- Andrea Adelson, ESPN Staff Writer
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After going 17 years without a 1,000-yard rusher, Florida State has had two different running backs hit the coveted mark the last two seasons.
Could the best be yet to come?
Following his debut 1,000-yard season, Dalvin Cook is aiming for more. Much more. Given what we saw out of him as a freshman, the very real possibility exists that he could break the single-season school rushing record -- 20 years after Warrick Dun set the mark.
Dunn was sensational in 1995, rushing for 1,242 yards on just 166 carries in 11 games. Back then, bowl stats did not count toward final yardage totals. If they did, Dunn would have totaled 1,393 yards through 12 games.
Cook stands to play in more games than Dunn did, which would obviously help his overall total. But consider what Cook did when he had the opportunity to play. He still topped 1,000 yards despite getting less than five carries in three games -- he had none in the opener, just one against Clemson and four against Wake Forest.
In 14 games, Cook averaged 72 yards per game. But if you subtract those three games from his rushing total, he averaged 90.2 yards per game -- a more accurate reflection of his contributions.
Taking a more micro approach, Cook ended the season with three straight 100-yard performances, when he had more opportunities to carry the rushing load with Karlos Williams hurt. Cook averaged 141.3 yards in those three games.
If he can keep that pace up this season -- when he will be the unquestioned star in the backfield -- then Cook will reach 1,242 yards in the ninth game of the season. Dunn averaged 112.9 yards per game on an average of just 15 carries. It goes without saying that his yards per carry really stand out.
In 1995, Dunn averaged 7.5 yards every time he ran the ball, tied for his career high. Cook averaged 5.9 yards last season.
Though Florida State has rotated its backs the last few seasons, Cook could end up being more of a workhorse than his predecessors because the players behind him are so unproven. Given all the new faces across the offense, Cook will be counted on to set the tone – at least from the outset.
Cook has vowed to correct the fumbling issues that plagued him last season. So if he can be the reliable option everybody believes he can be, Cook should have a chance to make some history.
9dJared Shanker and Andrea Adelson