RALEIGH, N.C. — Tyre Brady’s status was in doubt the entire week, at least as far as his coaches and medical staff were concerned.
But for Brady, there was no doubt. The Miami transfer was not going to miss a game against an Atlantic Coast Conference opponent, and he wasn’t going to let his teammates down.
As far as he is concerned, there was no set day or time when he was cleared to play.
“I was like, I’ve got to be there for my team. I can’t let them down,” Brady said. “They depend on me, they need me, so I’m going to be there for them.”
He played Saturday against North Carolina State, and he caught 11 passes for 248 yards with one touchdown, a 75-yarder. The yardage is the most in a single game against a major-college opponent (Division I-A, FBS), and is tied for the fourth-most in program history.
The others tied or higher: Troy Brown (248 vs. Virginia Military Institute, 1991), Andre Motley (262 vs. Tennessee-Chattanooga, 1990), Josh Davis (264 vs. Appalachian State, 2002) and Randy Moss (288 vs. Delaware, 1996).
He may never reach that single-game yardage — chances are he will receive more attention from the Herd’s next 10 opponents. But the chemistry between him and quarterback Chase Litton is undeniable.
“That’s Tyre. Now we just have a camera on him,” Litton said. “We see it every day in practice, we saw it in the way he carries himself, and we got to see it tonight.”
Safety Malik Gant made his first collegiate start, and he made something of it. By all accounts, there were mistakes made against a veteran N.C. State team, and he’ll have a full video study back in Huntington.
But he was active. Very active, to the tune of 17 tackles, easily a team high.
He had to clean up on a few longer gains, but he held the Wolfpack to short gains on several plays. For instance, he had two tackles on a three-and-out possession.
So what happened on the flea-flicker play, when N.C. State’s Ryan Finley hit Jaylen Samuels for a 39-yard score? After the usual handoff, lateral and throw back to the quarterback, of course.
Samuels was wide open down the right sideline and was able to use his size and speed to cover the yards after catch. Herd defenders were irritated that they were caught off guard.
“We ran the flea-flicker multiple times this week [in scout-team work],” said defensive tackle Ryan Bee. “We slipped up mentally, and we’ve got to work on that going into next week.”
With tackles Nyquan Harris and Channing Hames out, Aaron Dopson received his first college start.
Three reserve linemen played substantial snaps — AJ Addison at left tackle, Alex Mollette at left guard and Will Ulmer at right tackle.
Mollette replaced Jordan Dowrey, who went down on the third snap of the game and did not return. Addison subbed several series for Sandley Jean-Felix, who struggled to block Wolfpack star Bradley Chubb. Ulmer spelled Tarik Adams at times.
“We went into that game wanting to play three more offensive linemen,” said Herd coach Doc Holliday. “We wanted to play Mollette, wanted to play Ulmer, wanted to play Addison. We’re going to need them before the year’s out.”
Damien Dozier returned at defensive end after dressing but not playing last week. That allowed Ty Tyler to move inside for more snaps at tackle.
In the backfield, Anthony Anderson started his second career game, lined up in a two-back set with Trey Rodriguez.
And finally, Robert LeFevre received his first college game action, taking over on kickoffs. He survived knocking his first out of bounds and receiving the obligatory “greeting” from Holliday. (Holliday took it easy on him, putting his arm around him after a short talk.)