.
FIU plays North Carolina Central next Saturday.
Stanford 31, UCF 7: Central Florida has been an impressive team for the last couple of seasons, but the Knights fell to 0-2 Saturday night.
Stanford overwhelmed UCF, giving up only a touchdown in the final minute of the game. Bryce Love scored for the Cardinal on a 93-yard reception, and quarterback Kevin Hogan threw for 341 yards.
Central Florida plays Furman on Saturday.