Start Time: 6:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 5
Location: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, North Carolina
Radio: East Carolina: 107.9 WNCT. Towson: CBS SPORTS RADIO 1300.
Records: First meeting between the two programs.
Live Stats: Here.
Betting Line: No line
Towson Outlook: The Towson program that came oh so close to a FCS national championship in 2013 they are not, but Towson should be better than the 4-8 team of 2014. Quarterback Connor Frazier threw for nearly 1,500 yards last season for a team that struggled in the passing game. Running back Darius Victor was the standout for Towson on offense with over 1,300 yards rushing at 5.2 yard per carry. James Simms is the key to the Towson defense after registering a 99 tackles and seven tackles for loss. Donnell Lewis is back after finishing second on the defense last season with 85 tackles.
Towson is looking to return to the playoffs this fall and prove that 2014 was an aberration but with so little returning on offense, that will be quite the feat to accomplish.
East Carolina Outlook: The Pirates came into the offseason needing to replace the record breaking tandem of Shance Carden and Justin Hardy. The Pirates thought they had the quarterback of the future in Kurt Benkert but the sophomore tore his ACL a week after being named the starter. Former JUCO transfer Blake Kemp is expected to take over the starting duties with Cody Keith and former Minnesota starting quarterback Philip Nelson also in the mix. Senior Chris Hairston, the team's second leading rusher in 2014, should get the main reps this fall with sophomores Anthony Scott and Marquez Grayson, a duo that combined for 557 yards and 8 touchdowns last fall, also expected to carry the ball. Isaiah Jones made 81 catches as the second option behind Hardy last fall and primed for a huge 2015 season. Tight end Bryce Williams has 38 career catches and should be a great option for the Pirates. Ike Harris and JT Boyd lead an offensive line that averages 6-5, 301 pounds and made 47 combined starts last fall.
The return of defensive end Terrell Stanley, a player that missed the 2014 season to injury, as well as linebackers Zeek Bigger and Montese Overton make the Pirates front seven a talented group that should hold their own against any offensive line they face this fall. Senior cornerback Josh Hawkins has made 18 career starts and led the team with five interceptions in 2014. Free safety Domonique Lennon (65 tkl) made 12 starts last fall and was solid and will give much needed experience to the East Carolina defense.
Projections are lower for the Pirates with the loss of Benkert but at least a bowl berth is expected from the Pirates this fall.
Prediction: Facing Towson is the perfect situation for the Pirates with the need to break in a new quarterback so prevelant. The Pirates are much deeper and more talented at every position group and should physically have their way with the FCS program. Expect the Pirates to roll to a big season opening win.
Tell us what you think. Will the Pirates roll to victory of will they fall to the FCS' Towson Tigers.