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Wolfpack shut out Eastern Kentucky

RALEIGH, N.C. — Matt Dayes had another big game running the ball while Jaylen Samuels reached the end zone for the second straight week as North Carolina State beat Eastern Kentucky 35-0 on Saturday night.

Dayes ran for 116 yards and three touchdowns for the Wolfpack (2-0) in his second straight start for leading rusher Shadrach Thornton, who was suspended for the first two games. That followed his career-best 126 yards last week against Troy, giving the junior the first 100-yard rushing performances of his career.

Meanwhile, Samuels put on another show of his do-everything versatility, running for a 12-yard score in the second quarter and finishing with 112 total yards a week after scoring three touchdowns.

Jacoby Brissett also threw a TD pass to Benson Browne for the Wolfpack, who turned in a dominating defensive performance against the FCS Colonels (1-1). Eastern Kentucky finished with 112 total yards.

If anything, N.C. State’s performance was a bit of a reversal from the Troy win. In that game, the offense operated efficiently and had no penalties in a clean performance, while the defense had several miscues that led to big plays — enough to give third-year coach Dave Doeren something to focus on in the week that followed.

This time, the Wolfpack’s offense had some early penalties and a stalled drive that ended with a blocked field goal, and led just 14-0 at halftime. But the defense overwhelmed the Ohio Valley Conference opponent, ranked No. 19 nationally in the FCS polls, from the start.

Eastern Kentucky went three-and-out on eight of its first 10 drives on the night and managed only one good push across midfield. That drive reached the Wolfpack 2 after a pass interference penalty, but N.C. State’s defense came up with two negative-yardage stops before forcing a fourth-down incompletion out of the end zone to end the drive.

Dy’Shawn Mobley, the preseason OVC offensive player of the year, ran for 31 yards on seven carries to lead the Colonels’ meager output. Quarterback Bennie Coney was under pressure the entire game, taking plenty of hits and throwing for just 79 yards on 5-for-19 passing before calling it a night after the third.

N.C. State lost starting left guard Alex Barr in the third quarter to an apparent left leg injury. He didn’t return.