ECU Falls To SMU In OT Thriller, 45-38

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Josh Smith had a career-high 3.5 tackles for a loss and has eight in the last four games.
Senior Josh Smith had a career-high 3.5 tackles for a loss and has eight in the last four games.

Nov. 26, 2010

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GREENVILLE, N.C. - An interception in overtime by SMU's Richard Crawford ended the Pirates' comeback effort Friday and gave the Mustangs a 45-38 victory in East Carolina's regular-season finale at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The loss on Senior Day dropped the Pirates to 6-6 overall and 5-3 in Conference USA, while lifting the C-USA West Division champion Mustangs to 7-5 overall and 6-2 in the league.

Despite the loss, senior inside receiver Dwayne Harris' 10 catches for 57 yards set the Pirates' single-season record for pass receptions, with 93, and receiving yards, with 1,055. Harris became the second Pirate receiver ever to surpass 1,000 receiving yards. Aundrae Allison totaled 1,024 in 2005.

In addition, junior inside receiver Lance Lewis pulled in a career-high 154 yards and pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes, extending his ECU single-season record to 13.

On its opening possession, ECU put together its longest drive of the season, going 97 yards in seven plays and using a two-yard run by Jonathan Williams to go in front, 7-0. After Emanuel Davis forced a SMU fumble with just over eight minutes to play in the first quarter, Williams cashed in for the second time on another two-yard scoring scamper. He now has five touchdowns in his last three games. Additionally, the extra point converted by Michael Barbour gave him 51 - the single-season East Carolina record. Barbour also set the single-season ECU record for points by a kicker with 96, surpassing Ben Hartman's 94 points from a season ago.

The Mustangs scored their first points of the game four-and-a-half minutes into the second period, capping off an 18-play drive that took nine minutes off the clock with a 28-yard field goal by Matt Szymanski that bounced off the right upright and through. Then, with time winding down in the half, Kyle Padron hit Keenan Holman for a 15-yard touchdown strike, making the score 14-10.

Harris put together a nice return on the ensuing kickoff, but Barbour missed a 50-yard field goal, which left the Pirates with the four-point lead at the break. The miss snapped Barbour's string of 12-straight made field goals.

Cole Beasley gave SMU its first lead, 17-14, at the 9:53 mark of the third quarter when he caught a six-yard pass from Padron. The Mustangs then took advantage of a Williams fumble five minutes later as Ja'Gared Davis scooped up the ball and took it back 33 yards into the endzone.

A 51-yard pass from Dominique Davis to Lewis on the next possession set up East Carolina at the Mustang 20 before Barbour made the score 24-17 with a 33-yard field goal. However, SMU answered back with a 53-yard touchdown heave from Padron to Aldrick Robinson to establish some breathing room at 31-17 with 1:18 showing on the third period clock.

The Pirates took the ball into the fourth quarter and pulled within seven when Davis tallied his first touchdown pass of the day, finding Lewis for 16 yards in the left back corner of the endzone at the 13:54 mark. An eight-play, 78-yard drive, fueled by a 48-yard toss from Padron to Beasley, was finished off by Zach Line's five-yard touchdown run, lifting the Mustangs ahead 38-24.

But the Pirates answered again with a nine-yard touchdown run by Davis with 5:12 left in the game, pulling the Pirates to within a touchdown at 38-31. The TD run was Davis' ninth of the season, the most for an ECU quarterback since Leander Green's 12 in 1979.

After forcing a three-and-out on the Mustangs' next possession, the Pirates drove 62 yards in 11 plays to tie the score at 38-38. The key play in the drive was a fourth-and-four sideline pass from Davis to Giavanni Ruffin for eight yards that gave the Pirates a first down on the SMU 23. Four plays later, Davis hit Lewis with a seven-yard scoring pass with 12 seconds left.

ECU won the coin toss in overtime and elected to play defense first. SMU scored on a one-yard run by Line with Szymanski's extra point pulling the Mustangs ahead 45-38. On the Pirates' third offensive play, SMU's Crawford picked off Davis' pass intended for Lewis to seal the defeat.

Offensively for the Pirates, Davis finished with 33 completions in 45 attempts for 314 yards. The game-ending interception was his only one of the day. Leading receivers were Lewis with eight catches for 154 yards and the two TDs, Harris with his 10 grabs for 57 yards, Andrew Bodenheimer with five catches for 39 yards and Michael Bowman with four receptions for 35 yards. On the ground, Williams finished with 14 carries for 87 yards and Ruffin had 11 attempts for 71 yards.

Padron finished with 21 completions in 34 attempts for 331 yards. Robinson had five receptions for 129 yards and Beasley hauled in nine catches for 118 yards. Line led all rushers with 123 yards in 30 carries.