Game Time: 12:00 EST
Records: TLSA 3-8 (1-6 AAC), ECU 4-7 (1-6 AAC)
Line: TLSA -5.5, O/U 62
Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
Saturday will be a game of teams who’s season will come to a finish win or lose on Saturday when Tulsa travels to East Carolina. Both teams will be looking to end the year on a high note and build some confidence going into the postseason.
Last week, East Carolina finally got their fourth win of a season over the UConn Huskies after being a 3-9 football team for three consecutive wins. This young squad under first-year head coach Mike Houston have been up and down all year by showing promise than falling apart. It will be a significant way to end the year if they can pull out this one on Senior Day.
As for Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane are coming off a close loss to Houston last week. The Hurricane are looking for their fourth win of the year to finish 4-8. A win would see a one-win increase every year since going 2-10 in 2017.
Therefore, both are playing to show improvement and neither team will want to end the year with a sour taste in their mouth.
Why ECU Will Win
The Pirates will continue to rely on their offense who have scored at least 31 points in their past 3 games. QB Holton Ahlers has started to peak late in the year and will continue to make plays with both his arm and legs for the Pirates to win this one.
Defensively, they will have to be opportunistic and have to make a couple key plays to win. The defense has given up a lot of yards and points, but they made the key plays late to survive last week.
The crowd will make it emotional as well as it is Senior Day.
Why Tulsa Will Win
The Golden Hurricane will need to be very reliant on QB Zach Smith, the Baylor transfer, who has had an up-and-down season. The guy as all the talent in the world especially an electric arm, he needs to take advantage of the benign ECU defense.
Defensively the team needs to be able to rush the quarterback and somehow get pressure on Ahlers. Other than DE Trevis Gipson who has 8 sacks by himself, the rest of the team has six. That is not a way to be successful because it ends up putting a lot of stress on your secondary to cover for long periods of time. They need to be able to rush the QB.
Players to Watch
QB: Holton Ahlers
RB: Darius Pinnix Jr.
DE: Kendall Futrell
LB: Xavier Smith
QB: Zach Smith
WR: Keylon Stokes
DE: Trevis Gipson
LB: Cooper Edmiston
Both teams have not had the season’s they hoped for, however these teams were extremely competitive against the top of the league. This one will be a fourth quarter game.
I’m going with the Pirates as I believe special teams will be the difference and Jake Verity is one of the best in the conference.
ECU 27, Tulsa 24