The Pirates had the momentum, played well in the second half against UCF, were wearing an all-purple uniform, and it was homecoming. The crowd was crowd. But none of that mattered. The Pirates got destroyed by the Bulls of USF 45-20.
East Carolina was outmuscled and had no answers as USF ran all-over Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The Bulls amassed 347 yards on the ground led by their star running back, Jordan Cronkrite who ran for 129 yards on 12 carries.
The only positive the Pirates got was the opening kickoff when Tyler Snead ran it back 100 yards for a score. Afterwards, it was all Bulls with them scoring on 5-7 of their first-half drives.
The stats were very indicative of how the game played out with the rushing yards of the Bulls was more than the total yards of the Pirates. Quarterback Holton Ahlers struggled with only 217 yards through the air, and an interception.
The Bulls used multiple quarterbacks on Saturday to help Jordan McCloud with his shoulder injury as he went 9-12 passing and two scores. Kirk Rygol threw for a touchdown as well.
The Pirates seem to be taking one step forward and then two steps back on a week-to-week basis. One week they show you life and the next week when one believes the competitive edge is there, they lay a dud. It is incredible to try and figure out this team.
An excuse would be to say they’re young by playing a lot of freshman, last week was week 9 of the college football season, nobody is a freshman anymore with now 8 games under their belt. The Pirates now have a brutal two weeks ahead with back to back top 25 opponents.
The team will have to rally somehow but I personally cannot see how based on the struggle of this season. It may get ugly the next two Saturdays, leaving the final two games to play different players just to see what Coach Mike Houston has.
The Pirates have currently ranked No. 18 Cincinnatti coming to Greenville on Saturday.
As for the Bulls, they will be on a bye this weekend before hosting Temple on Nov. 7.