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Tulsa Golden Hurricane vs East Carolina Pirates Game Preview

Both Teams Look to End the Year on a High Note

FBC-TULSA-ECAROLINA Photo by Chris Seward/Raleigh News & Observer/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

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

TV: ESPNU

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.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 23 East Carolina at UConn Photo by Williams Paul/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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.

Tulsa at Navy Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette/Baltimore Sun/TNS via Getty Images

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

ECU

QB: Holton Ahlers

RB: Darius Pinnix Jr.

DE: Kendall Futrell

LB: Xavier Smith

Tulsa

QB: Zach Smith

WR: Keylon Stokes

DE: Trevis Gipson

LB: Cooper Edmiston

Prediction

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