Still, an early left foot injury to starting quarterback Brandon Mitchell put a damper on the afternoon. Mitchell, who beat out Pete Thomas for the job during training camp, directed N.C. State to touchdowns on its first two possessions before leaving midway through the opening quarter.
Mitchell returned to the sideline late in the first half on crutches and wearing a protective boot.
Kenneth Dixon ran for 118 yards and a touchdown for the Bulldogs (0-1), who lost their first game under new coach Skip Holtz.
Thomas threw for 212 yards on 15-for-27 passing after Mitchell's injury, while Dayes turned in a performance that showed flashes of why Doeren has been high on the rookie from Weston, Fla., during the preseason. Dayes - seeing a bigger role with the one-game suspension to leading rusher Shadrach Thornton- capped his day with an 18-yard TD run midway through the fourth quarter that made it 37-14.