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
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
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
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
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
First-time starting quarterback Scotty Young, a transfer from
Texas Tech, threw for 178 yards on 15-for-27 passing for the
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