Sept. 12, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will play the first of three Atlantic Coast Conference opponents on its 2013 schedule when it welcomes Virginia Tech to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday for a nationally-televised contest beginning at 12 noon. The Pirates will follow by meeting North Carolina (Sept. 28) and NC State (Nov. 23) on the road, marking the first time since 2010 they will meet the Hokies, Tar Heels and Wolfpack in a single season.
The matchup will also mark the end of a three game season-opening homestand for ECU, which will enjoy an off week before traveling to UNC, Middle Tennessee (Oct. 5) and Tulane (Oct. 12).
East Carolina Records and Streaks
- Eight bowl appearances since 2000 (six of the last seven years) ...
- Has won four-straight (and eight of the last nine) home games ...
- Has won 11 of the last 12 games (and 39 of 45) 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 seven of the last eight games when forcing two or more turnovers ...
- Has split its last eight (4-4) home games against ACC members ...
- Has lost 10 of the last 11 (1-10) overall games against ACC members ...
- Has split its last 10 (5-5) home games against AQ BCS opponents ...
Virginia Tech leads 12-5 ... After the Hokies opened the series with a 37-2 win in 1956, the two programs observed a 31-year hiatus before meeting on an annual basis for eight seasons beginning in 1987 ... After ECU won four of the first seven matchups, Virginia Tech rolled off six straight before the Pirates snapped the streak by upsetting the Hokies 27-22 in Charlotte in 2008 ... Virginia Tech has won five of seven in Greenville and seven of nine in Blacksburg.
East Carolina Against The Atlantic Coast Conference
East Carolina has compiled an all-time record of 34-77-1 (.308) against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference ... In addition to a 5-12 mark against Virginia Tech, the Pirates own an 11-16 ledger against NC State, 5-5 vs. Duke, 3-6 vs. Syracuse, 2-1 vs. Virginia, 2-2 vs. Pittsburgh, 2-6 vs. Wake Forest, 2-9 vs. Miami, 2-12-1 vs. North Carolina, 0-7 vs. Florida State and 0-1 vs. Maryland ... The Pirates have dropped 10 of the last 11 (since 2008) after capturing five wins in eight contests the previous three years ... ECU's 33-27 overtime decision against NC State on Oct. 16, 2010 halted a six-game slide, which included earlier 2010 setbacks to Virginia Tech and North Carolina.
Pirate Career Numbers Against The Hokies
Only six East Carolina players (1 skill offense/5 defense) have experienced action in at least two battles against Virginia Tech during their careers ... A closer look: DE Justin Dixon - 2 games, 2 tackles, 1 TLF, 1 sack; SS Michael Dobson - 2 games, 1 tackle (1-11 rushing, 2-2 receiving as a RB before move to defense in `13); ILB Ty Holmes - 2 games, no stats; OLB Derrell Johnson - 2 games, 3 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF; FS Damon Magazu - 2 games, 10 tackles, 1 interception; RB/IWR Zico Pasut - 2 games, no stats.
Back-To Back Challenges
ECU will face automatic-qualifying BCS opponents in successive games for the ninth time since 2005 - 1-2 in 2005 (Duke/WFU/WVU), 1-1 twice in 2006 (WVU/UVA and NCSU/USF), 1-1 in 2007 (VT/UNC), 2-0 in 2008 (VT/WVU), 0-2 in 2009 (WVU/UNC), 0-2 in 2010 (VT/UNC) and 0-2 in 2011 (SC/VT).
Looking For Three Up, Zero Down
East Carolina will be looking for its first 3-0 start since 2008 when it meets Virginia Tech Saturday, however the Hokies were also the ones who spoiled a 2-0 beginning to the Pirates' 2010 season.
The Pirate Nation - 7 Million Strong
East Carolina has always been able to claim plenty of hometown support, even more so when playing at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturdays during the fall - establishing itself as C-USA's attendance leader on an annual basis ... In all, a total of 7,233,548 fans have seen the Pirates in action since 1963, and in the last five-plus years, ECU has averaged 46,177 (1,431,485/31 regular season games).
Reaching Another (Millionstone)
Since the completion of a 7,000-seat expansion project in 2010 that pushed the capacity to 50,000, the Pirates have drawn 962,262 fans and need just 37,738 for the Virginia Tech clash Saturday to reach the one million mark in their "larger" home ... ECU set back-to-back school records in total attendance and season average attendance in 2011, breaking `10 marks (297,987/49,665) with 300,069 and 50,012 figures in 2011.
Bypassing The Redshirt
With true freshmen receivers Davon Grayson (OR) and Isaiah Jones (IR) both experiencing action (and scoring a combined five touchdowns) in their first two games against Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic, 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 combined 649 air yards (324.5 ypg) against Old Dominion and Florida Atlantic.
Redzone Run Halted
ECU had its run of consecutive redzone conversions halted at 47 (41 TDs, 6 FGs) straight by Florida Atlantic last Thursday ... After scoring on its first five trips inside the 20, the Pirates lost a fumble at the Owl 11-yard line to end a streak that began vs. Memphis on Oct. 13, 2012 ... ECU is currently 11-of-12 in 2013 (91.7%) after a 50-of-54 clip (92.6%) a year ago, which stood third among all FBS programs.
Living A Pirate's Life
The Pirates have recorded a takeaway in 30 of its last 35 games ... In all, East Carolina has created two or more turnovers in 13 of the last 22 games, which includes two each against Memphis, Houston and UL Lafayette, three each vs. Appalachian State, Southern Miss and Marshall, and a season-high four vs. UTEP last year ... After collecting just one in the 2013 opener vs. Old Dominion, ECU nabbed three vs. FAU last week ... ECU has won 16 of 22 games when it forces two or more turnovers in the Ruffin McNeill era, but are just 5-13 in contests when it doesn't ... "PICK" HIT: 10 of ECU's last 12 interceptions (2012-2013) have been at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Shane Carden - Encore Off To Good Start
Although initially passed over for the starting 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 38 of ECU's 55 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, 2-4/FAU) ...
- Has converted 58-of-62 redzone opportunities while under center ...
- 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) ...
- Earned his fourth career C-USA Offensive Player-of-the Week honor for his efforts, which also included five TD throws, against ODU ...
- Currently ranks among FBS active career leaders in completions per game (10th/21.0), passing attempts per game (16th/30.8), pass efficiency rating (17th/148.44) and total offense per game (23rd/238.8) ...
- Led all ECU ball-carriers with eight ground TDs in 2012 ...
- 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 three contests at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (Marshall/2012, Old Dominion/2013, Florida Atlantic/2013) have been special for both Shane Carden and Justin Hardy: Carden is a combined 101-of 126 (80.2 percent) for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns ... He's also directed an offensive unit that produced 1,348 yards (449 ypg) of total offense and 148 points (49 ppg); Hardy has been on the receiving end of 36 passes for 398 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 ... After getting off to a slow start in the opener against ODU (38 yards on 12 carries), he bounced back with a 95-yard, one-touchdown effort on 20 attempts vs. Florida Atlantic.
A Sterling Debut
True freshman OR Davon Grayson has enjoyed quite a start to his collegiate career, not only starting his first two contests, but pulling down four touchdowns in his first six receptions (57 total yards) ... After establishing an ECU single-game true rookie record with three scoring grabs vs. ODU, he followed with another TD catch against FAU to currently rank as one of the nation's freshmen (non-kick) scoring leaders.
||Davon Grayson (WR)
||Matt Dayes (RB)
||William Houston (RB)
||Aaron Jones (RB)