Pirates Rally Past UAB, 54-42

UABSPORTS.COM Dominique Davis threw for five touchdowns and helped lift the Pirates past UAB Thursday night
Dominique Davis threw for five touchdowns and helped lift the Pirates past UAB Thursday night

Nov. 11, 2010

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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - East Carolina outscored UAB 27-7 in the fourth quarter Thursday night to post a 54-42 victory at Legion Field. The Pirates improve to 6-4 overall, becoming bowl eligible for the fifth-straight season, and 5-1 in Conference USA play for the second consecutive year and third of the last four.

Dominique Davis threw for 331 yards and five touchdowns to become the program's single-season leader in touchdown passes. He now owns 31 in his 10 appearances as a Pirate. The five touchdown tosses tie Davis' career high and the East Carolina single-game record. Additionally, he became just the second quarterback in school history to throw for over 3,000 yards in a single-season, passing Jeff Blake by four (3,077-3,073).

Jonathan Williams had a career day, tallying his first touchdown through the air and accounting for a personal-best 115 receiving yards. He became the first ECU running back since Chris Johnson in 2007 to go over the 100-yard receiving mark in a game. Williams also racked up a game-high 82 yards on the ground with a touchdown.

Defensively, Jacobi Jenkins made a career-standard nine tackles while Bradley Jacobs collected a personal-best three pass breakups in the first half.

The Pirates recorded 492 yards of total offense to surpass the 400-yard mark for the fifth-straight game and seventh time this season. In the last two years, ECU has seven games with 400 or more yards of total offense. East Carolina also continued its redzone success, converting all six opportunities.

The Blazers opened the scoring at the 6:09 mark of the first quarter when Bryan Ellis capped off a 13-play drive with a touchdown strike to Jeffrey Anderson. However, it took just four minutes for ECU to respond as Dominique Davis found Lance Lewis for five yards into the endzone with two minutes showing on the clock. With the catch, Lewis tied the single-season record for touchdown receptions by a Pirate.

In a drive that carried over to the second quarter, Patrick Hearn was the beneficiary of a four-yard scoring pass from Ellis which gave UAB a 14-7 advantage just 1:51 into the period. East Carolina answered right back, pulling within four when Michael Barbour nailed a career-long 52-yard field goal.

After both teams punted on their next possessions, the Blazers extended their lead to 21-10 when Ellis found Pat Shed streaking down the left side of field and converted a 22-yard touchdown pass to the receiver. For the third-straight time, however, the Pirates found a way to keep the contest close as an eight-play drive was finished with a 29-yard touchdown toss to Andrew Bodenheimer which gave Davis his second throwing score of the evening.

Following a punt on UAB's final possession of the half, ECU took control of the ball at its own three-yard line and 1:13 with which to work. After an incompletion and a Jonathan Williams two-yard rush, the Blazers called for timeout. The Pirates caught the UAB defense flatfooted out of the break as Williams slipped to the left side, brought in a pass and took it 77 yards down the sideline to set up his team at the Blazer 18. He finished the drive two plays later, rushing nine yards up the middle to put East Carolina on top by three, 24-21, with just 40 seconds remaining in the half.

It took just two plays at the beginning of the third quarter for the Blazers to snatch back the lead. After Shed rushed for 12 yards on first down, Ellis hit Roddell Carter for 58 yards to paydirt. Barbour would add his second field goal conversion of the evening on the Pirates' next possession, this time from 41 yards out, bringing the score to 28-27.

UAB ate the next 3:45 off the clock to establish some breathing room, as Daniel Borne put the lid on a nine-play drive with an eight-yard scamper to the endzone. Neither team would score for the remainder of the quarter.

The Blazers punted on the first play of the fourth period, giving the Pirates the ball at the 15-yard line. ECU took advantage of consecutive defensive pass interference calls to drive down to the 10 where, on a first and goal play, Giavanni Ruffin cashed in to pull East Carolina to within one at 35-34. Hearn helped UAB score for the final time on its subsequent possession, recording 56 yards through the air before Anderson caught a 13-yard pass from Ellis to make the score 42-34.

After Michael Bowman found himself on the end of an 11-yard scoring strike, the Pirates decided to attempt a two-point conversion which would fail, leaving the Blazers with a slim two-point advantage. The ECU defense then forced a UAB three-and-out with 6:36 remaining, which led to a three-play drive ending with the game-deciding touchdown grab by Williams. This time, the two-point conversion was successful for the Pirates this time as they assumed a 48-42 lead with 5:48 showing on the clock.

On the kickoff return, the Blazers could not hold on the ball, allowing Rahkeem Morgan to fall on it and give the Pirates another shot on offense. Nearly 100 seconds later, Harris raced around the right side from 10 yards out and just found the pylon for an insurance touchdown. Another two-point conversion failed, but Jacobs sealed the win for East Carolina by intercepting an Ellis pass with under a minute to play.

The Pirates close out their road schedule Saturday, Nov. 20, traveling to Houston for a league matchup with Rice. Kickoff from Rice Stadium is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET and the contest will be shown regionally on Comcast Sports South and locally on WITN-TV.