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Clemson defense ready for Cook, Francois

Dalvin Cook

In an attempt to defeat No. 13 Florida State at Doak Campbell Stadium for the first time since 2006 on Saturday, No. 3 Clemson will be challenged to shut down two of the Seminoles’ best play makers – quarterback Deondre Francois and running back Dalvin Cook.

“Florida State is just a great program. They play physical,” Clemson linebacker Kendall Joseph said. “They have a great offense usually and a lot of talent at receivers and running backs. They just have a good team. We just look forward to trying to end that streak down there.”

Cook ranks second in the ACC in rushing yards with 900 yards and seven touchdowns on 159 carries. He has rushed for over 100 yards in four straight games and is averaging 128.6 yards per game.

“Florida State has its own different animal, Dalvin Cook,” Joseph said. “He has exceptional talent and I think they do a great job of getting him the ball as many times as they can and using the right schemes to help him break big runs.”

Last season, Cook rushed for 194 yards against Clemson, including a 75-yard touchdown on his first carry of the game.

“He is a great back. He is breaking a lot of tackles and making all the plays. For us, it will be a great challenge because you always look forward to shutting down a great back,” Joseph said.

But FSU’s offense isn’t just about Cook anymore. Francois, a freshman, has brought the Seminoles’ passing element back into the fold with 1,876 yards, 10 touchdowns and three interceptions this season.

“He just looks really poised and he is tough,” Joseph said. “If you watch the film, you see he is taking a lot of big hits, he has had a lot of pressure on him, and he has kind of gotten banged up here and there, but he always comes back in the game fighting for his teammates.

“He is just a really poised young guy that is really tough and wants to play great for his team.”

The Clemson linebacker says Francois reminds him of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson because of his ability to improvise when things break down.

“He is more similar to Lamar Jackson. He is not as fast and the scheme is not the same as how they use him, but he is a really good passer,” Joseph said. “He stays in the pocket and when he gets out of the pocket he runs and gets extra yards. It is already tough because when you are playing coverage you might have him locked down and then he takes off and gets about five or six yards so it will be up to us to have great eyes and look to stop his running.”

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