NC State tops La.Tech 40-14 in Doeren’s debut

Freshman Matt Dayes ran for 84 yards and three touchdowns to

help North Carolina State beat Louisiana Tech 40-14 on Saturday in

its first game under coach Dave Doeren.

Tony Creecy also scored for the Wolfpack (1-0), who scored the

first 24 points with Doeren’s no-huddle offense and led comfortably

all afternoon.

Still, an early left foot injury to starting quarterback Brandon

Mitchell put a damper on the afternoon. Mitchell, who beat out Pete

Thomas for the job during training camp, broke a bone in his foot

after directing N.C. State to touchdowns on its first two

possessions.

Mitchell left midway through the opening quarter, then returned

to the sideline late in the half on crutches and wearing a

protective boot. Doeren said Mitchell could miss 4-6 weeks and will

have surgery Sunday.

Kenneth Dixon ran for 118 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs

(0-1), who lost their first game under coach Skip Holtz.

Thomas threw for 212 yards on 15-for-27 passing after Mitchell’s

injury, while Dayes turned in a performance that showed flashes of

why Doeren has been high on the rookie from Weston, Fla., during

the preseason. Dayes – seeing a bigger role with the one-game

suspension to leading rusher Shadrach Thornton – capped his day

with an 18-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter that made

it 37-14.

Doeren, who spent two seasons at Northern Illinois before

replacing fired coach Tom O’Brien, has pushed his team to do

everything at a faster tempo, with the no-huddle offense stirring

the most fan excitement. That buzz grew with the fast start under

Mitchell, an Arkansas graduate transfer revealed as the starter

shortly before kickoff.

The Wolfpack marched 65 yards on the opening drive, ending with

Creecy bulling his way through Xavier Woods for a 3-yard TD run. On

the next drive, Mitchell found Rashard Smith for a 56-yard

catch-and-run that set up Dayes’ 2-yard score that made it 14-0

less than 6 minutes in.

But Mitchell was stopped on a third-and-1 keeper to end the

third series in his final play. He completed all three of his

passes for 93 yards and ran five times for 19 yards.

Holtz’s Bulldogs – who averaged 51 points and 578 yards under

current California coach Sonny Dykes last year – moved the football

with plenty of no-huddle looks, too. But they committed

momentum-crushing mistakes that kept the Wolfpack firmly in

control.

The biggest came when Dixon – who ran for 1,194 yards and an

NCAA-freshman record 27 touchdowns last year – fumbled as he tried

to cross the goal line late in the first with the Wolfpack already

up two scores.

Two possessions later, Tevin King lost a fumble as the Bulldogs

pushed into the red zone, while defensive end IK Enemkpali fumbled

away an interception near the goal line to set up Dayes’ second

score.

First-time starting quarterback Scotty Young, a transfer from

Texas Tech, threw for 178 yards on 15-for-27 passing for the

Bulldogs.

Follow Aaron Beard at Twitter on

http://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap