Matthew Dayes

Associated Press

NC State smashes Vanderbilt in Independence Bowl rout

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NC State was too much for Vanderbilt on Monday night. More specifically, the pitch-and-catch combination of Ryan Finley-to-Jaylen Samuels was too much for Vanderbilt, as the Wolfpack raced to a 41-17 Independence Bowl victory in Shreveport, La.

Finley and Samuels hooked up six times for 104 yards and three decisive touchdowns on the night. The first came at the 9:08 mark of the second quarter, a 9-yard strike to put NC State on top 7-3, handing the club a lead it would not relinquish. The second connection came nearly eight minutes later, a 55-yard snatch-and-dash that all but put the game out of reach at 14-3.

After a 5-yard scoring rush by Reggie Gallaspy II pushed the lead to 21-3, Finley’s third and final strike to Samuels, a 17-yard connection, put the game out of reach with 5:34 still to play in the third quarter.

Vanderbilt briefly climbed back in the game when Ralph Webb posted a 30-yard touchdown run and Khari Blasingame bulled in from the 1-yard line to pull the Commodores within 28-17 with 10:37 left in the game, but NC State (7-6) immediately ended any comeback hopes when Nyheim Hines raced the ensuing kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown.

Vanderbilt quarterback Kyle Shurmer provided NC State its final score of the night when Niles Clark returned an interception 32 yards for a touchdown as time expired. Shurmur finished the night hitting 19-of-46 passes for 158 yards with no touchdowns and three interceptions. Vanderbilt (6-7) managed 156 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 4.5 yards per carry.

Finley closed his season connecting on 19-of-30 passes for 235 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. Matthew Dayes led the Pack on the ground with nine carries for 47 yards.

The win pushed the ACC to 2-0 in bowl games pitting 6-6 teams and clinched at least a .500 record for the conference against the SEC in 2016. The ACC is now 7-3 against its southeastern rival with three games and the possibility of a Clemson-Alabama CFP national championship still remaining.

Clemson survives in overtime against N.C. State with late interception

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Dabo Swinney and his team have buried the term ‘Clemsoning’ over the past few seasons but did their best to revive it in a nerve-racking 24-17 overtime win as N.C. State nearly shocked the college football world.

Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley threw his first two interceptions of the season, the last of which came on the team’s first offensive snap of overtime to seal the loss. Running back Matthew Dayes was the real star of the show though, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown to nearly help pull off the upset.

N.C. State had a chance to win it with a wild fourth quarter that saw them tie things up following a 14 play, 75 yard drive early in the frame. They got the ball back again and marched down the field in another 14 play drive that took over six minutes off the clock but kicker Kyle Bambard missed a 33 yarder as time expired to head to overtime.

Clemson signal-caller Deshaun Watson went into halftime on a hot streak by completing eight of nine on his way to a late scoring drive but couldn’t sustain the momentum after merging from the locker room. He threw a pick-six (the first in his career, by the way) just a few seconds into the third quarter to tie the game and breathe more life into the underdogs.

Watson eventually ended the day with a career high 39 completions for 378 yards and two scores as he became the team’s offense with virtually no running game. Tailback Wayne Gallman was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first half and had to be helped back to the locker room.

Issues in the red zone and turnovers plagued the Tigers offense all day long as a result. They were stuffed on fourth and goal from the one yard line early in the game and fumbled away another chance in the third quarter. Wide receiver Mike Williams fumbled too after crossing the 20 for the team’s fourth turnover of the day, which later led to a big return.

If there was one bright spot for Clemson in escaping with the win it was Christian Wilkins, who blocked a field goal in the third quarter and had the longest run of the day for the Tigers offense. He plays defensive tackle by the way.

The Wolfpack were the last unranked team to beat Clemson, just shy of five years ago but couldn’t quite get the job done at the end. While everybody thought the Tigers had turned the page after beating Louisville and Clemson the past two weeks, it appears last year’s ACC champion still has a few things to correct heading into their showdown with Florida State next Saturday.

A win is a win however and the late heroics kept Swinney and the team’s College Football Playoff hopes alive for seven more days.

ACC releases list of players attending media days

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The SEC’s done it.  So have the Big 12 and Big Ten.  Now, it’s another Power Five’s turn to do.

The it, as the headline suggests, is the players attending media days, which the ACC revealed to the masses Monday afternoon.  The 14 teams that make up the ACC will send, along with their head coaches, two players from each of their teams to the July 21-22 event in Charlotte.

In a refreshing change, as many linebackers ( six) will be in attendance as quarterbacks (six).  Four defensive linemen have been invited, three each of running backs, offensive linemen and defensive backs will take part.  Interestingly, two of the three linemen are centers, while all three defensive backs are cornerbacks.

Also, for those interested, one punter is on the list — Miami’s Justin Vogel.

Below is the complete list of attendees for the 2016 ACC Media Days:

Boston College
Myles Willis, Running Back, 5-9, 194, Senior, Conyers, Ga.
Matt Milano, Linebacker, 6-1, 218, Senior, Orlando, Fla.

Clemson
Deshaun Watson, Quarterback, 6-2, 210, Junior, Gainesville, Ga.
Ben Boulware, Linebacker, 5-11, 240, Senior, Anderson, S.C.

Duke
Thomas Sirk, Quarterback, 6-4, 220, Senior-R, Glen St. Mary, Fla.
DeVon Edwards, Cornerback, 5-9, 180, Senior-R, Covington, Ga.

Florida State
Dalvin Cook, Running Back, 5-11, 206, Junior, Fla., Miami, Fla.
DeMarcus Walker, Defensive End, 6-3, 273, Senior, Jacksonville, Fla.

Georgia Tech
Justin Thomas, Quarterback, 5-11, 185, Senior-R, Prattville, Ala.
Patrick Gamble, Defensive Line, 6-5, 277, Senior, Carrollton, Ga.

Louisville
Lamar Jackson, Quarterback, 6-3, 196, Sophomore, Boynton Beach, Fla.
Keith Kelsey, Linebacker, 6-1, 236, Senior, Gainesville, Fla.

Miami
Brad Kaaya, Quarterback, 6-4, 210, Junior, Los Angeles, Calif.
Justin Vogel, Punter, 6-4, 208, Senior, Tampa, Fla.

North Carolina
Ryan Switzer, Wide Receiver-Punt Returner, 5-10, 185, Senior, Charleston, W.Va.
Des Lawrence, Cornerback, 6-1, 185, Senior, Charlotte, N.C.

North Carolina State
Matthew Dayes, Running Back, 5-9, 203, Senior, Weston, Fla.
Jack Tocho, Cornerback, 6-0, 200, Senior, Charlotte, N.C.

Pittsburgh
Nathan Peterman, Quarterback, 6-2, 225, Senior-R, Jacksonville, Fla.
Ejuan Price, Defensive End, 6-0, 250, Senior-R, Rankin, Pa.

Syracuse
Jason Emerich, Center, 6-3, 284, Senior-R, New Ringgold, Pa.
Zaire Franklin, Linebacker, 6-0, 229, Junior, Philadelphia, Pa.

Virginia
Jackson Matteo, Center, 6-5, 290, Senior-R, Ashburn, Va.
Micah Kiser, Linebacker, 6-2, 245, Junior-R, Baltimore, Md.

Virginia Tech
Sam Rogers, Fullback, 5-10, 228, Senior, Mechanicsville, Va.
Ken Ekanem, Defensive End, 6-3, 255, Senior-R, Centreville, Va.

Wake Forest
Tyler Hayworth, Offensive Tackle, 6-4, 325, Senior-R, Kingsport, Tenn.
Marquel Lee, Linebacker, 6-3, 235, Senior, Waldorf, Md.

N.C. State RB Matthew Dayes done for the year with foot injury

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In a heavy news day for the ACC, N.C. State lost one of its most important players for the year. Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren revealed Thursday running back Matthew Dayes will miss the remainder of the season with a foot injury suffered Saturday in a 56-41 loss to Clemson.

“I’m disappointed for Matt because he was having a really good year,” Doeren said in a statement. “But in football you’ve got to have a ‘next man up’ mentality, and I’m confident that his teammates will be ready to take on bigger roles and be successful.”

A junior, Dayes led the club with 134 carries for 865 yards (6.46 yards per carry, most among ACC players with at least 130 carries) with a league-leading 12 touchdowns.

His 108.1 yards per game average is the most by an N.C. State back since 1981, and his 1,690 career yards are 15th-most in school history.

The Weston, Fla., native is scheduled to undergo surgery Friday.

NC State loses leading rusher for rest of Clemson game

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If North Carolina State is going to pull the upset of unbeaten Clemson, they’ll have to do so without the services of one of the linchpin of its offense.

Matthew Dayes sustained what was only described as a lower-body injury and has already been ruled out for the entire second half.  NCSU went into the halftime locker room trailing the No. 3 team in the country by the score of 26-20.

At the time of Dayes’ injury, he had nine carries for 72 yards.  That total represented the Wolfpack’s entire rushing effort as four others combined for zero yards on seven carries.

For the season, Dayes has rushed for 865 yards.  The second-leading rusher, Shadrach Thornton, was dismissed from the program earlier this season.

With Dayes sidelined and Thornton out of the picture, the bulk of the running game load will likely fall on the legs of Jaylen Samuels.  The sophomore entered the game third on the team with 143 yards.

At the time of this posting, the Tigers had stretched their lead to 33-20 midway through the third quarter.