Matt Dayes wasn’t an immediate impact player at NC State; it took him a while to become a headlining, crucial component to the Wolfpack’s offense. He doesn’t have great speed, but that matters less when you attack football with a self-aware perspective. He’s physical, and he is decisive in the backfield—he sees a spot, he plants a foot, and he goes. That’s such an under-appreciated trait—the kind of thing you don’t realize you miss until it’s gone.
Dayes was outstanding in his final regular season game on Friday, running for 104 yards and accounting for 36 receiving. He did this:
Dayes as a dagger that killed Carolina is one thing we won’t forget, but at the same time, he’s been so much more than that. His development at State made him into an outstanding run/pass threat in his last two seasons, and if he hadn’t been derailed by injury last season, who knows what his career numbers would look like now.
But man, how much fun was it watching him run through North Carolina’s defense on Friday? He earned that, and his teammates helped to make it possible. THAT was a ton of fun. We’ve got another game this season, so let’s do that again. Matt Dayes earned it.