From an efficiency standpoint, NC State was outstanding.
The Wolfpack finished the game with just one penalty and no turnovers. You rarely see numbers like that from a team in the season opener.
"We didn't turn the ball over, that was one of our keys to victory," said Dave Doeren. "That's one of the things you always worry about in the first game, especially us because we do a lot of shifting and motions. Coach Canada had the guys ready offensively, and I'm really proud of them."
"That's one of the things we talked about in the first four weeks of the season. We've got to be a really good football team at not beating ourselves, out-executing people, and getting to that's how we are all the time."
It sounds like that's the goal all season.
"If we are in the top three in the ACC in least penalized, least turnovers, and most takeaways, we're going to be hard to beat," added Doeren. "That's what we have to continue to do. I'm proud of the team for that and the coaches for getting them ready."
ALL HANDS ON DECK
NC State has plenty of options, and Matt Canada did a very good job of getting them all involved. 10 different receivers caught passes and eight different rushers totaled carries on the night, with the majority of those coming from key contributors.
"The amount of weapons we have and the style of game we play is very versatile," said Brissett. "It suits our athletes well. Anytime we can get our guys in space and get the ball in their hands big things can happen."
One of those guys is sophomore fullback/tight end Jaylen Samuels, who totaled three touchdowns on eight offensive touches.
"We have a lot of ballcarriers that can make plays," said Samuels. "For us to have that many ballcarriers, it's going to be tough for defenses to stop."
Samuels impressed Brissett with his play.
"Anything you ask of him he does 110%," said Brissett. "Anytime you want a little completion or probably a touchdown you just give him the ball and see what he does with it."
For NC State's offense to take the next step the Wolfpack must find a reliable, go-to option on the perimeter and that guy might be junior receiver Jumichael Ramos.
The volume wasn't there for Ramos, he finished with just three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown, but that doesn't tell the whole story. Each catch was in tight coverage and last year, after struggling with drops as a group he was strong. He flashed a confidence that you like to see in receivers, and he has the size to really be a valuable weapon outside for the Wolfpack.
"I had the confidence in the coaches to trust me on the first play and throughout the game," said Ramos.
Doeren talked about the strides Ramos has made.
"Jumichael Ramos practiced really well all week," said Doeren. "He had a great game for him... he had a catch in tight coverage, and the catch in the endzone, just going up and getting it.
"He's earned it. I'm really proud of Jumichael. He had failure and a lot of guys don't know how to handle that. He handled it by working... it's maturity and that's what you want."
BIG PLAY PROBLEMS
NC State's defense played well in spurts, but the Wolfpack yielded big plays that led to Troy points, and that's something they have to solidify moving forward.
The Trojans had four plays totaling 157 of their 305 yards with two resulting in touchdowns. The Trojans averaged just 3.5 yards per play on their remaining offensive snaps.
The biggest play was a 57-yard touchdown by Brandon Burks where he scampered in untouched.
"One of them was a run that we misfit," said Doeren. "I have to see why the safety wasn't back there to get it down. The end and nickel were gap-exchanging on that play and didn't fit it right."
The two pass plays were great catches made by Troy receiver Bryan Holmes over Jack Tocho, who was in position but couldn't break up the passes.
"I was disappointed in the two fades they caught," Doeren said. "Jack ended up having to come out of the game, but I expect him to make those plays. I know he's really mad at himself right now.
"We can't be a defense that gives up big plays."
DRAY COULD SPARK THE PACK
Doeren is looking for a playmaker to emerge defensively and that guy could be nickelback Dravious Wright. The junior made one of the biggest plays in the game when he sacked Troy quarterback Brandon Silvers, forcing a fumble and recovering it as well.
"It was a field blitz," said Doeren. "He came unblocked and did a nice job of hitting him in the chest, a nice, legal hit. It was a huge play."
Doeren hopes he will see more plays like that from Wright in the future.
"Dravious Wright is a guy that can spark us," he said. "He's a high-energy player. We lost some guys that were those guys. Last year, Art Norman, T.Y. McGill, and Thomas Teal were those guys.
"We need him to be that kind of guy."
"I'm going to go to work and practice everyday to make those types of play for our team," added Wright.