N.C. State’s offense was in midseason form in its 49-21 season-opening win over Troy on Saturday night.
The defense might need a few more weeks to catch up to speed.
Even with last year’s top rusher on the sidelines, the Wolfpack rolled up 251 rushing yards, a career-high 126 from junior running back Matt Dayes, to win its third straight opener under coach Dave Doeren.
With senior Shadrach Thornton serving a two-game suspension for a violation of school policy, Dayes and sophomore Jaylen Samuels (three touchdowns) went to work.
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Senior quarterback Jacoby Brissett did his part, too, throwing for a pair of touchdowns.
N.C. State (1-0) led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter and 28-14 at the half. Troy found some holes in the Wolfpack’s rush defense and receiver Bryan Holmes made two spectacular plays, one on a touchdown and the other to set up a touchdown.
But after Troy cut the Wolfpack’s lead to 35-21 in the third quarter, N.C. State scored the game’s last two touchdowns.
Up 14-7 with the ball on Troy’s 38, N.C. State converted on fourth and 3 with a 5-yard pass from Brissett to Dayes. Brissett sent Dayes out in motion towards the Troy sideline before the snap and no one on Troy’s defense followed Dayes.
Four plays later, Samuels capped the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to give the Wolfpack a 21-7 lead.
Three who mattered
Matt Dayes: The junior running back led the Wolfpack in rushing and receiving (5 catches, 65 yards). It was the first 100-yard game of his career.
Jacoby Brissett: The senior quarterback completed his first 12 passes and 21 of 23 for the game. His only incompletions were on an intentionally thrown ball out of bounds and a deep shot downfield early in the third quarter, that traveled 60 yards in the air.
Brandon Burks: He went untouched on a 57-yard touchdown run at 9:18 in the third quarter to cut N.C. State’s lead to 35-21. Burks finished with 124 rushing yards on just 14 attempts.
Three key numbers
24 Career-best rushing attempts for Dayes, a junior. His previous high was 17, against Louisiana Tech in the 2013 opener. Thornton was also suspended for that game.
37.5% Samuels scored three times on eight touches (four rushing attempts, four catches).
190 The Trojans got 190 yards on five big plays and finished with 305 total yards.
N.C. State safety Dravious Wright caught Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers clean on a blitz at Troy’s 18 at 5:12 in the third quarter. Silvers helmet went flying to the 13 and the ball came loose at the 14, where Wright jumped on it.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio.