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Troy vs. NC State, by the numbers: Trojans' extreme boom-or-bust makes for an odd box score

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Box Score

Total Yds
84 450
5.4 4.7
305 6.6

(Yds/carry stats are calculated after removing sacks from the equation.)

NC State was able to methodically move the ball on nearly every offensive possession, while Troy was an example of boom-or-bust, which made for a strange box score. The Trojans owned the largest chunk plays of the night--a run for 30 yards, a pass play for 33 yards, another pass for 37, and a rush for 57. They also finished 1-9 on third downs and didn't even crack 50 snaps from scrimmage.

Troy didn't sustain drives--at all. Eleven of their 13 possessions lasted four plays or fewer (and two of those 11 were touchdown drives!). The Trojans held the ball for a meager 18:26, and managed only 13 first downs. NC State had more than 41 minutes of possession, piling up 30 first downs.

So in this case, yards-per-play doesn't begin to tell the story***. Those aforementioned chunk plays accounted for 157 of Troy's 305 total yards. That's 51.5% of their total yards gained on four plays. They were well contained for the most part, and then out of no where, either they'd made a great play, or NC State's defense would go brain dead. Definitely an unusual game in that sense. But I don't think there is any debate about which team was better.

(***Also important to mention that Jacoby Brissett was out of the game early in the fourth quarter. There was a lot of garbage time in this game.)

State probably could have been more explosive if it wanted to open up the playbook, but that was not the plan, and it was not necessary. The Wolfpack had five touchdown drives go at least eight plays; that sufficed just fine. Hit 'em with some Matt Dayes, hit 'em with more Matt Dayes, then lob Jaylen Samuels at them. It didn't make for a lot of huge plays, but it was danged effective.