N.C. State’s victory Saturday was anything but clean but it was decisive.
The Wolfpack had early penalties, fumbles, sacks and other mistakes against Eastern Kentucky, but put in a workmanlike effort in securing a 35-0 win at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Junior running back Matt Dayes rushed for 116 yards and three touchdowns, and the Wolfpack defense was quick, aggressive and active against the Colonels (1-1), ranked No. 19th in the Football Championship Subdivision.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett hit tight end Benson Browne for a short touchdown and Jaylen Samuels had a 12-yard scoring run in the opening half as the Pack (2-0) built a 14-0 lead. After a goal-line stand by its defense late in the first half, the Wolfpack then went 70 yards in four plays after the second-half kickoff as Dayes darted 25 yards for the touchdown.
Dayes scored again on a short run later in the third quarter and added a third touchdown in the fourth for the Pack (2-0), which plays its first road game at Old Dominion next week.
N.C. State ripped Troy 49-21 in its opener, going without a turnover and picking up just one penalty. Against the Colonels, the Pack’s first possession had a fumble, two sacks and two penalties and ended with a blocked field-goal attempt.
But the Pack, dressed in its black uniforms, stifled the Colonels with its defense. EKU had 112 yards in total offense.
Late in the first half, the Pack led 14-0 but Eastern Kentucky had second-and-goal at the NCSU 1. But the Pack defense responded with a tackle for a loss, then sacked quarterback Bennie Coney for a 6-yard loss. The Colonels went for a touchdown on fourth-and-goal from the 9, but Coney’s pass to the right corner was too high.
Three who mattered
Matt Dayes: After setting career highs with 24 carries and 126 rushing yards in the opener, the Pack running back rushed for three scores against Eastern Kentucky.
Jaylen Samuels: The Pack’s sophomore fullback was a nightmare for Eastern Kentucky’s defense. Samuels rushed for 88 yards on six carries and had three catches for 24 yards.
B.J. Hill: While there were many defensive standouts for the Pack, the sophomore tackle stood out with a sack and three tackles for losses.
Three key numbers
116: The rushing yards for Dayes, who has back-to-back 100-yard games to begin the season.
95: The number of receiving yards on seven catches by Wolfpack receiver Jumichael Ramos.
10: While N.C. State’s offense stumbled through much of the first quarter, the Pack defense limited Eastern Kentucky to 10 yards on nine plays.
Early in the third period, Samuels gathered in a short screen pass near the right sideline and zigzagged back across the field, breaking tackles along the way for a 31-yard gain to the Eastern Kentucky 34.