Florida State running back Dalvin Cook has rushed for 1,658 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season while averaging 7.86 yards per carry. Cook already captured most of the single season rushing records at Florida State this season. He now has over 400 yards more than the previous record holder's single season total, and is two touchdowns away from tying the single season touchdown record at Florida State.
Cook has done all of this on one good leg for most of the season. He's played through a hamstring injury as well as an ankle injury for the last 8 games. He missed a chance to pad the stats against Syracuse, S&P+'s 93rd ranked rushing defense, and missed most of the Wake Forest game, S&P+'s 41st ranked rushing defense, after taking his first carry 94 yards for a touchdown.
Cook has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight games this season, and over 150 in six of them. The Seminoles have gone up against four defenses in the Top-12, and two in the Top-3, of the S&P+ rushing defense ranks. Against those four Cook has a combined 594 yards and 5 touchdowns on just 84 carries. That's 7.07 yards per carry against four of the Top-12 defenses in the country. Three of those four games have been on the road.
Cook has been at his best when he's been needed the most.
"Coach Fisher preaches it," Cook said. "I gotta step up at the big moments for my team and that’s what I try to do. I try to make plays and put us in the right predicaments to make the big plays in the pass game, in the run game, no matter what. That’s what I try to do for my team.”
Last week, Cook was not named one of the three Doak Walker Award finalists. Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, Alabama's Derrick Henry, and LSU's Leonard Fournette were the finalists. None of those three have put up the numbers against the caliber of opponent Cook has.
Fournette is the closest. He's played against three Top-15, including two in the Top-5, rushing defenses, but his numbers aren't anywhere near as good as Cook's. Fournette has rushed for 319 yards and 3 touchdowns on 75 carries. That's just 4.25 yards per carry. Two of those games were on the road.
Henry has played against two Top-15 opponents, none in the Top-5, in the Top-15 of the S&P+rushing defense rankings. He has 274 yards on 36 carries and 4 touchdowns. That's 7.6 yards per carry. Neither was a true road game.
McCaffrey has not played a single Top-15 rushing defense this season. The closest was the opening game that Stanford lost at Northwestern, who is No. 22 in the S&P+ rushing defense rankings. He finished that game with 66 yards on 12 carries and did not score.
So why is Cook not receiving the same hype that these three players are? Cook's average yards per carry is over a yard higher than either of the other three running backs. He has comparable rushing touchdown numbers to Henry and Fournette, and has 11 more rushing touchdowns than McCaffrey. The total yards are comparable between the four despite Cook having 60 less carries than the other three. While McCaffrey doesn't seem to stack up to the other three in the rushing categories, he is the best receiving back of the three. He has 435 yards on 37 receptions and 3 touchdowns, and is also one of the top kickoff returners in the country.
Cook has been by far the most explosive running back in the country. He is second in the country with 61 plays of 10 yards or more. He leads the country in rushes of 20, 30, 50, 70, and 90 yards. He is second in rushes of 10, 40, and 60 yards. He has also not had a single turnover all season. Henry is only in the Top-5 in three of those categories, while Fournette is in the Top-5 for five of them. McCaffrey is not in the Top-5 for any category.
So why isn't Dalvin Cook being talked about for the Heisman Trophy? Beats me. Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher doesn't understand it either, and wants the awards voters to take notice.
"Open your eyes," Fisher said. "What else do you got to do? He deserves a seat at that table. He’s as good as any of those guys."
Cook has the stats to win the Heisman this year, but he likely won't even be invited to the ceremony. Your guess is as good as mine on why.