Cook’s hamstring not an issue, Florida State rolls in second half

The dreaded hamstring injury is never a good one, usually keeping running backs off the field for indefinite periods of time, sometime weeks, sometimes entire seasons. Certainly not the case with Dalvin Cook, just shaking it off along with the hapless University of Louisville tacklers on Saturday.

Playing in obvious pain, with his trainers greeting him on the sidelines between all the big gainers, Cook would make all the sharp cuts without missing a beat, galloping for 163 yards and two touchdowns in Florida State’s 41-21 win over Louisville in Tallahassee.

Cook collected all but 25 of those yards in the second half, with the UofL defense having held Florida State to zero net rushing yards in the first 20 minutes. But the Cardinals were reduced to grabbing for his jersey after the intermission, unable to get in front of him, falling for every juke in his repertoire.

Cook was just unstoppable, refusing to go down, providing exactly what Florida State needed while preventing UofL from focusing on quarterback Everett Golson. He broke four Louisville tackles on that 54-yard touchdown run. An inspiration to every player who will sustain a hamstring injury in the future.

Louisville was able to go to the locker room at halftime with a 7-6 lead, with the defense playing its best half of the season. Different story the second half, Cook wearing them down, exposing lots of bad angles and ineffective tackling techniques. Looked like touch football at times.

Golson is a decent quarterback but he can thank Dalvin Cook for most of those 372 passing yards and three touchdown passes. Louisville had Golson figured out in the first half, but Cook completely changed the complexion of the game after he strolled onto the field after the intermission.

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Not that he cares but UofL Coach Bobby Petrino will be answering some questions about why his team was taking its time with time running out in the first half. The answer probably will be that he had the lead and didn’t want to put his freshman quarterback in a bad situation.

He may change his mind next season if he’s lucky to have a lead against Florida State in the first half. The Seminoles have scored 10 touchdowns against UofL in the last two seasons.

DeVonte Fields poised for second chance at Louisville

Good news on the defensive front for University of Louisville, with reports that DeVonte Fields has met academic requirements, will report to campus Aug. 4, and can play during the 2015 season.

DeVonte Fields
DeVonte Fields

Fields was named the Big 12 Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press as a freshman in 2012 after leading TCU with 18.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Fields played just three games in 2013 because of injuries, and spent the 2014 season at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas.

Not so good: Fields was dismissed from TCU after being charged with domestic abuse charges, allegedly punching his girlfriend in the face, a Class A misdemeanor. The case was dismissed this year, and Fields agreed to take four anger management classes. Prior to the beginning of TCU’s 2013 season, Fields was suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules.

In January 2014, Fields reported that he was attacked and robbed by three individuals at an off-campus residence. He reportedly grabbed the arm of one of the gun-wielding assailants and five shots were fired. Fields escaped without major injury, and no charges were filed.

Up to now, trouble has seemed to follow DeVonte Fields around. If he’s ready to put the past behind him, Fields is the perfect candidate for some tough love from Bobby Petrino.

With so much focus on other issues, don’t be surprised if Fields is in need of a lot of conditioning before he returns to action.

Louisville and Michigan State set in ACC-Big 10 challenge

The University of Louisville basketball team will get a shot at Michigan State early during the 2015-16 season but this time should have a lot more firing power.

The Cardinals, remember, made only six shots during the final 25 minutes of the NCAA Regional this past season, losing 76-70 to the Spartans in overtime. Five of 15 shots in the second half, one of seven in overtime.

Rick Pitino will be returning with some shooters this time around, having picked up Trey Lewis with a 16.3 scoring average from Cleveland State and Damion Lee with a 16.5 scoring clip from Drexel. Expect freshman Donovan Mitchell, from New Hampshire, to become an immediate scoring threat as well.

Hopefully Pitino will also have a deeper bench, developing it sooner, with more playing time for everybody, something that never happened last season.

The UofL-Michigan State game is part of the ACC-Big 10 Challenge. The schedule:

Monday, Nov. 30
• Clemson at Minnesota
• Wake Forest at Rutgers

Tuesday, Dec. 1
• Maryland at North Carolina
• Virginia at Ohio State
• Michigan at NC State
• Purdue at Pittsburgh
• Northwestern at Virginia Tech
• Miami (Fla.) at Nebraska

Wednesday, Dec. 2
• Indiana at Duke
• Louisville at Michigan State
• Notre Dame at Illinois
• Wisconsin at Syracuse
• Florida State at Iowa
• Penn State at Boston College

Awestruck Louisville bows to Florida State

All the talk about Florida State’s past successes apparently getting to some members of the University of Louisville baseball team, tripping over their shoe laces in a 13-4 loss to FSU before a record crowd of 6,138 fans at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Even the best teams have bad losses. But this was one that could haunt the Cardinals as the season winds down, needing to prove themselves worthy of a national seed in NCAA tournament play.

Fears that Kyle Funkhouser would continue to struggle in the early innings were confirmed quickly, the UofL junior walking three batters and giving up three runs in the first inning. He would give up three more in the second.

Funkhouser throwing over 40 pitches in the first inning, still not finding his form. Taking too long to get comfortable in recent games. Finally settling down in the third, he would shut down the next eight hitters. By then the tenor of the game had been firmly established.

The pre-season All-American is losing confidence and control at the wrong time, prompting some serious concern about the all-important pitching rotation in the immediate future. The inability of once-starter Anthony Kidston, who was 14-1 in his first three seasons, to find the plate this year further complicates matters.

Football keeps Jameis Winston out of baseball

Jameis Winston not available.  (Seminoles.com photo)
Jameis Winston not available for Seminoles in baseball. (Seminoles.com photo)

If anyone was expecting Jameis Winston, the Florida State quarterback and pitcher, to take part in this weekend’s series against the University of Louisville baseball team, they’re in for a disappointment.

Winston is not listed on the Florida State roster, dropping the sport after signing an NFL contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers forbidding him from playing professional baseball. The contract made no mention of college baseball but Winston got the message.

As a right-handed pitcher, he appeared in 41 games during his freshman and sophomore seasons at FSU, chalking up nine saves, an earned run average of 1.94, with 52 strikeout in 60.1 innings. He had a batting average of 209 in 158 at-bats.

As much as he loves baseball, the unpredictable Winston could still show up as a spectator, however.

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If the Seminoles stick with their usual pitching rotation, UofL will see Boomer Biegalski, a 6-foot-2 righthander on the mound in the first game. Described by Baseball America as “not overpowering, Biegalski dots the corners with a low 90s fastball, mixing in a slider and change-up.” He has a 4-3 won-lost record this season and has 88 strikeouts in 76.1 innings. That compares with 82 K’s for UofL’s Brendon McKay in 64.2 innings.

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FSU is led in hitting by left fielder D. J. Stewart, a 6-foot, 230-pound junior, who was the ACC Player of the Year in 2014 with a 350 hitting average. Stewart is currently batting 333 and has 12 home runs, seven doubles, a triple, and 45 runs batted in.

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Florida State, with a 16-8 ACC mark and 36-14 overall, has scored in double figures 14 times this season, including a 24-1 win over South Florida at Tallahassee.