There's the pictures; here's some ramblin'...
Understandably, Troy was both confused by Jaylen Samuels and incapable of slowing him down near the goal line. The Trojans simply could not get a handle on NC State's motion/sweep action, or maybe they were scared of upsetting Jaylen. In any event, it was an encouraging debut for Samuels, who appears to be adjusting just fine to his new position, Jaylen Samuels.
I thought Matt Canada did a nice job picking his spots with Samuels--and Jacoby Brissett may have missed him a time or two for a chunk pass play. Obviously, we haven't seen the whole bag of tricks, since the staff wants to put as little on film in these games as possible. In other words I would expect Jaylen to average three touchdowns per game as a barest of bare minimums.
Matt Dayes was exceptional all night, just consistently picking up good yardage on his carries and getting close to breaking big plays more than once. The coaches leaned on him almost exclusively during the first half, and Dayes handled the task admirably.
One play I wish they'd included in this highlight package--Bra'Lon Cherry's 33-yard second-half punt return. He was hit squarely and pretty hard early in the return, but spun off it toward the sideline and dang near took that ball to the house. He barely stepped out of bounds around midfield, but nobody heard the whistles and the play continued until he was caught inside the Troy 20. Heck of an individual effort, and nearly a brilliant play.
It was an ideal scenario for Reggie Gallaspy, who watched from the sidelines for a half and then got a lot of work after the Pack had extended its lead. And the kid was soooo close to getting his first career rushing score; I'm still not sure about the play at the goalline that the officials reviewed. Looked good from the cheap seats, is all I'm sayin'. Anyway, it was great that he was able to step into a low-pressure situation and also run well.
The freshmen special teamers did about as well as anybody could have asked--no disastrous snaps, no missed place-kicks, some decent punts, and no poor kickoffs. Ideally Kyle Bambard gets a field goal try or two, but hey, the offense was just too good. Six of eight NC State kickoffs went for touchbacks, all of those off the leg of Jackson Maples. Bambard handled the first kickoff, but it fell short of the end zone, and it was Maples' job the rest of the night. Maples did nothing to lose it. Punter AJ Cole only averaged about 38 yards per kick, but two landed inside the 20.
Jumichael Ramos! Welcome back from the dead, son. He made a couple of excellent catches, showing the sort of form that makes one wonder what in the heck happened last year. Here's hoping that Saturday was a sign of things to come.