NC State senior H-back Jaylen Samuels moved up the ranks for career touchdowns in Wolfpack history after rushing for three scores Saturday in the 49-16 win over Furman.
Samuels entered the game tied for fifth with Torry Holt with 33 scores and quickly broke that tie with a two-yard touchdown run to give the Wolfpack a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. He later added two more scores — all three touchdowns came from playing tailback — and is presently tied with T.A. McLendon, who had 36 touchdowns from 2002-2004.
He has former teammate Matthew Dayes, now with the Cleveland Browns, in his sights next. Dayes amassed 40 touchdowns from 2013-2016. To tie the all-time mark he would need 15 touchdowns match the legendary Ted Brown, who had 51 — that could be a daunting task, but it’s hard to count out the do-it-all Samuels. He’d have to average 1.5 touchdowns per game over the next 10 contests to tie Brown.
Samuels also passed Eddie Goines (1991-94) on career receptions and is now in third place with 152. Holt is second with 191 and Jerricho Cotchery leads the list with 200.
“During the game I wasn’t thinking about breaking records, but it just comes as the plays come,” Samuels said. “I just go out there and execute and make those plays that come to me.
“We just let it loose today. We knew that if we executed and everyone was doing their assignments, they couldn’t stop us.”
Samuels finished with six receptions for 75 yards, and added 16 yards and three scores on five carries at running back. The tailback version of the versatile senior can run between the tackles, take a direct snap from the center or run arrow routes in the end zone.
“My teammates rely on me to make those big catches,” Samuels said. “Coach Drink [offensive coordinator Eli Drinkwitz] and I have been working that all week on the goal line. We had a package for me at running back and even at quarterback. Once I get the ball on the goal line, I just think to score.”
Samuels also credited the return of redshirt junior starting right tackle Will Richardson from a two-game suspension with helping the offense.
“When Will is in there, that’s a big difference,” Samuels said. “The holes open up wider, and he knows what he is doing and is playing fast. Just seeing him back on the field, that was great.”
Samuels can now turn his full attention to 0-1 Florida State, which will host the Pack in Tallahassee, Fla., next week. He had a combined 60 yards and a score in last year’s 24-20 defeat.
“It’s going to be pretty exciting,” Samuels said.
NC State Defensive Ends Surge
NC State defensive ends Darian Roseboro, a junior, and senior Kentavius Street had been a little quiet the first two games.
Street had had four tackles and a sack in the first two games, while Roseboro had two solo stops. Both played with speed and intensity against Furman’s triple-option attack to combine for 14 stops, including half a sack and four tackles for loss, while Street also forced and recovered a fumble.
"In order for us to play how we wanted to play as a defense, everything starts with them," NCSU senior nickel Shawn Boone said.
The two former Rivals.com four-star prospects easily surpassed their production from the previous two games, with Roseboro leading the team with nine tackles, two tackles for loss and half a sack. Street chipped in five tackles, two tackles for loss and his big forced fumble and recovery.
“I knew Street had it in him every week,” said senior defensive end Bradley Chubb, who had two tackles. “I’m glad he brought it out today and I hope he continues to do that the entire season.”
Roseboro has the flexibility to play both defensive end and defensive tackle. NC State has several options in trying to put its four best pass rushers on the field in obvious passing downs.
“Darian played amazing,” Chubb said. “He’s one of those guys that I’m glad he is playing aside of me. He has a great motor, and he was having a great game today.”
NC State’s defense finished with eight tackles for loss, two sacks, two recovered fumbles and an interception. After Furman tallied 13 points in the first half, the Paladins mustered only a field goal in the second half.
“I liked the way we attacked and played fast on both sides of the football, which was a point of emphasis this week,” NCSU head coach Dave Doeren said.
Secondary Getting Closer To Be Fully Reunited
Although there was talk last week that he could return, NC State elected to hold out senior cornerback Mike Stevens, who has missed the first three games due to a knee injury.
Stevens is expected to play against Florida State next week. The Wolfpack could have played him against Furman if absolutely needed, but decided before the start of the game to continue to rest him.
“We felt it was risky to play him against a team that is going to cut [block] the entire game in his first game back with a knee [injury]," Doeren explained. "Just didn’t think it was smart.”
Fifth-year senior Johnathan Alston and sophomore Nick McCloud started at cornerback for the Wolfpack. NCSU also worked in freshman Chris Ingram, redshirt freshman Bryce Banks and senior Nicholas Lacy at cornerback in the second half.
Furman had several “explosive plays” led by tight end Andy Schumpert rumbling for a 71-yard touchdown catch. Wide receiver Thomas Gordon caught a 41-yard pass and running back Triston Luke had a 45-yard run.
“We gave up a couple of big plays with misdirection,” Doeren said. “We lost our eyes twice in the secondary.”
Doeren said the Paladins took advantage of utilizing some plays that they hadn’t used against Wofford and Elon this season.
“They had a guy that orbited like he was going around on a pitch, but then he came back and we took our eyes off some guys,” Doeren said. “It was a good scheme by them and a new play we hadn’t seen them do.”
Boone was able to come through with his first interception of his Wolfpack career, and on top of that, he returned it 47 yards for a score.
The veteran safety said he doesn't consider his teammates "young" anymore. It's time to shine in the secondary, with the increased responsibilities. He bluntly said the secondary is not there yet and needs to get better.
"For me being a leader of the secondary, it's big, and I just tell them to relax," Boone said. "Play with your eyes and be disciplined.
"Sixteen points are not supposed to be on the board."
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