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East Carolina Pirates vs William & Mary Tribe Game Preview

Pirates look to rebound from agonizing defeat against Midshipmen with FCS opponent William & Mary.

East Carolina v Navy Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, September 21

Game Time: 6:00pm ET

Records: ECU 1-2 (0-1 AAC), William & Mary 2-1 (0-0 CAA)

Line: ECU -11.5

Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, SC

TV: ESPN3

East Carolina is coming off of a demoralizing defeat against the Naval Academy where they were a team that showed no response to adversity. Coach Mike Houston is playing a ton of young players but this being Week 4, the team needs to find an identity fast in order to be dare I say it, just competitive this season.

William & Mary comes down to Greenville this weekend coming off of a convincing victory against Colgate. The Pirates cannot sleepwalk through this game as William & Mary is an FCS team known for upsets against FBS opponents.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 East Carolina at Navy Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Why East Carolina Will Win

The running game will have to get going in order for the Pirates to be successful. The run game has been hit or miss everything other week so with the miss last week, lets hope the run game gets going. Unfortunately, Darius Pinnix Jr. will be out this week due to injury so look for Demetrius Mauney to get a significant amount of touches.

Defensively speaking, the team will be hurting without Davondre Robinson in the secondary as well as from a leadership perspective.

The team will have to adjust in a full-180 going from a triple-option, slow the game down team in Navy to an up-tempo team in William & Mary. The Pirates will need to be fully-prepared defensively in order to prevent themselves from being on the field too much.

William & Mary v Virginia Tech Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images

Why William & Mary Will Win

The Tribe will need to be able to rekindle some FBS magic in order to believe they can defeat the Pirates. The Tribe will rely heavily on their up-tempo offense to neutralize the defensive line of the Pirates.

As for the defense, the team will need need to scheme and disguise coverage in order to keep Holton Ahlers thinking. As well as the Tribe will need to get those turnovers and possibly a missed field goal or two in order to have a chance going into the fourth quarter.

It does help to have a freshmen dual-threat quarterback as well as a head coach in Mike London who coached at an FBS program in the ACC in Virginia.

Players to Watch

ECU

WR: Blake Proehl

RB: Demetrius Mauney

LB: Gerard Stringer

LB: Xavier Smith

William & Mary

QB: Hollis Mathis

WR: Zach Burdick

CB: Corey Parker

LB: Trey Watkins

Prediction

The game will be a challenge for the Pirates in the first half and possibly into the third quarter against a veteran coach in Mike London who will provide different opportunities for his team to be successful. The Pirates will get the run game going to keep the up-tempo offense of the Tribe off the field and pull away late.

East Carolina 37, William & Mary 20