After nearly pulling off an upset win over Temple, the East Carolina Pirates regressed significantly in a 31-13 loss to the Connecticut Huskies. This loss has put the Pirates in a tougher than expected position to extend their roll of seven bowl berths in the last eight seasons.
Let's take a look at the Pirates good, bad, and ugly of a 31-13 loss to UConn.
- Running The Ball: The Pirates ended the night with 203 yards on the ground on 36 carries. That is good for a 5.6 yards per carry average. Sophomore Marquez Grayson saw his first carries of the season in rushing for a team-high 87 yards on only nine carries. Chris Hairston added 66 yards on 12 carries. The ECU run game broke off runs of 44, 16, and 27 yards on the night.
- Defensive Touchdown: While it was clear that the ECU defense ran out of gas following the multitude of miscues by the offense, DaSwawn Benton did get the Pirates started well with a 32-yard pick-six. Following his score would be the only time ECU led all night.
- Punting: Punter Worth Gregory had another outstanding game punting the football. Four of his five punts were downed inside the UConn 20-yard line, while the other ended up with UConn fumbling the ball and recovering on their own 10-yard line. The average starting point for the Huskies after a Gregory punt was their own nine-yard line. Well done Mr. Gregory.
- Passing Offense: Simply put, it was not a pretty night for the Pirates in the air. Starter James Summers was 12-21 passing for 87 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times versus the Huskies defense. Blake Kemp, coming in off the bench, was well off target with three interceptions, including both of his first two drives of the night.
- Turnovers: In conjunction with the woes of the passing game, four interceptions sealed the fate of ECU. The first by Summers ended a drive that saw East Carolina drive to the Huskies 30-yard line, taking a chance at points off the board for the Pirates. The final ECU interception of the night was was also inside the UConn 35-yard line.
- Finishing Drives With Points: Want to make yourself sick as an ECU fan? Then consider the fact that the Pirates has SEVEN drives end in UConn territory with no points. Drives died at the 46 (punt), 40 (punt), 33 (TOD), 30 (INT), 41 (punt), 33 (TOD), and 33-yard line (INT). What might have been?
- Back To Back UConn Touchdowns: The Pirates gave up back to back touchdowns in just over two minutes of game action. A 10-6 deficit suddenly ballooned to 24-6, effectively taking the Pirates of out the game.
Play of the Game
- The 90-yard Run: Sometimes you get the big play, other times you give up the big play. After a fumbled punt had UConn pinned at their own 10-yard line, ECU allowed Arkeel Newsome to find room around the right edge and go 90-yards for a back breaking touchdown.
- Needing to take two of the next three games to become bowl eligible, the Pirates face off versus a much improved South Florida squad in what could turn out to be a bowl eliminator game.