East Carolina may not have won the game against UCF on Saturday night, but the Pirates did something we hadn’t really seen in the past couple years — fight until the last whistle. The Pirates decided not to roll over after the lead seemed insurmountable at halftime.
After a first half dominated by UCF where the Knights put up 35 points and were locked in all phases, the Pirates decided to not be defined by being blown out of the water like in a majority of their conference games this season. They finally decided to punch back.
The Pirates went on to score 16 unanswered with a TD run by Demetrius Mauney, a Jake Verity field goal and a 20-yard TD run by Holton Ahlers to cut the game to 13 with 4:45 in the third quarter.
The Knights did quickly respond and Pirates did score a late touchdown in the fourth, but the third quarter may be a defining point in this season for ECU.
UCF was led by their freshman phenom, Dillon Gabriel, who went 22-35 for 365 yards and 2 touchdown passes. Even former starter Darriel Mack Jr. got in on the act in the second quarter with a touchdown pass of his own.
As for the Pirates, Ahlers went 23-37 for 313 yards with a touchdown through the air and on the ground. The Pirates may not have won the game and it may seem that UCF potentially let off the gas in the third quarter, but the Pirates decided not to roll over when the deficit looked insurmountable. I know sometimes we should not take moral victories but this is one that needs to be taken.
Up next for the Pirates will be a home game against USF this Saturday.
And for the Knights, they will be traveling to face the Owls of Temple on Saturday.