FSU 55, USF 35: Five Things We Learned

Florida State has their mojo back.

The Seminoles got back on track this week with a resounding 55-35 win over South Florida on Saturday. Despite giving up a touchdown to the Bulls on the first play of the game, Florida State clamped down on defense and the offense committed to running the ball down. Dalvin Cook and Jacques Patrick combined for 391 running yards and Deondre Francois threw for 169 yards a touchdown as well. With Josh Sweat out for the game, DeMarcus Walker and Brian Burns stepped up and were able to get to USF quarterback Quinton Flowers multiple times on the day.

With a big matchup against North Carolina at home next week, today’s win against South Florida is a very positive sign for a Florida State team that is looking to continue back on the winning track.

Here are five things we learned from today’s win over South Florida:

1. Dalvin Cook is back.

After a slow start to 2016, Dalvin Cook reminded everyone why he was a Heisman trophy contender last year. The junior running back ran for 267 yards (a new career high) on 28 carries, good for a 9.5 average. Oh, and he had two touchdowns as well. Cook looked explosive, dynamic and every bit the amazing talent that he was last year. He ran in circles around South Florida’s defense, leaving them gasping for breath when 230-pound Jacques Patrick checked into the game. If Cook is back to full-strength, then that is a great sign moving forward for Florida State’s offense.

2. Jacques Patrick is running like a big back.

Speaking of Jacques Patrick, the 230-pound sophomore has an amazing game on Saturday. After running timid last year, Patrick has started to run bigger this year and it showed against South Florida. Patrick carried 20 times for 124 yards and a touchdown, running both through and around players. He had several long runs and was the featured back on a couple of drives as well. Perhaps now is the time when we can really see Patrick’s thunder to Cook’s lightning.

3. Brock Ruble is the option moving forward at right tackle.

Rick Leonard’s poor play at right tackle has been one of the bigger story lines of the season. After a much-hyped offseason, Leonard has struggled in the first three games after moving over from defensive end. Brock Ruble got the start against USF at right tackle and overall had a positive performance. While Ruble still has his struggles in pass protection, it seems as if he is clearly a better option at right tackle right now for Florida State. While Leonard might have the higher ceiling out of the two, Ruble is the better player currently, which is what the Seminoles need if they want to continue having success on offense.

4. The freshman are ready to play on defense.

With Josh Sweat out for the game, true freshman Brian Burns received major playing time versus South Florida. He did not disappoint, contributing to a couple of sacks and pressuring Quinton Flowers throughout the day. Moving forward, it looks as is Burns can be trusted to play major snaps in big game situations. Dontavious Jackson also received playing time at linebacker, coming in for Ro’Derrick Hoskins. With the amount of injuries that this defense has sustained, true freshman working their way up the depth chart is a positive sign for Florida State moving forward.

5. Tarvarus McFadden is a playmaker.

Tarvarus McFadden did not start out this game on a high note. He gave up USF’s first touchdown on the first play of the game after getting beat deep. However, he rebounded nicely after that. He snagged his third interception of the season in the first half, picking off Quinton Flowers on a very athletic play. McFadden was also solid in coverage and had a couple of nice stops in the run game as well. He has already matched Lamarcus Brutus’ team-leading three interceptions from last year and should snag a couple of more throughout the course of the season. He is definitely a playmaker at cornerback and is a very big mismatch for any wide receiver he lines up against.

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