Quarterback James Pinkney. (File Photo)
Oct. 15, 2005
DALLAS (AP) - Quarterback James Pinkney ran for a career-high three touchdowns, including the tiebreaker midway through the fourth quarter, as East Carolina defeated SMU 24-17 on Saturday.
All three of Pinkney's scores were from 1 yard, including the final one to break a 17-17 tie with 7:11 left in the game. Pinkney, who was 15-of-21 passing for 225 yards, finished with 42 rushing yards on 13 attempts as East Carolina (3-3, 2-1 Conference USA) improved to .500 in October for the first time since 2001.
Pirates defensive back Demetrius Hodges sealed the victory with 11 seconds left with his second interception of the game at the ECU 21-yard line.
SMU quarterback Jerad Romo threw three fourth-quarter interceptions, including two in the last two minutes, and finished 19-of-37 for 211 yards and four interceptions. East Carolina forced five turnovers and scored 17 points off turnovers.
With 1:32 left, the Mustangs had the ball at the ECU 44, but safety Pierre Parker came up with his second interception of the fourth quarter when he picked off Romo at the ECU 25.
Parker set up Pinkney's game-winning touchdown by returning a Romo interception 11 yards to the SMU 13.
After falling behind 17-7, SMU tied the score on a 1-yard touchdown run by Romo with 45 seconds left in the third quarter. A 23-yard punt by Ryan Dougherty gave SMU the ball at the East Carolina 24, and running back DeMyron Martin had 19 yards on the scoring drive.
Martin led all rushers with 129 yards and a touchdown on 22 attempts.
The Pirates scored 17 straight second-quarter points to build a 17-7 lead, their largest at halftime this season.
Pinkney completed an 80-yard pass to receiver Phillip Henry to set up the first East Carolina touchdown. Pinkney scored on a quarterback sneak three plays later.
Henry led all receivers with 123 yards on five receptions. A former walk-on, he came into the game with three career receptions for 46 yards.
ECU's Marcus Hands recovered a Martin fumble at the SMU 34-yard line on the second play of SMU's next possession, leading to Pinkney's second touchdown. Defensive tackle Brandon Setzer forced the fumble, and Pinkney gave the Pirates a 14-7 edge with 5:52 left in the first half.