FINAL GRADE: NC State's Offense vs. South Alabama

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

NC State's offense performed its best while facing the toughest test of the season.

Granted, South Alabama's defense isn't the quality that NC State will face this week or moving forward, but the Jaguars have some playmakers and athleticism.  Doeren seemed fairly concerned with their aggressive, attacking scheme, but it didn't really matter.

The Wolfpack rolled up 586 yards of total offense, 330 rushing yards and scored touchdowns on the first five drives.  State showed some different looks offensively, and South Alabama simply wasn't prepared for the Wolfpack's variety of playmakers and physicality upfront.

The biggest takeaway?  NC State knew they would be tested on the road and responded with a lights out performance.

Junior tailback Matt Dayes once again led the way offensively, posting his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season. He totaled 104 yards on eight carries with three touchdowns.  He also led the Wolfpack in catches (6) for another 46 yards. 

It was just another day at the office for Dayes, who has become one of the top tailbacks in the country.

"Most of it was the o-line and tight ends blocking for me," said Dayes.  "If it wasn't for those guys I probably wouldn't have scored."

Dayes wasn't the Wolfpack's top rusher, that was senior Shadrach Thornton, who tallied a game-high 112 rushing yards on 12 carries with two scores.  Thornton continues to mesh well with Dayes, providing a physical, down-hill runner while allowing offensive coordinator Matt Canada to move Dayes around in various formations. 

"We just went out there and executed the gameplan," said Thornton.  "We have a great coordinator... we went out there and made plays."

"Both backs had over 100 yards," added Doeren.  "To get two backs over 100 in a game, consistently... that's four straight for Matt, that's great for him. Those two guys together are tough."

Joining the duo in the endzone, and twice, was talented sophomore Jaylen Samuels. The athletic fullback entered with five rushing touchdowns and six total, and he added two more, this time through the air, as he finished with five catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.  He chipped in two more rushes for 28 yards.

Samuels now has 32 combined carries and receptions this season.  He has eight touchdowns.  A touchdown every four touches?  Not bad at all for Samuels, who often lined up flanked with Dayes. 

"We've been heavy with 28 on the jets and those looks, and in this game we had 28 and 21 in there so you couldn't key on one guy," said Doeren.  "Jacoby did a good job of managing which way he wanted to go with the play based on their look. I don't know what you do there."

A+ It was easily NC State's best performance of the season and certainly worth the grade.

The Wolfpack had no turnovers and just one penalty. NC State was 7-of-11 on 3rd down, and the offensive line allowed just one sack.  Jacoby Brissett completed 18-of-23 passes and nine different receivers caught passes.

Finally, State was dominant in the redzone.  Six drives reached South Alabama's 20-yard line and NC State scored touchdowns six times. 

Efficient and productive outing for the Wolfpack.

"A lot of people played well in the game," said Doeren.  "I thought our tight ends improved again in the run game.  It was good to get Cole Cook three catches as well because he does a great job blocking for us.

"We spread the ball around... two backs with over 100 yards. We didn't take too many shots, but the shots we took we had two good completions down the field, one to Jaylen Samuels and one to Bra'lon."

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