Pirates Downed In Houston, 56-3

UABSPORTS.COM Senior outside receiver Lance Lewis moved into seventh on the ECU career receptions chart with five catches Saturday.
Senior outside receiver Lance Lewis moved into seventh on the ECU career receptions chart with five catches Saturday.

Oct. 8, 2011

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HOUSTON, Texas- East Carolina gave up two quick touchdowns to Houston Saturday night and could not recover as the Cougars cruised to a 56-3 Conference USA victory at Robertson Stadium. It was the fewest points scored by ECU since a 16-3 defeat at home against Virginia Tech in 2009.

Case Keenum was the offensive story for Houston, completing 30 of his 37 attempts for 304 yards and two touchdowns before being lifted in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, Pirate signal-caller Dominique Davis was limited to 169 yards, completing 13 of 23 attempts and throwing three crucial interceptions. The rushing tandem of Charles Sims and Michael Hayes also combined for 144 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars out-gained East Carolina 572-284. Patrick Edwards served as the leading receiver, piling up 133 yards and accounting for a pair of scores.

The Houston defense excelled in the contest, registering nine sacks and forcing four turnovers while scoring on three of those miscues. The Pirates did, however, win the time of possession battle, holding the ball for 35:11 as compared to 24:49 for the home team.

For the Pirates, sophomore running back Torrance Hunt entered in the second half and collected 65 yards on 12 attempts, both career highs, while senior outside receiver Lance Lewis led the receiving corps with 73 yards on five catches. Lewis moved ahead of Chris Johnson (2004-07/125) and into seventh on the program's all-time receptions chart as he now owns 128.

Sophomore quarterback Rio Johnson entered the game in the second half and experienced his first action of the season, producing a 94-yard performance and completing 13 of 21 passes.

Defensively, redshirt freshman Jeremy Grove stretched his string of double-digit tackle efforts to five by leading all players in the game with 14 stops (12 assists). He entered the game ranked second in the nation with 13 stops per contests. Sophomore inside linebacker Kyle Tudor also posted double figures with 13 tackles (nine assists).

Houston struck first on its opening drive, going 15 plays and 80 yards down the field to score when Bryce Beall cashed in from a yard out. Then, after forcing ECU to a three-and-out on offense on the Pirates' first possession, Edwards returned the kickoff 54 yards to the East Carolina 18 to set up a three-yard flag pass from Keenum to Edwards for a touchdown - making the score 14-0.

The Pirates responded on their next drive when Michael Barbour connected from 54 yards away - a career-best kick and second-longest in program history - to cut into the deficit. Lewis keyed the possession on the first play when he hooked up with Davis on a 48-strike down the middle of the field into Cougar territory.

Sims stretched the Houston cushion to 21-3 when he scored on a five-yard rush over the left side on the initial play of the second quarter. The Cougars were then able to capitalize on a pair of Davis interceptions, turning them into two touchdowns to head into halftime with a 35-3 lead.

Houston picked up where it left off early in the third quarter, when Thomas Bates picked off Davis on the second play of ECU's drive. Just five plays later, Michael Hayes took the ball 19 yards into the endzone for the period's only score to make it 42-3.

The Cougars capped the scoring by posting touchdowns on their first and last drives of the fourth quarter.

East Carolina continues C-USA play Saturday, Oct. 15, traveling to Memphis for a meeting with the Tigers at the Liberty Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. ET and the game will be shown locally on WITN.