Looking very impressive on defense, the East Carolina Pirates (4-3, 2-1 AAC) moved one game closer to bowl eligibility with a 30-10 win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (3-3, 0-2 AAC).
Again using their two quarterback system, the Pirates passed for 239 yards and rushed for 145 yards in the impressive win.
The ECU defense looked shaky in the opening minutes as Dane Evans led Tulsa to the Pirates 12-yard line on the opening drive. Josh Hawkins completely changed things on the next play with an interception that was returned 100 yards for a touchdown. The PAT by Davis Plowman gave ECU a 7-0 lead.
After several traded punts from both sides, Blake Kemp found success in the passing game with six straight completions to the Tulsa 10-yard line. The Golden Hurricane defense bowed up and stopped ECU on third down, forcing a 24-yard field goal attempt. The kick was good and ECU led 10-0.
In the next possession, James Summers took over at quarterback and promptly threw an interception to Darrell Williams. That turnover was not costly as Demage Bailey forced a fumble by Tulsa running back Zack Langer that was recovered by Jordan Williams on the Tulsa 29-yard line.
Five plays later, Summers found Chris Hairston for a 12-yard touchdown strike to give the Pirates an impressive 17-0 lead with 5:50 left in the half. The Pirates added a 23-yard field goal by Plowman to give them a 20-0 halftime lead.
Led by Summers, the Pirates again drove inside the Tulsa 20-yard line early in the third quarter, facing a third and ten. Summers was sacked by Petera Wilson, forcing Plowman to attempt another field goal. His 41-yard attempt was good, giving ECU a 23-0 lead.
The Golden Hurricane finally broke through with a score early in the fourth quarter, capping a 10-play, 81-yard drive. Langer found the end zone from one yard out to cut the ECU lead to 23-7 with 12:13 left in the game. ECU again gave up an 80+ yard drive, this time 88 yards, but were able to make a stop on a third and goal from the four yard line. A Redford Jones field goal made the score 23-10 with only 7:12 left in the game.
The East Carolina defense found its footing once again in the next two drives, forcing Tulsa to turn the ball over on downs on both occasions. Following the second turnover on downs, the Pirates took advantage with Summers finding the end zone two plays later to take a 30-10 lead.
Tulsa added a garbage time touchdown, going 74 yards in five plays, capped by Keyarris Garrett catching a 47-yard touchdown pass with :30 left in the game.
One kneel down later, East Carolina improved to 4-3 on the season with a 30-17 win over Tulsa.
The Pirates have no time to rest as they have another game on Thursday, this one at home versus the undefeated Temple Owls in a battle for the AAC East Division lead.