Coming off of a season in which its rushing and passing totals were separated by only seven yards, NC State had more of the same on Saturday. The Wolfpack sacked Troy, 49-21, in front of 57,451 fans Carter-Finley Stadium Saturday and the Trojans simply could not deal with Jacoby Brissett or Matt Dayes.
Brissett was remarkably efficient. The redshirt-senior finished 21-for-23 passing for 196 yards and two touchdowns. Of his two incompletions, one was intentionally thrown away to avoid a sack and the other was on a long bomb... which Brissett lamented after the game.
“I should have made that throw,” Brissett said. “I got to get that in there.”
Troy head coach Neal Brown, who gave Brissett some Heisman consideration prior to the game, was not nearly as critical and repeated the praise afterwards.
“Jacoby Brissett, he’s special,” Brown said. “I think he’s a Heisman Trophy candidate. I think he’ll continue to prove that.”
Dayes tallied 126 yards on 24 carries with two touchdowns and added five catches for 65 yards to lead the team in receiving also.
The junior was given his chance to handle the bulk of the workload after Shadrach Thornton was issued a two-game suspension, and he flourished in his new role. Dayes, like Brissett when asked about his two incompletions, seemed to be his own toughest critic.
“I felt bad for [Thornton], but I knew it was a great opportunity for me to take advantage of,” Dayes said. “I am not really happy with what I did tonight, but I am happy we got the win.”
Overall, NC State rushed for 251 yards and passed for 199 more. Nine players finished with at least one reception. The Wolfpack offense is one that accentuates using multiple weapons and it appears there are several to choose from.
“We all worked as a team,” Jaylen Samuels said after scoring three touchdowns on only four carries Saturday. “For us to have that many ball carriers, it is going to be tough for defenses to stop. Coming into the next game, I am sure [Eastern Kentucky] is going to be game-planning on us a lot. To come out like this is really good.”
One game does not make a season but if NC State can continue to display the balance offensively that marked last season's success the Wolfpack could take another step forward in 2015.
When asked about NC State, Brown had an interesting yet strong take.
“That’s not a good football team; that’s a very good football team,” Brown said. “They were disciplined. They were well-coached. I said this coming into the game: I think they are one of the hottest teams in the country, outside of Ohio State.
“They played extremely well down the stretch last year and they came in here tonight with a lot of confidence.”