Nov. 21, 2013
GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will close out its 2013 non-conference schedule by facing NC State at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday beginning at 12:30 p.m. (EST).
The battle against the Wolfpack represents the last of three contests against Atlantic Coast Conference opponents this season for the Pirates, who earlier bounced back from a 15-10 setback to Virginia Tech to down North Carolina 55-31. ECU, winners of six of its last seven games, will try to make it five in a row for the first time since 1999 after booking a 63-14 Conference USA victory against UAB last week.
EAST CAROLINA RECORDS AND STREAKS
- Qualified for nine bowl appearances since 2000 (seven of the last eight years) ...
- Has won 16 of the last 18 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 11 of the last 12 games when forcing two or more turnovers ...
- Has won five of the last six regular season road games ...
- Has won six (of 19) games against ACC opponents since 2006 ...
NC State leads East Carolina 16-11 all-time in a rivalry which dates back to 1970 ... Although the Pirates trail the overall series against the Wolfpack, ECU has had a slight upper hand lately - winning six of the last 10 meetings since 1987 (and eight of the last 14 since `83) ... ECU has taken two of three contests at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, but the Wolfpack are 14-7 in Raleigh ... The Pirates have also won two of three neutral site matchups, including the 1992 Peach Bowl.
ONE OF MANY PIRATE-WOLFPACK CONNECTIONS
Not only did current ECU Director of Athletics Jeff Compher spend 13 years at NC State, including roles as assistant athletics director and assistant to the chancellor, he also hired current Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren while AD at Northern Illinois in 2010 ... In addition to the Huskies' success on the field, the NIU football program's APR rate ranked among the top five nationally.
AGAINST NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS
Since accepting membership in Conference USA, the Pirates have produced the aforementioned a 24-44 (.353) regular season non-league record ... East Carolina can claim its first winning non-conference mark since 1999 (a program-best 5-0 clip) with a win over NC State Saturday.
EAST CAROLINA AGAINST THE ATLANTIC COAST CONFERENCE
East Carolina has compiled an all-time record of 35-78-1 (.311) against current members of the Atlantic Coast Conference ... In addition to an 11-16 mark against NC State, the Pirates own a 5-5 ledger vs. Duke, 5-13 vs. Virginia Tech, 3-6 vs. Syracuse, 3-12-1 vs. North Carolina, 2-1 vs. Virginia, 2-2 vs. Pittsburgh, 2-6 vs. Wake Forest, 2-9 vs. Miami, 0-7 vs. Florida State and 0-1 vs. Maryland ... The Pirates have dropped 11 of the last 13 (since 2008) after capturing five wins in eight contests the previous three years ... ECU's 55-31 victory at UNC earlier this season halted a five-game slide, which included an earlier 2013 setback to Virginia Tech, a pair of losses to the Tar Heels (`11, `12), a defeat to the Hokies (`11) and rout by Maryland in 2010.
NC STATE AGAINST CONFERENCE USA
NC State has posted a 27-17 (.614) all-time mark against current members of Conference USA ... In addition to their 27-game series against East Carolina (16-11), the Wolfpack have also squared off against Southern Miss (5-5), Marshall (3-0), Middle Tennessee (2-0), Louisiana Tech (1-0) and Tulane (0-1) ... NCSU has never faced Florida Atlantic, Florida International, North Texas, Rice, Tulsa, UAB, UTEP or UTSA on the gridiron ... A 40-14 victory over Louisiana Tech in this year's season opener marks the Wolfpack's last meeting against a C-USA member.
ON THE ROAD - 3-1 IN 2013
Since joining C-USA in 1997, East Carolina is 47-63 (.427) when playing away from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... Before defeating North Carolina, Middle Tennessee and FIU, and falling at Tulane to "open" their 2013 road schedule, the Pirates were 3-4 in 2012 with wins against Southern Miss, UAB and Tulane and losses vs. South Carolina, UNC, UCF and UL-Lafayette (New Orleans Bowl) ... In 2011, ECU fell in four of six (2-4) road contests and were 2-5 in 2010, 3-4 in 2009 and 5-4 in 2008 ... The Pirates will try to move their road record to 4-1 when they meet NC State on Saturday, which would represent the program's best "away start" since a similar 4-1 slate in 1999.
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 61st in capacity percentage (87.97).
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 (53,996) and Rutgers (48,034), which are both leaving the league after this season, UCF's mark of 41,327 currently leads the AAC.
NON-LEAGUE STATISTICAL COMPARISONS
In its seven C-USA contests this year, East Carolina has averaged 42.6 points, 130.6 rushing yards, 347.3 passing yards and 477.9 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 18.7 points, 114.9 rushing yards, 191.3 passing yards and 306.1 total yards in its league contests, while giving up 28.0, 70.0, 342.0 and 412.0 averages in games against Old Dominion, Virginia Tech and North Carolina this season.
SHUTOUT-FREE ... 203 AND COUNTING
ECU will enter the NCSU game with an active streak of 203 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 203-game run currently ranks ninth among all active FBS streaks and is the 20th-longest in the all-time annals.
A TOP FOUR LISTING?
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 4,094-yard campaign in 2013 so far after recording 3,412 air yards (341.2 ypg) through its first 10 games.
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 two units in three major categories after 10 games, including a top rank in both rush defense and total defense ... A closer look:
To offer some perspective, ECU ranked 120th nationally in total defense, 119th in scoring defense and 117th in rush defense during Ruffin McNeill's first year (2010).
LIMITING TROOP MOVEMENT
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 10 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.
TO PILLAGE AND PLUNDER
The Pirates have recorded a takeaway in 12-straight (and 27 of the last 30) games ... Additionally, East Carolina has created two or more turnovers in 17 of the last 29 contests ... After collecting one in the 2013 opener vs. ODU, ECU nabbed three vs. FAU, one each vs. VT and UNC before getting two at MTSU, one at Tulane, a pair more vs. USM, one at FIU, a season-high four vs. Tulsa and three vs. UAB ... ECU has won 20 of 26 games when it forces two or more turnovers in the McNeill era.
In addition to notable improvement with the per-game averages, Rick Smith's leadership of the ECU defense - most notably his influence in the secondary - has resulted in a return to national prominence as one of the top interception units on the FBS level ... The Pirates have picked off a pass in nine-straight games and netted five in the last two outings (two for TDs) ... Currently ECU ranks 14th nationally in pass thefts.
DEFENDING THE PASS, PART II
While East Carolina's success slowing the run was the source of much attention recently, the Pirates' pass defense has quietly emerged as a viable discussion topic as well ... After giving up an average of 279.0 yards per game and 13 TDs in its first six contests, ECU has allowed only 172.8 yards and three TDs in its last four outings - a 106.2 yards-per-game improvement.
BRINGING THE PURPLE HEAT
The Pirates have netted 32 sacks (-200 yards) in 10 games this season, which currently ranks fourth nationally ... OLB Montese Overton, who has netted four in his last three games, headlines a list of 13 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 47th at the FBS level.
A RETURN INVESTMENT
East Carolina's kickoff return unit has enjoyed success during the 2013 season, currently standing second at the FBS level after the first 10 contests ... The Pirates average 26.9 yards per return - the latter sparked by senior Lance Ray's 27.1 ypr clip, which is 17th nationally this week:
Of East Carolina's 130 offensive possessions this season, only 24 have been "terminated" in three or less plays (punt, turnover, missed field goal on fourth down) - which currently ranks seventh (for fewest) 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 accounted for 67 of ECU's 96 offensive TDs (70 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, 7-7/TLS and 5-8/UAB ...
- Has converted 96-of-106 redzone opportunities while under center ...
- is 15-6 overall as a starter, but has won 13 of 15 C-USA contests ...
- Has thrown for over 400 yards on three occasions and authored seven contests over 350, 11 over 300 and 16 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 13thhighest 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, fifth and sixth career Conference USA Offensive Player-of-the-Week honor for his efforts vs. Monarchs, Tar Heels and Golden Hurricane, while also picking up an ESPN Helmet Sticker vs. UNC ...
- 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/69.3), completions per game (5th/24.1), pass attempts per game (8th/34.8), total offense plays per game (8th/41.3), pass yards per game (8th/268.2), total offense per game (15th/273.0), pass efficiency rating (15th/150.57) and TDs responsible for (24th/67) ...
- 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 four occasions - vs. Memphis (`12), Old Dominion, Tulsa and UAB (`13) ...
- Thrown a touchdown pass in 19 consecutive games, including 16 in the last four contests (4.0 pg) ...
- 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) ...
HARD(L)Y A SECRET ANYMORE
Junior inside receiver Justin Hardy is currently fifth nationally in receptions per game, hauling in 8.7 passes per contest ... His 10-grab-yard effort against Tulsa two weeks ago 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 (7.2), 4th in receptions (239), 6th in receiving yards per game (85.2) and 14th in receiving yards (2,810); his school-record 17 catches vs. Tulane (Oct. 12) is the second-highest reception total in 2013 and he is just one of 14 players nationally to have reached the 1,000-yard mark so far this year.
BOTH SIDES OF THE SCOREBOARD
OFFENSE - East Carolina has scored 415 points during the 2013 season, just 63 shy of matching the school record of 478 set in 2010 (meaning the Pirates need to average 32 ppg in their last two contests to establish a new standard) ... ECU has tallied 50 or more points on five occasions this year, a first in school history ... Lastly, the Pirates have scored 210 points in their last four games, an average of 52.5 per contest.
DEFENSE - East Carolina has limited opponents to 17 or less points six times in 2013, a first since the 2009 campaign ... In the last four games, the Pirates have surrendered only 65 points - an average of only 16.3 ppg.
WE'LL TAKE THE BALL FIRST
East Carolina has received the opening kickoff in 21-straight games - the longest current streak nationally (UCF/14 and Illinois/11 were second and third, respectively, before having its runs snapped last week).
ON THIS DAY IN PIRATES' HISTORY (5-5)
Nov. 23, 1935: Appalachian State 14, East Carolina 6
Nov. 23, 1946: Lenoir-Rhyne 6, East Carolina 0
Nov. 23, 1963: East Carolina 14, Tampa 8
Nov. 23, 1968: East Carolina 23, Citadel 14
Nov. 23, 1974: VMI 13, East Carolina 3
Nov. 23, 1991: East Carolina 30, Cincinnati 19
Nov. 23, 1996: East Carolina 20, Memphis 10
Nov. 23, 2001: Southern Miss 28, East Carolina 21
Nov. 23, 2002: East Carolina 31, TCU 28