A few defensive miscues aside, there wasn't much more the Pack could have wanted out of its season opener. The offense was methodical and efficient. The defense came up with enough stops and a big turnover when they needed it. Oh, and the Pack cruised to a 49-21 win over Troy at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday evening.
Jaylen Samuels led the Pack with three touchdowns on just four carries, while Dayes led the ground game with 24 carries and 126 to go along with two scores. Jacoby Brissett was nearly perfect, completing 21-of-23 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. The Pack offense was crisp and efficient all night, racking up nearly 449 yards and over 80 plays on the evening - oh and the seven touchdowns as well.
The Pack defense wasn't quite as awe inspiring - giving up a few big plays on busted coverage or mental mistakes. Troy averaged almost seven yards per play through the first three quarters before both teams began rotating in their bench players. The defense gave up touchdown plays of 37 and 57 yards, but also forced a turnover deep in Trojan territory that led directly to a touchdown and removed whatever sliver of hope Troy had of staying in the game.
The Pack scored on its first possession, setting the tone by going for it on 4th and one inside Troy territory. The Pack converted and a few plays later Samuels walked untouched into the end zone on a hand-off after a misdirection play worked to perfection. Troy responded with a touchdown of its own on its next possession, but the Pack defense held up and State's offense ripped off three more touchdown drives in a row - a Dayes 1-yard run, another score by Samuels and a Jumichael Ramos reception to make it 28-7.
The Pack gave away a score with under a minute left in the half, as Troy's offense went 82 yards in under 30 seconds - a 30 yard run, 15 yard penalty and 37 yard touchdown pass on two plays - to cut the Pack's lead to 28-14 at the half.
The Trojans never got any closer. Dayes opened the scoring in the 2nd half by ripping off a 30 yard touchdown scamper. Troy answered with a big play of its own - a 57 yard run where the Pack lost containment on the edge and the Trojan runner went untouched into the end zone. Dravious Wright would make up for being part of that defensive breakdown however, as on the next Trojan possession he went unopposed to the quarterback and applied a helmet and football removing hit - recovering the fumble he caused to give the Pack the ball inside the red zone.
The Pack offense scored shortly thereafter, with Samuels scoring his third touchdown. Brissett would close out the scoring by tossing a 1-yard pass to Benson Browne - his first career touchdown reception - to give the Pack a four touchdown cushion early in the fourth quarter.