ECU Hosts Tulsa For Homecoming

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UABSPORTS.COM

Nov. 7, 2013

East Carolina Game 9: Tulsa
Date Saturday, Nov. 9
Time 3:45 PM (EST)
Location Greenville, N.C. (Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium)
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - It's Homecoming on the East Carolina University campus as the Pirates host Tulsa in a Conference USA clash at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday beginning at 3:45 p.m.

The meeting against the Golden Hurricane will open a two-game homestand for ECU, which includes a matchup vs. UAB the following week, before it closes out its regular season schedule by visiting NC State and Marshall on Nov. 23 and Nov. 29, respectively. The Pirates will also attempt to move their record to 7-2 for first time since 1999 and post their eighth-straight Homecoming victory when they battle Tulsa on Bagwell Field.

East Carolina Records and Streaks

  • Qualified for nine bowl appearances since 2000 (seven of the last eight years) ...
  • Has won 14 of the last 16 games (and 42 of 49) when scoring 30 or more points ...
  • Has lost 12-straight games when scoring 20 or less points ...
  • Has won 24 of the last 25 games when converting third downs at 50% or higher ...
  • Has won nine of the last 10 games when forcing two or more turnovers ...
  • Has won nine of the last 10 (and 25 of the last 34) Conference USA games ...
  • Has won seven straight, 19 of the last 21 (and 24 of 28) C-USA home games ...
  • Has won three of the last four games against C-USA West Division members ...
  • Has won eight of the last 10 home games against C-USA West Division members ...

The Series
Tulsa and East Carolina have split 10 meetings (5-5) in a series that dates back to 1984 ... Four of the last seven matchups have taken place in Tulsa, including the Pirates' 27-24 triumph in the 2008 Conference USA Championship Game ... ECU has won three of five games in Oklahoma, but have dropped three of five matchups at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Playing The Wild West - Looking To Even Slate In 2013
East Carolina owns a 15-10 regular season mark (9-3/home, 6-7/road) against the "other side" since the league began divisional play in 2005 - winning four of five from Tulane, taking three of four from UTEP and splitting with SMU (four), Tulsa (four), Rice (four) and Houston (four) ... The Pirates were 3-0 in 2012 after defeating the Green Wave, Cougars and Miners, which followed back-to-back 1-2 marks in 2010 and 2011... ECU was 2-1 in 2009 and also took two of three regular season matchups in 2008 (3-0/2007, 1-2/2006, 2-1/2005) ... On the flipside, East Carolina has booked a 33-11 overall mark against foes in its own East Division.

At Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium - 3-1 In 2013
East Carolina's all-time record at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is 170-86-1 (.664) ... 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 5-1 mark in 2012, a 3-3 ledger 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) ... With a win against Tulsa on Saturday, ECU can guarantee its 38th winning season at DFS.

Topping All C-USA And Non-AQ BCS Fans
After leading Conference USA in average attendance for the fifth consecutive season and standing first in non-AQ BCS conference member turnstile counts (does not include independents Notre Dame/80,795 and BYU/60,265) for the second-straight year in 2012, East Carolina has opened the 2013 campaign where it left off a year ago ... Overall (123 programs), ECU currently ranks 53rd nationally in average attendance and 58th in capacity percentage (88.62).

League, Non-League Statistical Comparisons
In its five C-USA contests this year, East Carolina has averaged 35.4 points, 103.0 rushing yards, 340.0 passing yards and 443.0 total yards per game so far ... By comparison, the Pirates have booked 39.0 ppg, 102.3 rypg, 327.0 pypg and 429.3 ypg averages in their three non-conference tilts ... Defensively, ECU has surrendered 18.6 points, 94.4 rushing yards, 190.8 passing yards and 285.2 total yards in its league contests, while giving up 28.0, 70.0, 342.0 and 412.0 averages against non-Conference USA foes.

Shutout-Free ... 201 And Counting
ECU will enter the Tulsa game with an active streak of 201 games of not suffering a shutout - a new school record (17 points at Rice in `06 surpassed the previous mark of 110 set from 1971 to 1981) ... The last time the Pirates were blanked was on Oct. 4, 1997 (56-0 at Syracuse) ... In terms of a national standing, ECU's 201-game run currently ranks ninth (see below) among all active FBS streaks and is the 20th-longest in the all-time annals.

Throwin' It For A Living
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 ... Ruffin 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 ... ECU is currently on pace for a 4,022-yard campaign in 2013 so far after recording 2,681 air yards (335.1 ypg) through its first eight games.

To Pillage And Plunder
The Pirates have recorded a takeaway in 10-straight (and 25 of the last 28) games ... Additionally, East Carolina has created two or more turnovers in 15 of the last 27 contests ... After collecting one in the 2013 opener vs. Old Dominion, ECU nabbed three vs. FAU, one each vs. Virginia Tech and North Carolina before getting two at Middle Tennessee, one at Tulane, a pair more vs. USM and one at FIU ... ECU has won 18 of 24 games when it forces two or more turnovers in the Ruffin McNeill era (7-15 when it doesn't).

Turning The Tide ... Defensively
The arrival of new defensive coordinator Rick Smith has made a visible impact on that side of the ball for the Pirates ... East Carolina stands among C-USA's top three units in three major categories after eight games, including a top rank in both rush defense and total defense ... In fact, ECU has surrendered only a combined 682 ground yards so far this year - the fewest allowed in the same season-opening span in the modern era (since 1965):

Category/Game 2010-12 2013 Improvement
Rushing Defense 185.6 85.3 (1st) 94.3
Total Defense 430.0 332.8 (1st) 97.2
Scoring Defense 36.1 22.1 (3rd) 14.0
() denotes C-USA statistical rank

Run Stoppers - Part I
After surrendering the aforementioned combined 185.6 rushing yards per game over the last three campaigns, the Pirates have addressed the matter by allowing less than 100 ground yards in six of their first eight contests this year (90 vs. ODU, 53 vs. VT, 67 vs. UNC, 89 vs. MTSU, 85 vs. TLN, 73 vs. FIU) ... In addition, ECU given up only one run over 20 yards in 262 total carries this season and is just one of seven FBS programs that has not allowed an opponent 100-yard rusher so far (Memphis, Michigan State, Ohio State, Syracuse, Texas State and Wisconsin are the other six).

Run Stoppers - Part II
A closer look at the top five run-stopping defensive units nationally:

No. School Games Carries Yards TD RYPG
1. Michigan State 9 241 391 4 43.3
2. Louisville 8 242 644 4 80.5
3. East Carolina 8 262 682 *4 85.3
4. Ohio State 9 286 794 3 88.2
5. Wisconsin 8 251 728 7 91.0
*second-fewest nationally (Alabama and Ohio State top FBS with only three)

Bringing The Purple Heat
The Pirates have netted 29 sacks (-182 yards) in their first eight games, which currently ranks first nationally ... DE Terrell Stanley and OLB Montese Overton headline a list of 11 ECU defenders who have recorded at least a half of a quarterback drop this season ... Stanley and Overton have each tallied a unit-high five sacks and both stand 47th at the FBS level.

Return Game Gains
East Carolina's kickoff return unit has enjoyed success so far during the 2013 season, currently standing second at the FBS level after the first eight contests ... The Pirates average 27.6 yards per return - the latter sparked by senior Lance Ray's 27.7 ypr clip, which is 14th nationally this week.

Extending Drives
Of East Carolina's 104 offensive possessions this season, only 21 have been "terminated" in three or less plays (punt, turnover, missed field goal on fourth down) - which currently ranks 11th (for fewest) nationally.

Hitting Targets
While the Pirates' spread passing attack might be a little short on big single play numbers with "only" a long of 48 yards so far this year, its distribution accuracy (to 19 different receivers) ranks second nationally.

Notebooking Shane Carden
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 55 of ECU's 81 offensive TDs (67.9 percent) as the Pirates' starter - 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, 1-1/VT, 6-7/UNC, 2-3/MTSU, 1-3/TLN, 4-7/USM and 3-5/FIU ...
  • Has converted 84-of-93 redzone opportunities while under center ...
  • Has established an ECU single-game passing record on three occasions - 439 vs. Marshall in 2012, 447 vs. Old Dominion and 480 vs. Tulane in 2013 ... His effort vs. the Monarchs included a 46-of-54 performance - the program's second-highest completion percentage ever (85.2) ...
  • The 480-yard outing vs. the Green Wave currently ranks as the 12th-highest single-game passing total at the FBS level this season, while his 46 completions vs. ODU stands third nationally behind Washington State's Connor Halliday (58/Oregon) and Fresno State's Derek Carr (52/Rutgers) ...
  • Directly responsible for six TDs at North Carolina (3 pass, career-high-matching 3 rush) and was 32-of-47 for 376 yards through the air ...
  • Earned his fourth and fifth career Conference USA Offensive Player-of-the-Week honor for his efforts vs. Monarchs and Tar Heels, and earned an ESPN Helmet Sticker for his performance in Chapel Hill ...
  • Threw for 365 yards on a career-high 57 attempts at MTSU, completing 43 - which stands sixth on the FBS single-game list in 2013 ... His 41 completions vs. Tulane ranks 10th on the same list as well ...
  • Currently ranks among FBS active career leaders in completion percentage (2nd/69.5), completions per game (5th/23.8), total offense plays per game (9th/40.7), pass yards per game (10th/259.3), pass attempts per game (10th/34.3), total offense per game (17th/263.6) and pass efficiency rating (24th/147.5) ...
  • Led all ECU ball-carriers with eight ground TDs in 2012 and already has surpassed half of that total in 2013 with five ...
  • 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 in 2012 (before equaling the latter mark at UNC in `13) ...

A Popular Target
Junior inside receiver Justin Hardy is currently fifth nationally in receptions per game, hauling in 9.0 passes per contest ... His 10-grab-yard effort against USM on Oct. 19 was his seventh career double-digit catch total, while his 136-yard outing at FIU was the ninth of his career in triple-digits.

Cooper: Backfield Double-Threat Senior Vintavious Cooper, who is 439 yards shy of turning in back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing campaigns (a first for an ECU back since Junior Smith did it in 1992-94), has also been a viable pass-catching weapon this fall ... Among RBs, he currently rates sixth nationally with 32 grabs so far.