The Troy football team opened up its much-anticipated season with a loss on the road to North Carolina State on Saturday, Sept. 5, by a final score of 49-21. The Trojans (0-1, 0-0 Sun Belt) took the field led by first-year head coach Neal Brown.
The Wolfpack (1-0, 0-0 ACC) used the ground game to its advantage, racking up 251 yards rushing. The duo of junior running back Matthew Dayes and sophomore fullback Jaylen Samuels combined for all five of NC State’s rushing touchdowns, as the Wolfpack ruined Brown’s coaching debut with Troy.
Samuels opened up the scoring with a 14-yard scamper on the Wolfpack’s opening offensive drive. The run capped off a nine-play, 62-yard scoring drive.
The Trojans bounced right back with a score of their own. Sophomore quarterback Brandon Silvers found senior wide receiver Bryan Holmes on a 33-yard pass play.
This set up a two-yard touchdown run from junior running back Jordan Chunn to even the score.
The home team refused to let the Trojans stay in the game, and raced out to a 28-7 lead late in the second quarter. Short touchdown runs coupled with a touchdown pass from senior quarterback Jacoby Brissett kept the Trojans at bay.
Some hope for the Trojans came on the final play of the first half, courtesy of a 37-yard touchdown catch from Holmes.
Holmes went up and made the catch with both hands, but he came down awkwardly on his left leg. He would not return to the game.
The two teams traded touchdowns early in the third quarter, with senior running back Brandon Burks scoring on a 57-yard run to make the score 35-21.
In the end it was the Wolfpack’s run game that made the difference. Samuels scored his third touchdown on a one-yard run, pushing NC State in front by three scores. Brissett tacked on another score with a one-yard touchdown toss.
NC State dominated time of possession 41:34 to 18:26, forcing the Trojans’ offense off the field and allowing the Wolfpack defense to slow down the run game.
Silvers finished 12 of 16 with 149 yards in the air, along with a touchdown pass and no interceptions.
“We’ve got to be better,” Brown said after the game. “The truth of the matter is that they’re better than us. A lot of football teams make a lot of improvements from week one to week two, and that’s going to be our goal.”
The Trojans will return for their home opener at Veterans Memorial Stadium against Charleston Southern on Saturday, Sept. 12. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.