Oct. 26, 2011
GREENVILLE, N.C. - It's Homecoming on the East Carolina University campus as the Pirates host Tulane in a Conference USA clash at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday beginning at 3:30 p.m. ECU, playing its first home game in nearly a month, will try to continue its momentum after a 38-35 non-league triumph against Navy last week.
The Pirates have tallied victories in 11 of their last 12 C-USA contests at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, including a 28-23 decision over UAB earlier this season. Saturday, East Carolina will attempt to push its all-time home mark to 7-0 against the Green Wave and move to 3-1 in league play for the fourth time in the last five campaigns.
The Pirates Against The Green Wave
East Carolina leads the all-time series with Tulane 8-2. The Pirates have won three straight and seven of the last eight meetings. ECU has never lost to the Green Wave in Greenville (6-0) while the two teams have split four battles in New Orleans. During the six previous contests in Greenville, the Pirates have outscored Tulane 213-109.
The Last Meeting
Sept. 13, 2008
New Orleans, La.
Pirates Rally Past Green Wave, 28-24
After vaulting into the rankings with two upsets, East Carolina avoided being on the receiving end of a surprising loss. Patrick Pinkney threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jamar Bryant with 1:41 left in the fourth quarter, and the No. 14 Pirates rallied for a 28-24 victory against Tulane on Saturday.
The Last Meeting
No. 14 East Carolina 28, Tulane 24 | Sept. 13, 2008 @Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans, La.
Senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney capped a game-winning nine-play, 80-yard scoring drive with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jamar Bryant with 1:41 remaining to rally No. 14 East Carolina to a 28-24 Conference USA road win over Tulane ... Trailing 24-21 with the Green Wave in possession of the ball at the ECU 36-yard line with 6:39 to play following a fumble recovery, the Pirate defense stiffened and forced Tulane to punt after three plays ... In addition to a pair of quarterback draws that picked up 24 yards, Pinkney connected with freshman Darryl Freeney on a 27-yarder and sophomore Dwayne Harris on a 13-yard toss to set up Bryant's game-winner, which came on a second-and-15 call ... The Pirates simply survived their first test as a ranked team, outlasting a Green Wave squad which forced four turnovers and held ECU to just 56 rushing yards ... The two teams traded touchdowns and momentum during the afternoon until Tulane took its first lead of the game on Ross Thevenot's 28-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter ... For the second time of the season, East Carolina cashed in a blocked kick as Quentin Cotton scooped up C.J. Wilson's block of a Green Wave field goal try and rambled 44 yards into the endzone for an early 7-0 lead ... Tulane held ECU to only 76 total yards in the opening 30 minutes and produced just 10 points off four turnovers which all came inside the Pirate 36-yard line ... Pinkney, who was five-of-10 passing for 57 yards in the first half, used 11-straight completions to finish the contest with a 22-of-32 success rate, 260 yards and two TDs - the other coming on a 51-yard strike to Norman Whitley.
The Last Meeting In Greenville
Nov. 24, 2007
Pirates Handle Green Wave, 35-12
Chris Johnson ran for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass as East Carolina beat Tulane 35-12 in a Conference USA game Saturday. Johnson, who scored on runs of five and seven yards, finished with 155 yards on 27 carries. He also caught four passes for 85 yards, including a 33-yard touchdown pass.
The Last Meeting In Greenville
East Carolina 35, Tulane 12 | Nov. 24, 2007 @Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, N.C.
Senior Chris Johnson rushed for a game-high 155 yards and two scores and was on the receiving end of one of three Rob Kass touchdown strikes to lead East Carolina past Tulane in Conference USA action ... The win enabled the Pirates to finish the league slate at 6-2, which, at the time, marked the highest win total since ECU officially joined the conference in 1997 ... Ahead by only one early in the second quarter, East Carolina closed the game by outscoring the Green Wave 28-6 ... The Pirate defense also played a pivotal role, limiting Tulane to just 108 ground yards and holding the nation's leading rusher at the time - Matt Forte - to 62 yards under his average of 182 ... After surrendering two first-quarter field goals, ECU held the Green Wave scoreless on their next nine consecutive possessions before allowing a late fourth-quarter touchdown ... In all, Johnson racked up 240 all-purpose yards and directly accounted for three TDs ... In addition to his ground effort, he hauled in a team-high four passes for 85 yards, which included a 33-yard scoring catch late in the fourth quarter ... Kass completed 12-of-18 passes for 177 yards and also connected with Dominique Lindsay (six yards) and Jamar Bryant (25) on TD tosses ... After Ross Thevenot's 35-yard field goal with 1:20 left trimmed the margin to one, Johnson capped an eight-play, 65-yard drive with a five-yard touchdown run to give ECU an eight-point cushion at the 12:52 mark of the second quarter ... Bryant's grab with 43 seconds left in the opening half established a 21-6 lead.
Pirates, Green Wave, Top 25 ... Clock Rewind
In three meetings between East Carolina and Tulane, the Pirates have entered the contest holding a place in Top 25 polls ... Most recently, ECU was No. 14 in the Associated Press poll prior to the 2008 meeting at the Louisiana Superdome after knocking off No. 17 Virginia Tech (27-22) and No. 8 West Virginia (24-3) to open the campaign ... The 1999 Pirates were No. 20 when they routed the Green Wave 52-7 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium after a No. 17 ECU squad posted a 38-28 victory in the series opener on Nov. 2, 1991 ... All three teams advanced to bowl contests (one win/1991).
Facing The Bayou State
The Pirates have posted a 16-11-1 (.589) all-time record against programs from Louisiana ... ECU is 8-2 against Tulane, 4-6 versus Louisiana-Lafayette (formerly Southwestern Louisiana), 3-2-1 facing Louisiana Tech and 1-1 taking on Louisiana-Monroe (formerly Northeast Louisiana).
Ruffin McNeill vs. Louisiana
Ruffin McNeill has recorded an all-time record of 2-0 when coaching against Louisiana programs ... Both matchups occurred in Lubbock while he was a member of the Texas Tech staff as the Red Raiders blanked Louisiana-Lafayette 26-0 on Sept. 16, 2000 and later defeated FCS member Northwestern State 75-7 on Sept. 29, 2007.
A Tulane-East Carolina Connection
One member of Tulane's football staff has connections to East Carolina's program as Green Wave quarterback coach Rickey Bustle served as the Pirates' secondary or receivers coach from 1980-82. Bustle worked under Pirate head coach Ed Emory for three seasons, serving as defensive secondary coach in 1980 (4-7) and 1981 (5-6) before moving to the wide receiver position in 1982 (7-4). Bustle left the ECU program after the `83 campaign to become the running backs coach with the USFL's Arizona Wranglers. He also served as head coach at Louisiana-Lafayette (2002-10) after a long and successful tenure as Virginia Tech's offensive coordinator for most of the 1990s.
McNeill Against Hutson
Despite a combined 47-plus years coaching at the collegiate level, East Carolina's Ruffin McNeill (26 years) and Tulane's Mark Hutson (21) will face each other on the sidelines for the first time ever during Saturday's contest. The pair share a unique bond as both have served as an interim head coach a combined three times - McNeill (Texas Tech/'09), Hutson (Eastern Illinois/'06 and Tulane/'11).
Many Centers Of Attention
While ECU's offensive line opened the season as one of the youngest nationally, injuries to guard Adhem Elsawi and center Doug Polochak, along with a lack of production, have made things even more challenging. Perhaps most visible (and rare) in the inexperience and instability of East Carolina's offensive line are a combined 20 starts by six different players at the center position over the last one-plus seasons ... A closer look:
||left program 12/10
||left program 12/10
||completed eligibility in 2010
||opening day starter/returning from injury
C-USA: 2-1 Ranks Par For The Course
The Pirates are 2-1 in Conference USA play for the sixth time in the last 10 seasons after they defeated Memphis on Oct. 15 ... ECU was also 2-1 in 2002, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 ... 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.
Jarring The Ball Loose
East Carolina has forced a turnover in 13 of its last 15 games ... In its opener, ECU recovered four South Carolina fumbles - the most since TCU coughed it up five times on Nov. 23, 2002 - before producing three takeaways against the Blazers, two vs. Memphis and one at Navy ... In all, the Pirates have forced two or more turnovers in five of the last eight games and in eight of their last 15 contests (dating back to the N.C. State game last Oct. 16).
In the modern era (1965-2011), ECU is 136-47 (.743) when a Pirate rushes for 100 or more yards ... More recently, East Carolina has won 19 of 22 games (19-3) since 2006 when it has featured a 100-yard rusher, which includes a 2-0 mark in 2011 (169 and 104 by Reggie Bullock vs. UAB and Navy, respectively) ... Sophomore Torrance Hunt came up just two yards (16-98) short during the Pirates' win at Memphis.
Third Down Indicators
The Pirates are 3-0 this season and 15-1 in their last 16 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) ... In its last two games, ECU has moved the chains on 21-of-33 third down plays - a success rate of 63.6 percent ... On the other hand, the Pirate defense has held their last two opponents to a combined six-of-24 (25.0 percent).
First Quarter Slumber
After well-documented second-half struggles in the first two games (56-16 deficit vs. South Carolina and Virginia Tech), East Carolina has gotten out of the gate slowly in the last four contests (North Carolina, Houston, Memphis and Navy) ... The Pirates have been outscored 38-3 in first quarter action against the Tar Heels, Cougars, Tigers and Midshipmen after holding a 21-7 first period advantage in the first three games ... In addition, the latter four opponents also owned a combined 80-30 advantage in the opening half.
Among America's Top Pass Catchers
Senior outside receiver Lance Lewis is the owner of seven 100-yard receiving contests and has produced four single-game double-digit catch totals ... His 21 career touchdowns match Larry Shannon's East Carolina record set from 1994 to 1997 ... Among all active receivers, Lewis ranks third nationally in career catches per game:
||Eric Page (Jr.)
||Ryan Broyles (Sr.)
||Lance Lewis (Sr.)
||Robert Woods (So.)
||Jordan White (Sr.)