Cook’s 2 second-half fumbles cost Florida State
PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Dalvin Cook racked up 90 yards rushing in the first half at the Rose Bowl. Then the freshman fumbled away Florida State’s chances in the second half, with two big miscues that helped doom the Seminoles.
Florida State couldn’t hang onto the ball and had its 29-game winning streak snapped with a 59-20 loss to Oregon on Thursday in the first College Football Playoff semifinal.
”We made a couple mistakes, mistakes I’ve got to learn from,” Cook said in a quiet locker room. ”It happened at the wrong time. I’ve got to go back, watch film and get better from it.”
Trailing at halftime, as they have in other games this season, the Seminoles figured they had another comeback in them.
”With Jameis (Winston) at quarterback, we’ve always got a chance,” Cook said.
But things unraveled on their first drive of the second half, when Cook got stripped by Derrick Malone Jr. with third-seeded Florida State in Oregon territory.
”I broke from 10 yards and just fumbled the ball,” Cook said. ”He came from behind me and grabbed the ball.”
Later in the third quarter, Cook fumbled again and the Ducks scored on their next possession.
”It was me more catching the ball and trying to run too early,” he said.
The Seminoles’ mistakes weren’t all Cook’s fault. They fumbled seven times in all, leading to four scores by the Ducks.
”You can’t fumble the ball in a game like this,” wide receiver Rashad Greene said. ”It was more turnovers than we ever had.”
A fumble by Jesus Wilson was the fifth of the second half by the Seminoles. They came into the game 84th in the nation in turnover margin (minus-3), and the lack of ball security proved their undoing.
Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher called the third ”one of the worst quarters we’ve had.”
”When turnovers come, they change momentum,” Fisher said.
Cook was used to being on a big stage, having become a regular in the backfield six games into the season.
And he had a strong first half against the Pac-12 champion Ducks. It was his second straight game of 90 or more yards rushing in the opening 30 minutes, having gained 99 against Georgia Tech in the ACC title game.
”We had the running game going all night,” Cook said.
But those fumbles did in the Seminoles.