NC State plays 2nd home game, hosts Eastern Kentucky
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) Several of North Carolina State's youngsters got their first glimpse of the college game in the season opener. Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren wants to see how they respond when they return to the field Saturday against Eastern Kentucky.
The Wolfpack played 13 redshirt and 10 true freshmen in last week's win against Troy, and the combined total of 23 was tied with Florida State for the most in the Bowl Subdivision ranks. That group had included starters Will Richardson at right tackle, A.J. Cole III at punter and Kyle Bambard at kicker, as well as converted running back Nyheim Hines in three-receiver sets.
''Obviously the lead-up to the first game takes forever,'' Doeren said. ''That's the biggest difference (with Week 2). Some of the new guys have film they can watch of themselves from gameday and . make sure if they played well, they know they need to repeat it. If they didn't, then why?''
North Carolina State (1-0) had no trouble in the 49-21 win against the Trojans, a team from a lower-level FBS conference.
Junior Matt Dayes had a huge rushing performance in place of leading rusher Shadrach Thornton, who is suspended for the first two games. Jaylen Samuels showed off his versatility with three rushing scores of his own. And quarterback Jacoby Brissett had just two incompletions all night.
Eastern Kentucky (1-0) is ranked No. 19 in the Championship Subdivision polls after a 52-10 win against Valparaiso in the opener. It was a good start for the team picked in the preseason to finish second in the Ohio Valley Conference, though the Colonels had nine penalties for 90 yards and two turnovers.
''We had quite a few mental errors but we made up for it with how well the kids ran to the ball and hustled on off and covered up a lot of those things,'' coach Dean Hood said. ''That won't be the case this week. We make mistakes (against North Carolina State) . that'll cost you big.''
Here are some things to watch in Saturday's Eastern Kentucky-North Carolina State matchup:
DAYES' RUNS: Matt Dayes ran a career-high 24 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, part of a rushing attack that also got second-half production from freshman Reggie Gallaspy II. ''I think we're not even close to what we're capable of,'' Dayes said.
STAYING HOT: Jacoby Brissett completed 21 of 23 passes for 196 yards and two touchdowns in the opener, a good start for a player who drives the Wolfpack's offense with his run-pass skillset. He'll go against a defense that allowed 220 yards last week.
BIG PLAYS: North Carolina State gave up a handful of big plays in the opener, including a 37-yard touchdown pass with 1 second left in the first half. Doeren said some of those troubles came when Wolfpack players missed an assignment or were out of position. ''You're going to get big plays on you occasionally . but they can't be touchdowns,'' Doeren said. ''That's the thing I stressed.''
FREEING MOBLEY: Eastern Kentucky running back Dy'Shawn Mobley was his conference's preseason offensive player of the year after running for 1,491 yards and 20 touchdowns last year. He got just 7 yards on six carries in the opener, but figures to see a bigger workload this weekend.
ANOTHER FBS WIN? Eastern Kentucky won nine games last year, including a road win against FBS opponent Miami (Ohio). That game ended an 18-game skid against FBS opponents dating to 1998. Can the Colonels pull do enough to stay with the Wolfpack?
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