There were some things to like from N.C. State’s annual Kay Yow Spring Game. And there were things to learn from for the football team.
Either way, on a perfect April afternoon, the Red team ended up with a 16-3 win against the White.
On the bright side, freshman running back Reggie Gallaspy ran for a total of 131 yards. And running backs Matt Dayes and Jaylen Samuels showed their versatility during the second quarter in the most promising moments for the first-team offense.
“We just came out a little flat,” senior quarterback Jacoby Brissett said. “A lot of people are banged up.”
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Some key missing parts, like tight end David J. Grinnage and three receivers, contributed to the issue as the first-team offense ran 49 plays for 265 first-half yards, about a half a yard per play off their 2014 season average.
And then as coach Dave Doeren noted: “Your defense plays against the offense every day.”
Familiarity was definitely on the defense’s side. It was the second-team defense, or the White team, going against the Red starters.
Brissett wasn’t able to find a groove. He completed 13 of 32 passes for 164 yards and had a 13-yard touchdown pass to tight end Benson Browne during the second quarter.
After a scoreless first quarter, Dayes, a junior, gave the Red offense a lift. He had 58 rushing yards on five carries during the second quarter. He caught four passes for 41 yards.
“We came out pretty slow in the beginning,” Dayes said. “We were able to pick it up in the second quarter.”
Dayes set up the Red team’s second touchdown with a 35-yard run, followed by a 23-yard run to the 2.
Senior running back Shadrach Thornton punched in the touchdown two plays later on a 1-yard score.
“I’ll take the yards,” Dayes said. “Shad can have the touchdown.”
Samuels did his best imitation of Dayes with three catches for 65 yards and three carries for 28 yards. Samuels’ 50-yard connection with Brissett set up Browne’s touchdown at 9 minutes, 49 seconds in the second quarter.
Freshman Kyle Bambard’s extra-point attempt clanged off the right upright to keep the margin 13-3 in Red’s favor.
Before the end of the half, redshirt freshman Jackson Maples made a 41-yard field goal. There wasn’t any scoring in the second half.
With Brissett, Dayes, Thornton and a host of starters watching the second half, Gallaspy went to work.
Gallaspy had 120 yards on 13 carries with the first-team offensive line during the second half. Doeren was pleased with the way the freshman from High Point, who enrolled in January, ran after contact.
“You were able to see him finish runs, stay on his feet, see his balance, see his vision, his patience,” Doeren said. “It was good to see.”
The other struggles on offense, with some protection issues by the starting line, wasn’t as encouraging to Doeren. The Wolfpack has to break in starters at both tackle positions.
“The defense blitzed a lot and we didn’t handle it well in the first half,” Doeren said. “I thought in the second half, they did a better job.”
Another bright spot was the raw talent of redshirt freshman Jalan McClendon. The plan is for McClendon to succeed Brissett in 2016. This was his first game-type action at Carter-Finley Stadium.
A lanky, 6-foot-5 right-hander, he displayed a rocket of an arm against the first-team defense in the first half. With the White team, he completed 13 of 24 passes for 117 yards.
There was one pass in the first half, that was dropped, that he zipped about 40 yards in the air on a deep out route.
“Sometimes you have to rip it in there,” McClendon said.
He certainly is capable of doing that. Doeren was looking for a little more urgency in the huddle.
“He has to move faster,” Doeren said. “He’s got to understand the play clock and the dynamics of that.”
McClendon was 3-of-11 in the second half, with the Red side, for 27 yards.
In all, Doeren said, it will be a “really good learning experience” for his young quarterback. The same can be said for the whole team.
Red 16, White 3
WHITE–Bambard FG 28, 11:47
RED–Browne 13 pass from Brissett (Maples kick) 9:49
RED–Thornton 1 run (kick failed) 6:47
RED–Maples FG 41, :15
RUSHING–Red: Gallaspy 13-120, Dayes 6-57, Samuels 3-28, Thornton 6-16; White: Gallaspy 8-11, Bodine 8-10, Taylor 3-6.
PASSING–Red: Brissett 13-32-164, McClendon 3-11-27; White: McClendon 13-24-117, Taylor 2-2-4, Cornwell 0-2-0.
RECEIVING–Red: Dayes 4-41, Samuels 3-65, Browne 2-23, Davis 2-19, Cherry 2-14, Thornton 1-12; White: Grazen 5-41, Morrison 5-34, Bodine 2-4, Till 1-27, Dawson 1-12.