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Matt Dayes didn’t have a great finale for NC State; Matt Dayes is still great

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NCAA Football: North Carolina State at North Carolina Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Dayes had a rough bowl game on Monday—he’d probably be the first to admit that. Dayes fumbled away a possession once and about near fumbled away another. That was all in one quarter.

That doesn’t matter, though, because NC State nonetheless won easily in the Independence Bowl, and anyway one crap-ass quarter can’t erase how good and meaningful Matt Dayes has been for Dave Doeren’s program.

Dayes didn’t get the spotlight moment we hoped he’d get in the Independence Bowl, but he was always prepared to handle whatever needed doing—Matt’s rarely missed a block or a route and he’s even enabled Dave Doeren’s silly “wildcat” nonsense.

State hasn’t always called the right play with Matt Dayes on the field, but Dayes has invested in all those calls completely. And when State has called the right play, Dayes has always been decisive in how he handles them.

That is what we don’t appreciate enough, but will soon. Matt Dayes is great at making a near-immediate decision and playing from there. Plant and go. Hit a spot and get up the field. If there’s an underrated attribute for a running back, it’s probably that one. Dayes didn’t get to go out with a showcase, but his efforts ain’t gonna be forgotten.