- Associated Press - Thursday, November 5, 2015

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - North Carolina State’s once-stocked backfield has gotten much thinner.

The school announced Thursday night that top rusher Matt Dayes will miss the rest of the season with a foot injury suffered during last weekend’s loss to No. 3 Clemson. Dayes is scheduled to have surgery Friday, sideling a runner who ranked among the Bowl Subdivision leaders in rushing yardage and rushing touchdowns.

“I’m disappointed for Matt because he was having a really good year,” coach Dave 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.”

The Wolfpack (5-3, 1-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) entered the season with Dayes and Shadrach Thornton in the backfield, though Thornton was suspended for the first two games for a violation of athletic department policy and later dismissed from the team following a third brush of legal trouble.

Dayes had thrived in the lead role, ranking 25th nationally with 108.1 yards rushing per game and tied for 11th nationally with an ACC-best 12 rushing touchdowns. But he sat out the second half of last weekend’s loss to the Tigers with what Doeren described afterward as a toe injury.

Speaking after Thursday morning’s practice, Doeren said Dayes had been rehabbing the injury but was still sore and had done “very little” in practice this week. Doeren said Dayes was meeting with a medical specialist later in the day to discuss the injury, though the school hasn’t specified the exact nature of the injury.

“Matt’s a tough guy,” Doeren said after practice. “His pain tolerance is incredibly high. He wanted to come back in the game on Saturday but the docs just didn’t feel that was the right thing to do. We’ll see what they tell us this afternoon when he goes back there.”

Doeren said versatile sophomore Jaylen Samuels, who has lined up in the backfield and as a slot receiver at different points this season, is likely to see the biggest increase in work. Samuels leads the team with 429 yards receiving and five touchdowns, and he’s also run for six scores and averaged 7.2 yards per carry in limited rushing work.

N.C. State also has redshirt sophomore Dakwa Nichols and freshman Reggie Gallaspy II in the backfield.

Boston College (3-6, 0-6) hosts the Wolfpack on Saturday.


Follow Aaron Beard on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/aaronbeardap and the AP’s college football site at https://collegefootball.ap.org

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