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ECU vs North Carolina A&T: Game preview and prediction

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NCAA Football: Cincinnati at East Carolina James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Date: Saturday, September 1st

Kickoff: 6:00 P.M. EST

Location: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, North Carolina

Watch/Stream: ESPN3

Radio: 107.9 WNCT

Series Record: First ever meeting


ECU Outlook

Head coach Scottie Montgomery enters his third season with the Pirates after going 6-18 in the first two seasons combined. Montgomery named redshirt sophomore Reid Herring as the starting quarterback to start the season. The Pirates only return Trevon Brown at wide receiver as a weapon, but has a deep backfield of four good runners. The offensive line depth is a concern, so Herring’s starting debut could go either way. But ECU’s offense hasn’t been the bigger contributor to the record the last two seasons.

The defense is where the bigger issues have been the last two seasons. Fortunately for ECU, it can only go up for a defense manned by first-year defensive coordinator David Blackwell. Blackwell came from Jacksonville State, who just played against A&T last week in the FCS kick-off. Blackwell’s familiarity with Jacksonville State’s schemes and how it worked against A&T could prove to be huge for ECU.

North Carolina A&T Outlook

A&T started its season off on a good note with a 20-17 win over Jacksonville State in the FCS kick-off. It was a good start to the Sam Washington era as Washington takes over as head coach after former coach Rod Broadway retired after a perfect 12-0 season. The score made the game seem less impressive for the Aggies, but they picked up right where they left off.

A&T does a good job of stopping the run, and plays with intensity that ECU’s Montgomery said was the hardest he’s ever seen on tape. With the returning MEAC conference player-of-the-year in quarterback Lamar Raynard and star defensive players like Darryl Johnson, the Aggies have plenty of weapons to make this game closer than the typical FBS-FCS matchup.

Prediction

A&T is one FCS opponent that ECU should not take lightly. ECU lost its season opener to an FCS team, James Madison University, and will come in more locked in for this years’ opener. ECU moved its offseason workouts up this year in order to allow more time for players to learn new schemes, and expect Blackwell’s new defense and familiarity with A&T to be an impact. ECU 28, A&T 21.