N.C. State’s offense has a new look, and a new quarterback, but the same reliable playmakers.
Jaylen Samuels scored three touchdowns and Matt Dayes added a pair to lead the Wolfpack to a 48-14 win over William & Mary on Thursday night.
Quarterback Ryan Finley played most of the game and was efficient in his first start in offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz’s first game. Finley completed 17 of 21 passes for 174 yards with two touchdowns.
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Finley, a graduate transfer from Boise State, led the Wolfpack offense on scoring drives the first two times it had the ball. Dayes, a senior running back, had rushing touchdowns of 5 and 4 yards. He finished with 138 yards.
Sophomore Jalan McClendon played the third series of the game, with N.C. State up 14-7, but threw an interception on his only drive of the first half.
Finley came back in and led two more scoring drives before the end of the half, including a 16-yard touchdown pass to senior receiver Bra’Lon Cherry.
Samuels, who took most of his snaps in the slot, led the Wolfpack in receiving with five catches for 66 yards and a touchdown. He ran for two touchdowns, both on his trademark jet sweep play.
How N.C. State won
William & Mary’s defense had no answer for Dayes, who averaged 6 yards per carry. In all, the Wolfpack ran for 259 yards behind a rebuilt offensive line.
What it means
N.C. State takes a 1-0 record into next week’s road trip to East Carolina. The Wolfpack, a 31-point favorite, was supposed to win, but the offense looked sharp and Finley couldn’t have asked for a much better start.
Samuels, whose 16 touchdowns last season were the second-most in school history, scored three touchdowns on 10 touches.
Almost as important, he was on the field for 35 of N.C. State’s 47 snaps in the first half.
Samuels finished with five catches for 66 yards and five rushes for 24 yards.
Giglio: 919-829-8938, @jwgiglio