ECU, South Carolina will renew its football series beginning in 2011
June 15, 2007
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina and South Carolina will renew a football series which features 15 prior meetings and dates back to 1977 with a five-game agreement beginning in 2011 and ending in 2016 according to a joint announcement made by the two schools Friday.
Three of the five games will take place in the state of North Carolina as the Pirates and Gamecocks will meet in Charlotte in 2011 and 2014 before taking the series back to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville during the 2015 season. South Carolina will host ECU at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia in 2012 and 2016.
As part of the agreement, Raycom Sports secured operating rights for the two contests scheduled to be played in Charlotte. While the dates are still tentative based on the availability of Bank of America Stadium from the Carolina Panthers' National Football League schedule, the Pirates will serve as the visiting team on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2011 before acting as the home team three years later on Saturday, August 30, 2014.
"We look forward to resuming our football relationship with South Carolina," ECU Executive Associate Athletics Director Nick Floyd said. "These are games our fans look forward to with a great deal of anticipation and will further complement our future non-conference schedules which have previously been announced."
While the Gamecocks lead the overall series 10-5, the Pirates have enjoyed the upper hand lately - winning three of the last four and five of the last seven matchups beginning with a 31-20 triumph in 1991. The two programs last met Sept. 18, 1999 at Williams-Brice Stadium where East Carolina posted a 21-3 victory. However, the Pirates' stay in Columbia lasted an additional week because of the flooding associated with Hurricane Floyd in the Greenville area and ECU was extended workout privileges on the South Carolina campus in preparation for its next game against Miami (Fla.).
In all, 12 of the previous 15 meetings have taken place in Columbia while East Carolina played host roles in 1985, 1991 and 1997. In addition, the future games against South Carolina will mark a return of Southeastern Conference opponents to the Pirates' schedule, which includes prior contests against Alabama (1998), Auburn (1985, 1986, 1994), Florida (1983), Georgia (1990), Kentucky (1993), LSU (1981) and Tennessee (1995).
East Carolina posted a 7-6 overall record last year, which marked the program's highest win total since an 8-4 ledger in 2000. The Pirates also made their first bowl appearance since 2001 when they accepted an invitation to the Papajohns.com Bowl in Birmingham, Ala. ECU closed the season by winning five of its last seven games and finished league play with a 5-3 record to earn a second-place standing in Conference USA's East Division.
The Pirates have won two of the three prior contests played in Charlotte, recording 50-29 and 30-23 victories over N.C. State and West Virginia in 1996 and 1999, respectively, before falling to the Wolfpack 52-14 in 2004. In addition, East Carolina is scheduled to play Virginia Tech at Bank of America Stadium to open the 2008 season.
"The opportunity to play two games in a first-class stadium in a major league city will certainly help recruiting efforts for both programs," ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland added. "I don't think there's any doubt that it also provides our fans with an entertaining venue that is similar to a bowl experience while touching many of our alumni in the area at the same time."
South Carolina, led by third-year head coach Steve Spurrier, finished 8-5 last year and capped off the season with a win over Houston in the AutoZone Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The Gamecocks have played in two straight bowls under Spurrier but have never played a football game in Charlotte.
The five-game contract with South Carolina enhances ECU's unprecedented future non-conference scheduling agreements originally announced by Holland in June, 2005 that features nine remaining meetings against Virginia Tech, seven against N.C. State, four against North Carolina, three against West Virginia and Navy and one more vs. Virginia. The Hokies (four times), Wolfpack (three), Tar Heels (two), Midshipmen (two) and Mountaineers (one) are scheduled to visit Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium either in 2007 or during future campaigns.