ECU To Host FAU In C-USA Opener Thursday Night

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Sep 3, 2013

East Carolina Game 2: Florida Atlantic
Date Thursday, Sept. 5
Time 7:30 PM (ET)
Location Greenville, N.C. (Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium)
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will officially open its 2013 Conference USA schedule Thursday night when the Pirates battle Florida Atlantic at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. ECU will try to extend its C-USA home winning streak to six straight and push its record to 2-0 for the first time since 2010 after opening the new campaign with a 52-38 victory over Old Dominion last week.

The matchup will also represent the second contest of a season-opening three-game homestand for the Pirates, who will follow by meeting ACC-member Virginia Tech on Sept. 14.

East Carolina Records and Streaks

  • Eight bowl appearances since 2000 (six of the last seven years) ...
  • Has won 10 of the last 11 games (and 38 of 44) when scoring 30 or more points ...
  • Has lost 11-straight games when scoring 20 or less points ...
  • Has won 21 of the last 22 games when converting third downs at 50% or higher ...
  • Has won 11-straight games when gaining 200 or more rushing yards ...
  • Has won six of the last seven games when forcing two or more turnovers ...
  • Has won five-straight (and 21 of 29) Conference USA games ...
  • Has won five-straight, 17 of the last 19 (and 22 of 26) C-USA home games ...
  • Has won 17 of the last 21 (and 23 of 29) C-USA East Division games ...
  • Has won 13 of the last 14 C-USA East Division home games ...

The Series
Thursday's contest will mark the first meeting (0-0) between East Carolina and Florida Atlantic in the sport of football ... In fact, FAU is one of four "inaugural" games on ECU's schedule in 2013 - Old Dominion/Aug. 31, Middle Tennessee/Oct. 5 and FIU/Nov. 2 are others.

`Canes, `Noles, Gators, Bulls and Knights
The Pirates have dropped 24 of 35 all-time matchups (11-24) against FBS (formerly Division I-A) programs from the state of Florida ... ECU is 9-3 against UCF, 2-9 vs. Miami, 0-1 vs. Florida, 0-4 vs. USF and 0-7 vs. Florida State ... East Carolina has also never faced FIU on the gridiron.

League Statistical Comparisons
In its eight C-USA contests last year, East Carolina averaged 37.0 points, 143.2 rushing yards, 297.5 passing yards and 440.8 total yards per game ... By comparison, the Pirates only booked 19.8 ppg, 117.8 rypg, 223.2 pypg and 341.0 ypg averages in their four regular season NC tilts.

Analyzing The 2013 Schedule
East Carolina's 2013 schedule consists of games against two conference champions (Old Dominion/Colonial, Tulsa/Conference USA), two divisional winners (North Carolina/ACC co-Coastal, Tulsa/C-USA West), three bowl participants (Virginia Tech, Tulsa, NC State) and one program ranked in the final top 25 poll - Tulsa (No. 25/USA Today).

Battling Within The East Division
The Pirates are 29-11 (.725) against Conference USA East Division opponents since the league implemented divisional play in 2005 ... ECU is 16-4 at home and 13-7 on the road in games against Marshall, Southern Miss and UAB (and current AAC members UCF and Memphis) ... Before taking four of five (win at USM, loss at UCF, wins vs. MEM, UAB and MAR) in 2012, the Pirates were 3-2 in 2011 (wins over UAB, MEM and UCF, losses vs. USM and MAR), 4-1 in 2010, 5-0 in 2009, 4-1 in 2008, 3-2 in 2007, 4-1 in 2006 and 2-3 in 2005.

At Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium - 1-0 in 2013 (5-1 IN 2012)
East Carolina's all-time record at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is 168-85-1 (.663) ... The Pirates opened the facility on Sept. 21, 1963 with a 20-10 win over Brian Piccolo and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in front of 17,000 fans and are celebrating the stadium's 50th anniversary this fall ... Before a 3-3 mark in 2011 and a 4-2 clip in 2010, ECU won a combined 10 of 12 home matchups in 2009 (6-1) and 2008 (4-1) ... Overall, ECU has turned in 37 winning seasons at DFS.

2013 Starting Lineup Debuts
There were three first-time starters in East Carolina's lineup against Old Dominion Saturday, all on the offensive side of the ball - OR Davon Grayson, LT Ike Harris and C C.J. Struyk.

Bypassing the Redshirt
With true freshmen receivers Davon Grayson (OR) and Isaiah Jones (IR) both experiencing action (and scoring a combined four touchdowns) against Old Dominion Saturday, they increased head coach Ruffin McNeill's "play immediately" count to nine since his arrival at ECU in 2010 ... A year ago, OR Jabril Soloman made his debut, while IR Danny Webster and ILB Brandon Williams played during their rookie campaigns in 2011 (and a total of four players were used in 2010).

Ruffin McNeill's Offensive M.O.
Although the unit featured only three senior starters, East Carolina's offense passed for 3,551 yards in 2012 - the second-highest total in program history ... Coach McNeill's first squad set the standard in 2010 with 4,143 air yards before his second edition followed with 3,433 yards in 2011, thus giving him the top three single-season passing seasons in the Pirate record books ... True to form, he's gotten off to a fast start in 2013 with a school-record 447 air yards against Old Dominion.

Shane Carden - Encore Off To Good Start
Although initially passed over for the starting quarterback position to open the 2012 season, junior Shane Carden took over the job prior to ECU's third game and responded with 3,116 aerial yards - the Pirates' third-highest single-season passing total in school history:

  • Has accounted for 36 of ECU's 51 offensive TDs as the Pirates' top quarterback (1-1/SC, 2-2/USM, 3-4/UTEP, 2-2/UCF, 5-5/MEM, 2-5/UAB, 1-4/NAVY, 4-5/UH, 3-4/TLN, 6-9/MAR, 2-4/ULL, 5-6/ODU) ...
  • Has converted 53-of-56 redzone opportunities while under center ...
  • Led all ECU ball-carriers with eight ground TDs in 2012 ...
  • Established an ECU single-game record with 447 passing yards and 46 completions vs. Old Dominion on Aug. 31 and logged the program's second-highest completion percentage (85.2) in a career-high 54 attempts ... Was 29-of-35 for 266 yards in first-half action vs. the Monarchs (15-of-17, 139 yards in the first quarter after starting the contest nine-of-nine) ...
  • Threw for a then-record 439 yards vs. Marshall during the 2012 regular season finale (38-of-47) ...
  • Has matched a single-game school record with five TD passes on two occasions - vs. Memphis (2012) and Old Dominion (2013) ...
  • Posted career-bests in rushing yards (63) vs. UTEP and ground TDs (3) vs. Marshall ...
  • Made first collegiate start at Southern Miss and rallied Pirates to a C-USA win with a strong second half performance (7-of-10, 93 yards) ...
  • Came off the bench to open the second half and directed East Carolina's only two scoring drives against then-No. 9 South Carolina (FG, TD) ...
  • After getting intercepted on first collegiate pass vs. Gamecocks, bounced back to hit 12-of-17 throws, including first career completion - a 14-yarder ...

Dowdy-Ficklen Magic For Carden & Hardy
The last two contests at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (Marshall/2012, Old Dominion/2013) have been special for both Shane Carden and Justin Hardy: Carden - is a combined 84-of-101 (83.2 percent) for 886 yards and eight touchdowns ... He's also directed an offensive unit that produced 1,036 yards (518 ypg) of total offense and 117 points (58.5 ppg); Hardy - on the receiving end of 32 passes for 362 yards.

Tay Cooper - 1K Repeat Hopes
For the first time since 2004, East Carolina returns a 1,000-yard rusher in senior Vintavious Cooper ... Cooper was the Pirates' top ground gainer in 11 of the last 12 contests as a junior and became the 12th ECU RB in history to produce a 1,000-yard rushing season when he totaled 1,049 a year ago - a first for a Pirate since 2009 ... He got off to a slow start in the opener against ODU however, picking up just 38 yards in 12 carries.

Damon Magazu - Among Pick Leaders
Junior free safety Damon Magazu's six career interceptions are the sixth-highest total among all returning FBS defenders ... Oddly, all six of Magazu's picks have come at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (one in 2012/Marshall).

Redzone Rewards
ECU will open the Florida Atlantic contest with an active streak of 42-straight redzone scores (37 TDs, 5 FGs) after converting its last three against Memphis last Oct. 13 and following with a 39-of-39 ledger vs. UAB (6-6), Navy (4-4), Houston (7-7), Tulane (4-4), Marshall (7-7), UL-Lafayette (5-5) and Old Dominion (6-6) in the `13 season opener ... The Pirates were 50-of-54 overall (92.6%) in 2012, ranking 3rd among all FBS programs, and currently stand first nationally in 2013 with a perfect 100.0 percent clip.

C-USA Offensive Prowess
After generating only 228 total yards in its Conference USA opener at Southern Miss last September, East Carolina found its offensive throttle in its last seven league games ... The Pirates racked up a collective 3,298 vs. UTEP (475), UCF (362), Memphis (369), UAB (season-high 600), Houston (550), Tulane (387) and Marshall (555) - an average of 471.1 yards per contest.