ECU Heads To Memphis For C-USA Clash

UABSPORTS.COM Senior Michael Barbour made a career-long 54-yard field goal at Houston last Saturday.
UABSPORTS.COM
Senior Michael Barbour made a career-long 54-yard field goal at Houston last Saturday.
UABSPORTS.COM

Oct. 12, 2011

East Carolina Game 6: Memphis
Date Saturday, October 15
Time 7:00 p.m. ET
Location Memphis, Tenn. (Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium)
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina concludes a brief two-game Conference USA road swing when it faces Memphis at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium Saturday beginning at 7:00 p.m. (EDT). The Pirates will also look to snap a two-game losing streak after 35-20 and 56-3 setbacks to North Carolina and Houston, respectively. On the other hand, ECU will try to make it six straight over the Tigers.

The Pirates complete their 2011 non-conference schedule next week by battling Navy in Annapolis. East Carolina is winless in three non-league meetings this season after falling to automatic BCS qualifying league members South Carolina, Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

The Pirates Against The Cougars
East Carolina leads Memphis 13-6 in the all-time series which dates back to 1990 ... The Pirates, who have won the last five consecutive contests, hold a 6-4 edge in games played in Memphis while winning seven of nine (7-2) battles in Greenville ... During the five-game winning streak, ECU has outscored the Tigers 208-116, or by an average of 18.4 points per contest.

Last Meeting
ECU
49
Memphis
27
September 11, 2010
Greenville, N.C.
Pirates Down Tigers 49-27
East Carolina junior quarterback Dominique Davis accounted for five touchdowns and Jonathan Williams had a career day, collecting personal bests in rushing yards (109), receptions (six) and receiving yards (50) as the Pirates (2-0, 2-0 Conference USA) defeated Memphis (0-2, 0-1) 49-27 Saturday afternoon.

The Last Meeting
East Carolina 49 Memphis 27 | Sept. 11, 2010 @Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, N.C.
East Carolina converted three first-quarter turnovers into 21 points on the way to a 28-3 lead before turning in a 49-27 Conference USA victory over Memphis ... The Pirates benefitted from a fumble recovery and interception, the latter of which was returned 46 yards for a touchdown by safety Derek Blacknall, on the Tigers' first two possessions and scored the next three times they had the ball to claim a 35-10 halftime edge ... ECU quarterback Dominique Davis accounted for five of the six offensive TDs, hitting paydirt on a pair of runs and connecting with Giavanni Ruffin, Dwayne Harris and Michael Bowman on three scoring strikes ... Running back Jonathan Williams posted his second career 100-yard rushing performance, racking up 109 yards on 17 carries - an average of 6.4 yards per attempt - and adding a short touchdown plunge ... The Pirate defense also played a key role by applying plenty of pressure in the Memphis backfield with eight tackles for lost yardage, which included four sacks ... Although Davis found nine receivers during the afternoon for his 28-of-39, 256-yard passing performance, ECU offered a balanced overall attack that featured 36 rushes and 41 passes that collectively netted 425 yards of total offense.

 

 

 

The Last Meeting In Memphis
ECU
38
Memphis
19
October 27, 2009
Memphis, Tenn.
Lindsay Leads ECU Past Memphis, 38-19
Dominique Lindsay ran for 139 yards for the Pirates (5-3, 4-1 Conference USA), who warmed up for a game against No. 14 Virginia Tech by rolling up a season-high 497 yards of total offense.

The Last Meeting In Memphis
East Carolina 38, Memphis 19 | Oct. 27, 2009 @Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
Senior Dominique Lindsay keyed a rushing attack that generated a season-high 275 yards and four touchdowns in East Carolina's 38-19 Conference USA triumph over Memphis ... Lindsay, whose playing status was listed as questionable prior to the game because of an ankle injury, picked up 139 yards on 22 carries ... Junior college transfer Giavanni Ruffin contributed his top effort as a Pirate with 87 yards on 14 carries, one going for 19 yards and a touchdown to give ECU a 28-13 lead late in the third quarter after the Tigers had trimmed the margin to eight four minutes earlier ... Patrick Pinkney, who also completed 14-of-26 passes for 216 yards and a score, tacked on 26 ground yards and a pair of TDs - a three-yarder to open the scoring and a 23-yarder to give the Pirates a 21-3 lead early in the second period ... On the other hand, East Carolina's defense held the Memphis rushing attack to 84 yards and forced four turnovers that were cashed in for 21 points ... After Pinkney's second scoring rush, the Tigers briefly rallied with a Will Hudgens touchdown pass and a Matt Reagan field goal to climb to within 28-13 before the Pirates answered with Ruffin's run and a 31-yard TD reception by Darryl Freeney ... Although it only converted five-of-13 third down opportunities, ECU still maintained possession for 33:13.

 

 

Liberty Bowl Memories
In addition to 10 contests against the Tigers, East Carolina has visited Memphis on four other occasions for participation in the annual Liberty Bowl ... A closer look at those appearances:
1994 St. Jude Liberty Bowl; Illinois 30, East Carolina 0 (Dec. 31, 1994) ... ECU returned to post-season play after a one-year absence, but was no match for Illinois or its ninth-ranked defense ... Illini quarterback Johnny Johnson threw for 250 yards and tied a then Liberty Bowl record with four touchdown passes in winning both the MVP and Offensive MVP trophies.
1995 St. Jude Liberty Bowl; East Carolina 19, Stanford 13 (Dec. 30, 1995) ... ECU made a return trip to the St. Jude Liberty Bowl, but this time the Pirates earned the victory by defeating Stanford on the strength of four Chad Holcomb field goals.
2009 AutoZone Liberty Bowl; Kentucky 25, East Carolina 19 (Jan. 2, 2009) ... Senior defensive end Ventrell Jenkins returned a Pirate fumble 54 yards for a game-winning touchdown with 3:02 remaining to rally Kentucky past ECU ... The score completed a comeback that erased a 16-3 East Carolina halftime lead and a 19-16 deficit in the opening minute of the fourth quarter.
2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl; Arkansas 20, East Carolina 17/OT (Jan. 2, 2010) ... Alex Tejada drilled a game-winning 37-yard field goal in overtime to lift Arkansas to a victory over ECU ... The Razorbacks survived to hang on for the improbable win after tallying just 10 first downs, a 0-of-13 third down conversion rate and a 15:50 time of possession deficit, but benefitted from three missed Pirate field goal attempts in the final 1:03 of regulation play and overtime.

Battling Within The East Division - 1-0 In 2011
The Pirates are 23-8 (.742) against Conference USA East Division opponents since the league implemented division play in 2005 ... ECU is 13-3 at home and 10-5 on the road in games against Marshall, Memphis, Southern Miss, UAB and UCF ... Before finishing 2010 with a 4-1 record (wins over MEM, USM, MAR and UAB, loss at UCF) and taking all five "east" matchups in 2009, the Pirates posted a 4-1 record in `08, a 3-2 slate in `07, a 4-1 mark in `06 and a 2-3 ledger in `05.

C-USA: Looking For Two Up And One Down
The Pirates will try to move to 2-1 in Conference USA play for the sixth time in the last 10 seasons when they meet Memphis Saturday ... ECU was also 2-1 in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 ... On the other hand, East Carolina has opened league play 1-2 on three occasions during the same span (2003, 2004 and 2006) ... The Pirates were 3-0 a year ago after triumphs against Tulsa, Memphis and Southern Miss, and moved to 4-0 (Marshall) before dropping three of their last four to close the year.

First-Time Starter Count Up To 17
Seventeen (17) ECU players have already made their initial career starts during the first five games of the 2011 season ... The numbers surpass last year's figure when a total of 14 made their starting debut at some point throughout the campaign (only eight in 2009) ... So far in 2011, there have been 10 "new" faces on the offensive side of the ball (IWR Danny Webster, LT Jordan Davis, LG Adhem Elsawi, RG Will Simmons, RT Steven Baker, C Hugh Parker, RB Reggie Bullock, RB Michael Dobson, IWR Justin Hardy, IWR/FB Zico Pasut) and seven on defense (DE Lee Pegues, OLB Chris Baker, ILB Daniel Drake, ILB Kyle Tudor, ILB Jeremy Grove, OLB Justin Dixon, CB Leonard Paulk).
2011 Offense (first-time starters) ................................................... 10
note - five linemen, five skill position players
2011 Defense (first-time starters) ..................................................... 7
note - one lineman, five linebackers, one secondary player

Unfriendly Road Scoreboards
While the move to a 4-3 defensive scheme has been a statistical success during the Pirates' three home games this season (a combined 25.0 ppg average allowed to Virginia Tech, UAB and North Carolina), East Carolina's struggles have continued on the road ... In their last four road games, dating back to the end of the 2010 campaign and included the South Carolina and Houston contests in 2011, the Pirates have surrendered 225 points - an average of 56.3 per game ... In fact, ECU has given up 42 or more points in every road game of the Ruffin McNeill era (nine contests).

Looking For Consistency On Offense
After being held to McNeill-era lows in total yards (112), rushing yards (-15) and passing yards (127), by Virginia Tech Sept. 10, East Carolina's offensive unit bounced back against UAB and UNC to rack up a combined 1,032 yards - 778 through the air and 254 on the ground - to temporarily restore the potency of an attack that shattered or at least matched 29 team or individual standards including total touchdowns (62), points scored (478), passing yards (4,143) and passing touchdowns (39) a year ago ... The Pirates then followed by generating a McNeill era-low three points during their loss to Houston which also included a 21-yard rushing total:

Opponent (Result) Points Rush Pass (Comp %) Total Yards
South Carolina (L) 37 85 260 (66.1) 345
Virginia Tech (L) 10 -15 127 (52.6) 112
UAB (W) 28 181 361 (83.3) 542
North Carolina (L) 20 73 417 (70.7) 490
Houston (L) 3 21 263 (59.1) 284

Century Mark Translations
In the modern era (1965-2011), ECU is 135-47 (.742) when a Pirate rushes for 100 or more yards ... More recently, East Carolina has won 18 of 21 games (18-3) since 2006 when it has featured a 100-yard rusher, which includes a 1-0 mark in 2011 (169 by Reggie Bullock vs. UAB) ... ECU has had a 100-yard ground gainer against Memphis in five consecutive contests, dating back to 2006 (106/Chris Johnson in `06, 301/Chris Johnson in `07, 108/Jonathan Williams in `08, 139/Dominique Lindsay in `09 and 109/Jonathan Williams in 2010).

Third Down Indicators
The Pirates are 1-0 this season and 13-1 in their last 14 contests when converting third downs at a rate of 50 percent or higher (49-35 loss at UCF last Oct. 30 was the lone exception when they converted 70.6 percent).

Damage Control 101
On East Carolina's 21 turnovers this season, the defense has buckled down and made stops on 11 occasions - a save percentage of over 50 (52.4) ... Of the school-record seven miscues against UAB in ECU's Conference USA opener, the Pirate "D" allowed just one touchdown..

Finding Targets (In A Career)
Among all active QBs, Dominique Davis is first nationally in career completions per game ... A closer look:

No. Name (class) School Games Completions Completions/Game
1. Dominique Davis (Sr.) East Carolina 184 539 29.9
2. Case Keenum (Sr.) Houston 49 1,288 26.29
3. Corey Robinson (So.) Troy 18 473 26.28
4. Landry Jones (Jr.) Oklahoma 31 808 26.1
5. Nick Foles (Sr.) Arizona 29 747 25.8

Among America's Most Accurate
East Carolina senior Michael Barbour currently ranks second among all active FBS placekickers with an 87.5 percent success rate ... A closer look::

No. Name (class) School Games Field Goals Field Goals Attempted Percentage
1. Derek Dimke (Sr.) Illinois 37 36 41 87.8
2. Michael Barbour (Sr.) East Carolina 18 21 24 87.5
3. Ross Krautman (So.) Syracuse 19 27 31 87.1
4. Matt Hogan (Jr.) Houston 31 31 36 86.1
5. Justin Tucker (Sr.) Texas 44 30 35 85.7

Barbour booted the second-longest field goal in ECU history when he connected from 54 yards out versus Houston last week. The kick was just four yards shy of Jeff Heath's record in 1982.