Nov. 19, 2013
Greenville, N.C. - During a recent vote this summer celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, members of the Pirate Nation picked their Top-15 Memorable Games in school history. Below is a complete list of the Most Memorable Games ...
1. 2008 vs. No. 8 West Virginia - W, 24-3 l Highlights
Senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney completed 22-of-28 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown while the Pirate defense smothered the Mountaineer passing attack to highlight East Carolina's 24-3 non-conference victory over No. 8 West Virginia at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... The triumph was ECU's first-ever against an opponent ranked among the top eight and also marked the Pirates' third-straight over a ranked team dating back to the `07 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl win against No. 22 Boise State ... In all, the East Carolina defense surrendered just 72 passing yards to Heisman Trophy candidate Pat White and held the Mountaineers to their lowest scoring total since a 41-3 loss to Miami in 2001 ... Sophomore running back Jonathan Williams complemented Pinkney's aerial accuracy with 69 rushing yards, which also included a pair of short scoring runs ... ECU used Williams' five-yarder to cap an 11-play, 80-yard scoring drive on its opening possession to give the Pirates an early 7-0 lead ... After the two teams traded field goals midway through the second quarter, Van Eskridge forced a Mountaineer fumble at the WVU 35-yard line which Pinkney cashed in with a 13-yard fade toss to Alex Taylor to establish a 17-3 Pirate cushion with 47 seconds remaining before intermission ... Similar to the first drive of the contest, East Carolina used 6:18 on the clock to put together an 86-yard, 12-play drive to open the second half and extend the advantage to 24-3 on a Williams one-yard TD plunge with 6:05 left in the third quarter ... The ECU defense put the clamps on the Mountaineers in the final 30 minutes, holding WVU to just 112 total yards (65 rushing, 47 passing) ... The Pirates enjoyed an 11:22 edge in possession time, held West Virginia to just a three-of-12 conversion rate on third down, forced two turnovers and logged six tackles for lost yardage.
2. 2010 vs. NC State - W, 33-27 (OT) l Highlights
Junior quarterback Dominique Davis' second effort on a one-yard keeper in the first overtime period proved to be the game-winner as East Carolina recorded a 33-27 non-conference triumph over NC State in front of a record-crowd 50,410 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... True freshman Damon Magazu, who made his first career start at free safety to open the contest, sealed the victory by intercepting a Russell Wilson pass in the endzone on a third-and-12 play on the Wolfpack's overtime possession ... Davis established career-bests in passes attempted (53) and completed (37) on the way to a 376-yard performance while also accounting for three of the Pirates' four scores ... Davis quickly got ECU off to a 21-0 first-quarter lead by completing his first 14 throws for 109 yards, two of which were TD strikes to Lance Lewis and Justin Jones, respectively ... N.C. State bounced back to score on three of its next four possessions to pull to within three, 24-21, at halftime ... After a scoreless third period, the Wolfpack used a pair of Josh Czajkowski field goals in the fourth quarter to take their first lead of the game, 27-24, with 2:59 remaining ... However, ECU responded with a six-play, 43-yard drive to set up Mike Barbour's 31-yard field goal to force overtime.
3. 1991 vs. No. 23 Pittsburgh - W, 24-23 l Highlights
Trailing 23-16 with 3:32 left in the game, Jeff Blake drove East Carolina 80 yards on 10 plays and went in from the two-yard line to close the game to 23-22 ... Blake then ran in for the two-point conversion, giving the Pirates a 24-23 win in front of a Ficklen Stadium-record 36,000 fans ... ECU has led throughout the first three periods ... Blake hit Hunter Gallimore with a five-yard TD pass to put ECU up 6-0 ... After a 23-yard Don Silvestri field goal, Cedric Van Buren put ECU ahead 13-3 with a seven yard TD run ... Pitt came back to tie the score in the third quarter on a two-yard run by Jermaine Williams ... Williams scored again on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the Panthers ahead, 20-16 ... Pitt had a chance to put the game out of reach late, but on a third-and-one at the ECU 15, Robert Jones stuffed Tim Colicchio for a one-yard loss and the Panthers had to settle for a 35-yard field goal.
4. 2007 vs. North Carolina - W, 34-31 l Highlights
Junior quarterback Patrick Pinkney threw for a personal- best 406 yards and three touchdowns in his first collegiate start while Ben Hartman bounced back from three earlier misses to drill a game winning 39-yard field goal on the contest's last play to lift East Carolina to a 34-31 non-conference win over North Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... Pinkney's performance, which ranked as the second-highest single-game passing total in school history, helped the Pirates overcome a 10 point second quarter deficit in front of the 43,387 fans - the fourth-largest crowd in stadium history ... ECU also used a stellar outing from running back Chris Johnson, who accounted for three touchdowns and racked up a career-best 136 receiving yards on five catches ... Hartman, who had missed from 30, 32 and 37 yards out earlier in the game, connected on the deciding three-pointer to cap a quick five-play, 31-yard drive that followed a muffed hold on a Tar Heel field goal attempt from 52 yards out with 0:49 remaining ... Trailing 17-7 late in the first half, Pinkney helped the Pirates roll off 10 points in a span of 1:26, first connecting with Davon Drew on a 15-yard scoring strike ... After Hartman converted a 33-yarder to knot the score at the half, Pinkney found Johnson on a 24-yarder to give ECU a 24-17 lead midway through the third quarter.
5. 2009 vs. No 18 Houston (C-USA Championship Game) - W, 38-32 l Highlights
Senior Van Eskridge's pair of fourth-quarter interceptions, including a game-saver in the Pirate endzone with only 42 seconds remaining, helped East Carolina stave off a Houston comeback attempt and capture its second-straight Conference USA championship in as many tries ... The Pirates survived a 56-of-75, 527-yard, five touchdown passing effort by Cougar quarterback Case Keenum by picking off three throws, two in their own endzone ... On the other side of the ball, ECU used 262 air yards from Patrick Pinkney and a 151-yard team rushing day, which included a pair of ground scores each from Dominique Lindsay and Giavanni Ruffin ... In all, the Pirates forced four turnovers and cashed the fi rst three miscues into 17 points ... Eskridge added a 30-yard return on his first interception to the UH seven-yard line to set up a Lindsay scoring run that pushed the ECU lead to 31-19 with 13:27 to play ... The two teams traded scores during the next 10 minutes before another Keenum TD strike drew the Cougars to within six with 3:24 left ... After stuffing the Pirates on a fourth-down try inside UH territory, Keenum rallied Houston down to the ECU 34 before cornerback Travis Simmons tipped the ball to Eskridge to end the threat.
6. 1999 vs. NC State - W, 23-6 l Highlights
East Carolina sophomore QB David Garrard scored three touchdowns as the Pirates closed their regular season with an historic victory over instate rival NC State, 23-6, to clinch a berth in the Mobile Alabama Bowl ... A record Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium crowd of 50,092 watched ECU register a memorable victory Saturday as the Wolfpack made its first-ever appearance in Greenville ... The Pirates used a familiar big play which had become a frequent weapon during the season, blocking two NC State field goals and one PAT ... For ECU, the blocked field goals were the sixth and seventh of the season ... NC State took a 6-0 first quarter lead when QB Jamie Barnette capped an 80-yard drive with a one-yard sneak ... The drive came after ECU had driven to the State one-yard line before Garrard fumbled into the endzone, giving the Pack possession at its own 20 ... In the second quarter, Garrard scored on two TD runs, coming from two and 14 yards out ... The latter was set up by an interception by OLB John Williamson at the State 46-yard line ... Garrard finished the first half a perfect seven-of-seven passing for 100 yards ... After stopping ECU on the Pirates' first possession of the second half, NC State drove from its 20 to the ECU three-yard line ... Unable to punch it in, the Wolfpack tried to salvage the drive with a field goal, but Kent Passingham's 20-yard attempt was blocked by East Carolina DT Devonne Claybrooks ... ECU halted another NC State threat with 10:32 to play as LB Jeff Kerr blocked Passingham's 21-yard attempt ... Andrew Bayes then connected on a 34-yard field goal for a 17-6 lead with 7:26 remaining ... On NC State's next drive, Barnette threw four-straight incompletions to give ECU possession at its own 44 ... Garrard sealed the victory with a 46-yard touchdown run ... Garrard finished with 101 yards rushing to go with 156 through the air, becoming the first ECU player to run and throw for more than 100 yards in a single game since Jeff Blake achieved the feat vs. Cincinnati on Oct. 20, 1990.
7. 2010 vs. Tulsa - W, 51-49 l Highlights
Quarterback Dominique Davis threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Justin Jones as time expired to give East Carolina a wild 51-49 Conference USA win against Tulsa in head coach Ruffin McNeill's debut ... The two teams combined for 100 points and 1,117 yards of offense during the game, which also featured 12 lead changes (seven in the fourth quarter) and TDs on the last 10 straight possessions ... It appeared the Golden Hurricane were in the driver's seat after Charles Clay's three-yard TD reception with 1:22 left gave Tulsa a 49-45 lead, but Jones capped a nine play, 66-yard drive with his Hail Mary catch ... Davis, who also made his ECU debut, completed 27 of-46 passes for 383 yards and five touchdowns, while also adding a two-yard scoring plunge to open a 27-point fourth quarter ... Lance Lewis and Dwayne Harris, who became the school's career reception yards leader during the game, each caught a pair of scores.
8. 2012 vs. Marshall - W, 65-59 (2OT) l Highlights
Sophomore quarterback Shane Carden accounted for six of East Carolina's nine touchdowns and passed for a then school single-game record 439 yards to lift the Pirates to a wild 65-59 double- overtime Conference USA victory over Marshall ... ECU scored on five of its first six possessions to build a 35-14 lead midway through the second quarter before the Herd stormed back to eventually pull ahead 52-45 with only 1:55 remaining ... With only one timeout, Carden engineered a 76-yard drive, which included a 4th-and-10 conversion, to even the contest on a six-yard scoring strike to Danny Webster with 0:04 showing ... Both teams scored in the first OT period before ECU recovered a Marshall fumble and answered with a TD.
9. 1991 vs. South Carolina - W, 31-20 l Highlights
East Carolina broke open a close game in the fourth quarter and picked up its first win over South Carolina ... The Gamecocks got on the scoreboard first when Eddie Miller ran in from the four-yard line ... After Anthony Brenner put ECU on the board with a 35-yard field goal, Jeff Blake hit Clayton Driver with a 48-yard TD pass with 1:16 left in the first half, putting the Pirates ahead, 10-7 ... The two teams traded touchdowns before Blake hit Hunter Gallimore with a 25-yard TD strike to put ECU ahead, 24-14 ... USC's Bobby Fuller connected with Robert Brooks for an eight-yard TD strike before Blake and Gallimore put the game out of reach when they connected on a 71-yard scoring play ... The win was the third-straight for the Pirates, marking the first time since 1989 that ECU had accomplished that feat ... It also marked the first of two times this season that the goal posts in Ficklen Stadium would come down.
10. 2009 vs. Southern Miss - W, 25-20 l Highlights
Senior defensive end C.J. Wilson's blocked extra point attempt and subsequent return for a two-point play with 7:35 to play broke a 20-20 deadlock and lifted East Carolina to a 25-20 Conference USA victory over Southern Miss that also allowed the Pirates to capture their second-straight division title ... The Golden Eagles rallied back from a 17-7 halftime deficit and tied the contest when Leroy Banks capped a seven-play, 62-yard drive with a three-yard scoring reception from running back Damion Fletcher ... On the ensuing PAT, Wilson batted down Daniel Hrapmann's kick, scooped up the ball at the 10-yard line and rambled 90 yards for the deciding points ... Ben Hartman followed by adding his third field goal of the day, a 47-yarder with 4:37 remaining, to secure the triumph and give ECU its first-ever 7-1 league mark ... Dominique Lindsay rushed for a game-high 98 yards while Patrick Pinkney completed 25-of-41 passes for 269 yards to lead the Pirates' offensive attack ... After allowing 186 yards of offense in the opening quarter but only trailing 7-3, East Carolina's defense buckled down in the second period - allowing only 31 yards while answering with ground scores from wide receiver Dwayne Harris (34) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (one) to push its intermission cushion to 10 points ... USM used a 41-yard scoring run by Tory Harrison late in the third quarter and Banks' TD catch around Hartman's second three-pointer to set the stage for Wilson's heroics.
11. 1995 vs. West Virginia - W, 23-20 l Highlights
Chad Holcomb's 27-yard field goal with 2:12 left in the game lifted East Carolina to a 23-20 victory over West Virginia in front of a near-capacity crowd at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... The Pirates had never beaten the Mountaineers in eight previous meetings ... Early in the contest, it appeared as if the Pirates might embarrass the Mountaineers, quickly building a 20-3 lead ... After West Virginia settled for a Baumann 33-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, ECU quickly answered with a 67-yard touchdown pass from Marcus Crandell to Larry Shannon, who beat the man-on-man coverage for the score ... On its next possession after the WVU drive stalled, ECU looked to increase its lead and did so when Crandell scored on a 10-yard keeper to cap off a six-play, 35-yard drive ... Early in the second quarter, Crandell found Shannon again for a nine-yard touchdown pass to make the score 20-3 ... However, West Virginia took the momentum into the locker room after turning a Jerris McPhail fumble on the ECU 11-yard line into six points just before the half .. In the second half, the Mountaineers all but shut down the ECU offensive attack, forcing four Matt Levine punts, two interceptions, and a safety ... Before the Pirates knew it, West Virginia had tied the ball game at 20-all with 11:38 left to play ... The Pirate defense would come through late in the game when linebacker Marvin Burke forced Kantroy Barber to fumble the ball as West Virginia was driving for the winning score ... Crandell led the hurry-up-offense down the field and helped put the Pirates in field goal position ... On fourth-and-goal from the West Virginia 10-yard line, Holcomb knocked in his game-winning 27-yarder.
12. 2002 vs. No. 22 TCU - W, 31-28 l Highlights
With the offense struggling all day, it was up to East Carolina's defense to challenge No. 22 TCU ... Travis Heath made the defining play, returning a fumble 81 yards for a touchdown as the Pirates rallied from an 11-point deficit for a 31-28 upset victory against the Horned Frogs on Saturday, Nov. 23 ... Although ECU's defense gave up 445 yards, it forced seven turnovers, four on interceptions ... The Pirates had five turnovers, but captured their fourth game in which their opponent had more giveaways ... ECU had a change to tie it, but Nick Browne's 40-yard field goal attempt with 25 seconds to play went wide left ... The Pirate broke the Horned Frogs' eight-game winning streak and further scrambled the Conference USA title race with the victory, their first over a ranked team since beating Miami (Fla.) in 1999 ... TCU had hoped to clinch a share of the league title and secure a berth in one of the conference's five bowl tie-in games, but ECU had other plans ... Lonta Hobbs ran for 158 yards and two touchdowns, and he also scored on a three-yard pass from Sean Stilley in the third quarter to give TCU a 28-17 lead ... But the Pirates crept back behind field goals by Kevin Miller from 44 and 32 yards to make it 28-23 with 11:06 to play ... TCU could not hold the lead ... On second-and-six from the East Carolina 19, Ricky madison tried to outrun Heath to the left boundary ... Instead, Heath tied him up, took the football away and ran 81 yards fro the game-winning score ... Paul Troth three to Art Brown for the two-point conversion and a three-point lead ... The Pirates tried to ice it on a fourth-and-one at the TCU 10, but they failed to convert ... Stilley led TCU down to the ECU 23, but Browne missed the tying field goal.
13. 2000 vs. Syracuse - W, 34-17 l Highlights
East Carolina used a touchdown off a blocked punt and scored on two long pass plays - all in the second quarter - en route to a 34-17 non-conference victory over Syracuse ... The steady rain which fell on Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium did little to sampan the spirits of the 33,026 in attendance ... Both teams converted their opening drives to field goals with kicks by ECU's Kevin Miller and Syracuse's Mike Shafer in the first quarter ... Syracuse tried to build momentum early in the second period, culminating an eight-play, 63-yard drive with a three-yard scoring run by James Mungro ... On Syracuse's next possession, ECU's Travis Heath blocked a punt which was recovered by Terrance Copper in the end zone for a Pirate touchdown ... Four plays after Jerome Steward's interception for ECU, QB David Garrard hit Marcellus Harris for a 46-yard score ... Less than three minutes later, Garrard again connected with Harris, this time for a 65-yard TD ... The second-quarter surge gave the Pirates a 24-10 lead at intermission ... Syracuse took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 73 yards in nine plays ... A three-yard TD run by Dee Brown cut the East Carolina lead to 24-17 ... Later in the quarter, ECU's Miller added to the Pirate lead with a 24-yard field goal ... In the fourth quarter, the Pirates converted a fourth-and-one play with a fake punt ... RB Jamie Wilson took the short snap and burst up the middle for 19 yards and a first down at the DU38 ... After a five-yard penalty on Syracuse, Garrard hit Rashon Burns for a 33-yard TD pass to seal the game ... Garrard led the Pirate attack, completing 8-of-15 passes for 201 yards ... ECU junior RB Leonard Henry led the rushing game with 101 yards on 14 carries.
14. 1970 vs. Marshall - W, 17-14 l Highlights
(Excerpts taken from Sports Writer Mike Brown, Herald-Advertiser, 1970) East Carolina place kicker Tony Guzzo drilled a 24-yard field goal with 12:27 left in the fourth quarter and that proved to be the difference as the Pirates defeated Marshall 17-14 before a turnout of 8,711 fans at Ficklen Stadium ... With 30 seconds remaining in the game, Marshall quarterback Ted Shoebridge was called for intentional grounding, a call which left the Thundering Herd and its small group of fans puzzled ... Shoebridge, who didn't get into the game until the second half, had driven the Herd 63 yards in less than a minute and was knocking on the door when the call came ... On a third and 10 at the ECU 25, Shoebridge faded to pass and was collared by the Pirates Jim Gudger at the ECU 44 ... Shoebridge got off the pass but was called for grounding the ball which carried a five-yard penalty from the sport of the call ... The pass was intended for halfback Art Harris who fielded it on the bounce ... With any hopes of a game-tying field goal by Marcelo Lajterman now snuffed out, Shoebridge threw a futile fourth-down pass deep down field and it fell incomplete, giving the Pirates the football with only 11 second left ... ECU, which didn't throw a single pass in the second half, grounded out 302 yards rushing with 178 of it coming in the second half ... Lee Strayhorn picked up 142 yards on 28 carries and Billy Wallace added 132 on 27 ... The Pirates got excellent field position in the second period when Mike Mills covered Joe Hood's fumble ... John Casazza scored his first touchdown of the season when he rolled around right end with 12:04 left in the half ... Marshall forged a 7-7 halftime tie on an electrifying 81-yard interception return by Stu Cottrell, second longest in school history, with 1:19 left in the half ... East Carolina, following a 45-yard field goal attempt by Lajterman which fell short, drove from its own 20 to the Marshall 22 where it had a first down ... Casazza, who had completed four straight passes on the drive, attempted to pass to the right sideline ... MU defensive end Dave Griffith batted the ball right back into the startled Casazza's hands and he instinctively threw the ball again ... Cottrell picked the ball up in the flat and zipped down the sidelines ... Hood fumbled on the ECU 48 with Chuck Zadnik falling on the football, setting up ECU's second TD ... The Pirates, aided by a face-masking call on Larry Sanders, scored in seven plays with Wallace going in from the one ... After an exchange of punts, Shoebridge moved the Herd 76 yards in only seven plays, hitting Repasy for the score with six minutes left in the third period, tying it at 14-14 ... Celebration of Guzzo's game-winning field goal quickly turned into sadness as news reached Greenville that a tragic plane crash had claimed the lives of 75 people, including the entire Thundering Herd travel party, on approach to Huntington Tri-State Airport.
15. 1963 vs. Wake Forest - W, 20-10 l Highlights
(Excerpts taken from Sports Editor Charles Vaughn, The Daily Reflector, 1963)
Behind the running of fullback Tom Michel and tailbacks Buddy Bovender and Bill Cline, the Pirates came from behind twice secure a 20-10 victory over the Deacons ... Trailing 3-0 early in the contest, East Carolina used a 15-yard punt return from Bovender to start its drive on the Wake 39-yard line ... But a Richard Hunnicutt fumble on a passing play at the Wake eight-yard line stifled the Pirates drive ... On the ensuing play, Wake returned the favor turning the ball over and Rickey Jarrell recovered on the Deacon 12 ... Michel bulldozed his way over the Wake Forest goal line a few minutes later on a two-yard plunge to give East Carolina its first lead at 6-3 ... Following a failed PAT, Wake then took the kickoff from the Pirates and marched 65 yards in nine plays where Brian Piccolo capped the scoring drive on an option play from four yards out ... The Pirates fought back with another tally of their own to take a two-point lead, 12-10, heading into the half ... Bovender returned the kickoff 78 yards for the go-ahead score and once again the PAT failed ... It took East Carolina just six minutes to produce an additional touchdown in the third quarter ... After receiving the opening half kick, Michel, Cline and Bovender carried the Pirate into the Deacon end zone on 13 plays ... Michel took the kickoff on the 26-yard line and raced back to his own 46 before being tackled ... Lugging the pigskin on the next two plays, Michel moved the ball to the Deacon 43 ... Behind some nifty running on the part of Bovender and two completed passes by Cline, the Pirates scored from six yards out on Michel's run around the right end extending the lead to eight, 18-10 ... Bovender found tight end Johnny Anderson in the end zone for the two-point conversion and the Pirates were on the winning end of the score, 20-10 ... Michel rushed for a game-high 125 yards on 23 carries with three ground scores ... He also completed a pair of passes for 19 yards.