Nov. 14, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - It's Senior Day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium as East Carolina plays its final regular season home game of the 2013 campaign, welcoming UAB to Greenville for a 2:00 p.m. (EST) Conference USA matchup Saturday.
The Pirates, who have won five of their last six games, will try to make it four in a row for the first time since 2009 after booking a 58-24 win against Tulsa last week. In addition, ECU will attempt to move their record to 8-2 for the first time since 1999 and extend their Conference USA home winning streak to nine consecutive contests.
East Carolina Records and Streaks
- Qualified for nine bowl appearances since 2000 (seven of the last eight years) ...
- Has won 15 of the last 17 games (and 43 of 50) when scoring 30 or more points ...
- Has lost 12-straight games when scoring 20 or less points ...
- Has won 25 of the last 26 games when converting third downs at 50% or higher ...
- Has won 10 of the last 11 games when forcing two or more turnovers ...
- Has won 10 of the last 11 (and 26 of the last 35) Conference USA games ...
- Has won eight-straight, 20 of the last 22 (and 25 of 29) C-USA home games ...
- Has won seven-straight (and 21 of the last 25) C-USA East Division games ...
- Has won 15 of the last 16 C-USA East Division home games ...
East Carolina leads 8-4 ... The Pirates have won six straight and seven of the last eight meetings after UAB enjoyed a run of three consecutive victories beginning in 1999 ... The Pirates have taken five of six in Greenville, but are just 3-3 in six visits to Birmingham.
Pirate Career Numbers Against The Blazers
A total of two (2) East Carolina offensive skill players, eight defenders and one special teams performer have experienced action in at least two battles against UAB during their career:
ILB Desi Brown - 2 games, 2 tackles ...
SS Michael Dobson - 3 games, 9-31 (1 TD) rushing as a RB, 3-55 kickoff returns ...
OLB Maurice Falls - 2 games, 1 tackle ...
ILB Jeremy Grove - 2 games, 19 tackles (15 in 2011 currently serves as career-high) ...
IR Justin Hardy - 2 games, 13-222 (1 TD) receiving, 2-4 punt returns ...
ILB Ty Holmes - 3 games, 4 tackles ...
OLB Derrell Johnson - 3 games, 10 tackles, 4.0 TFLs, 2.0 sacks, 1 forced fumble ...
FS Damon Magazu - 3 games, 11 tackles, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 1 pass breakup ...
DE Lee Pegues - 3 games, 5 tackles, 2.5 TFLs ...
P Trent Tignor - 3 games, 2-43.5 average ...
OR Reese Wiggins - 2 games, 3-36 receiving
Against Conference USA Opponents
Since playing its first season in Conference USA (1997), East Carolina has produced an all-time 77-49 (.611) league record ... Overall, the Pirates have won 10 of the last 11, 26 of the last 35 and 35 of the last 47 C-USA games.
Battling Within The East Division - 4-0 In 2013
The Pirates are 33-11 (.750) against Conference USA East Division opponents since the league implemented divisional play in 2005 ... ECU is 18-4 at home and 15-7 on the road in games against Marshall, Southern Miss, UAB, Florida Atlantic and Middle Tennessee (and current AAC members UCF and Memphis) ... Before taking four of five (win at USM, loss at UCF, wins vs. MEM, UAB and MAR) in 2012, the Pirates were 3-2 in 2011, 4-1 in 2010, 5-0 in 2009, 4-1 in 2008, 3-2 in 2007, 4-1 in 2006 and 2-3 in 2005 ... In all, East Carolina will enter the UAB clash having won seven straight and 21 of its last 25 games against East Division members.
At Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium - 4-1 In 2013
East Carolina's all-time record at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is 171-86-1 (.665) ... 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) ... The win against Tulsa last Saturday guaranteed East Carolina 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 featured a similar status in this year ... Overall (123 programs), ECU currently ranks 55th nationally in average attendance and 62nd in capacity percentage (88.52).
Back To The Future
ECU will begin competition in the American Athletic Conference next fall and should contend for top attendance honors there as well ... Excluding Louisville (54,190) and Rutgers (49,466), which are both leaving the league after this season, UCF's mark of 41,327 currently leads the AAC.
League, Non-League Statistical Comparisons
In its six C-USA contests this year, East Carolina has averaged 39.2 points, 106.0 rushing yards, 347.3 passing yards and 453.3 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 19.5 points, 110.0 rushing yards, 188.2 passing yards and 298.2 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 ... 202 And Counting
ECU will enter the UAB game with an active streak of 202 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 202-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 4,087-yard campaign in 2013 so far after recording 3,065 air yards (340.6 ypg) through its first nine games.
Living A Pirate's Life
The Pirates have recorded a takeaway in 11-straight (and 26 of the last 29) games ... Additionally, East Carolina has created two or more turnovers in 16 of the last 28 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, one at FIU and a season-high four vs. Tulsa ... ECU has won 19 of 25 games when it forces two or more turnovers in the McNeill era.
Earning Back Some Respect
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 nine games, including a top rank in both rush defense and total defense ... In fact, ECU has surrendered only a combined 870 ground yards so far this year - the fewest allowed in the same season-opening span in the modern era (since 1965):
() denotes C-USA statistical rank
Slowing The Rush
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 nine contests this year (90 vs. ODU, 53 vs. VT, 67 vs. UNC, 89 vs. MTSU, 85 vs. TLN, 73 vs. FIU) ... Lastly, ECU has given up only one run over 30 yards this season.
Still Among The Nation's Top Run Stoppers
Although it allowed a season-high 188 yards to Tulsa last Saturday, ECU still ranks among top run-stopping defensive units nationally:
*third-fewest nationally (Ohio State tops FBS with only three)
Patrolling The Skies Too
While East Carolina's success slowing the run has been the source of much attention, the Pirates' air defense has quietly started to garner some discussion as well ... After giving up an average of 279.0 passing yards and 13 TDs per game in its first six contests, ECU has alllowed only 160.3 yards and three TDs in its last three outings - a 120 yards-per-game improvement.
Plenty Of Purple Pass Pressure
The Pirates have netted 30 sacks (-195 yards) in their first nine games, which currently ranks fourth nationally ... OLB Montese Overton, who has netted four in his last two games, headlines a list of 11 ECU defenders who have recorded at least a half of a QB drop this season ... Overton has tallied a unit-high six sacks and stands 34th at the FBS level.
Special (Team) Returns
East Carolina's kickoff return unit has enjoyed success so far during the 2013 season, currently standing third at the FBS level after the first nine contests ... The Pirates average 27.1 yards per return - the latter sparked by senior Lance Ray's 27.1 ypr clip, which is 19th nationally this week.
Of East Carolina's 118 offensive possessions this season, only 23 have been "terminated" in three or less plays (punt, turnover, missed field goal on fourth down) - which currently ranks 11th (for fewest) nationally.
An Accurate No. 1 Listing
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 62 of ECU's 88 offensive TDs (70.5 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, 3-5/FIU and 7-7/TLS ...
- Has converted 90-of-99 redzone opportunities while under center ...
- Has thrown for over 400 yards on three occasions and authored seven contests over 350, 10 over 300 and 15 over 250 yards ...
- 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 seven TD vs. Tulsa (five pass, two rush) and was 34-of-50 for 384 yards through the air ... Accounted for six scores at North Carolina (three pass, career-high matching three runs) ...
- 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 (3rd/69.4), completions per game (4th/24.3), pass attempts per game (7th/35.0), total offense plays per game (8th/41.6), pass yards per game (9th/264.7), total offense per game (16th/269.9), pass efficiency rating (20th/148.6) and TDs responsible for (29th/62) ...
- Led all ECU ball-carriers with eight ground TDs in 2012 and already is one shy of that total in 2013 with seven ...
- Has matched a single-game school record with five TD passes on three occasions - vs. Memphis (2012), Old Dominion (2013) and Tulsa (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 9.1 passes per contest ... His 10-grab-yard effort against Tulsa last week was his eighth career double-digit catch total, while his 136-yard outing at FIU was the ninth of his career in triple-digits ... Among all active NCAA players, Hardy ranks 2nd in career receptions per game (7.3), 5th in receptions (234), 5th in receiving yards per game (86.3) and 14th in receiving yards (2,763); his school-record 17 catches vs. Tulane (Oct. 12) is the second-highest reception total in 2013 and he is just one of 10 players nationally to have reached the 1,000-yard mark so far this year.
Cooper: Backfield Double-Threat
Senior Vintavious Cooper, who is 372 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 fifth nationally with 34 grabs so far.
We'll Take The Ball First
East Carolina has received the opening kickoff in 20-straight games - the longest current streak nationally (14/UCF, 11/Illinois stand second and third).
On This Day In Pirates' History (6-4-1)
Nov. 16, 1934: East Carolina 0, William & Mary 0
Nov. 16, 1935: East Carolina 10, William & Mary 6
Nov. 16, 1940: High Point 6, East Carolina 0
Nov. 16, 1946: Western Carolina 13, East Carolina 7
Nov. 16, 1957: East Carolina 6, Presbyterian 0
Nov. 16, 1968: East Carolina 49, Marshall 20
Nov. 16, 1974: East Carolina 31, William & Mary 10
Nov. 16, 1985: Tulsa 21, East Carolina 20
Nov. 16, 1991: East Carolina 24, Virginia Tech 17
Nov. 16, 1996: East Carolina 55, Ohio 45
Nov. 16, 2002: UAB 36, East Carolina 29