FINAL GRADE: Offense

Looking back at the win over Old Dominion, how did NC State's offense fare? Who were the standouts on that side of the ball? What grade would you give the offense?

BIGGEST TAKEAWAY
Same results, different week for the Wolfpack offense.

The biggest takeaway remains NC State's ability to control the clock, grind out drives, and have balance. The Wolfpack offense held the ball for over 40 minutes and converted on 9-of-16 third-downs. They also managed to total 179 yards passing and 256 rushing yards.

Also, it was another game of clean football with no turnovers and no offensive penalties.

"I don't know how many snaps we had, but there were a lot of snaps and we had no penalties on offense," said Doeren. "I think that was a great tribute to their preparation."

Third-down conversions, no penalties, no turnovers... it's hard to beat a good team playing that well.

THREE STARS
Junior tailback Matt Dayes once again led the way offensively, posting his third 100-yard rushing game of the season. He totaled 106 yards on 20 carries to become the first NC State player to eclipse the century mark in each of the first games of a season since the Wolfpack’s No. 2 all-time rusher Joe McIntosh accomplished the feat in 1981.

Dayes was productive on the ground and continued to make defenders miss in space. He converted a couple of third downs on swing passes out of the backfield where he was simply better than the defender trying to tackle him.

"A couple of times we've thrown it underneath and Matt has made plays on his own," said Doeren. "You throw the checkdown and there's one guy to tackle him and that's a tough tackle... him. Sometimes it's a personnel deal where he's better than the guy trying to get him. I hope we continue to do that some too because I think in space he's a really tough matchup for people."

Dayes had back his running mate, Shadrach Thornton for the Old Dominion game and Thornton looked like he didn't have much rust at all. The senior runner has added 15+ pounds of muscle, and he grinded away at the Monarchs between the tackles, totaling 92 yards and a score on 18 carries.

"I just really wanted to come out and basically be good with my eyes," said Thornton. "Be good with my protection."

Dayes and Thornton totaled 38 carries for 200 yards and two scores, and in most games they should be able to total 35+ carries if the offense is performing well.

Sophomore athlete dual threat didn't receive the carries Dayes and Thornton did, but he was still productive. Samuels had three carries for 14 yards and a score and led th team in receptions with five catches for 43 yards and another touchdown, giving him six touchdowns on the season.

He's proven to be a dangerous weapon in the redzone, and both of his touchdowns against Old Dominion came on plays NC State hadn't used this season, with Samuels lining up at tailback to receive a carry and also catching a shovel pass for another score.

Samuels is now averaging 7.5 yards per carry and has five rushing scores on just ten carries.

"I'm just going to keep doing what I'm doing," he said. "Whenever coach Canada calls a play I'm going to keep doing it to my best ability."

FINAL GRADE
B+ For the first road game of the season, the offense performed well.

There were no turnovers, no penalties, and consistent conversions on third-down. The Wolfpack held the ball for over 40 minutes and totaled 435 yards of offense. You also sense strong chemistry within the offense.

"I was proud of their effort and the way they are playing for each other," said Doeren. "That's the fun part when you watch the film. You can see tight ends getting excited for other tight ends... the backs cheering each other on. You can feel it, and it's on both sides of the football."

The grade probably should be higher, but there were a couple of concerns. NC State wasn't able to generate any explosive, long plays and against better competition they will need to do so. Also, the offensive line yielded a couple of sacks and could have given up more if Brissett wasn't so elusive.

"I'd love to see us get a few quick scores too where we can get on the board without 12 plays," said Doeren. "We did have some shorter drives.

"The most important thing is not turning the ball over and scoring points. As long as we can keep doing those two things that's what matters the most to us."

Overall, it was a strong performance by NC State's offense.


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