Keys to the
September 14, 2012
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at Southern Miss
Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012 • 3:30 pm
M.M. Roberts Stadium (cap. 36,000)
TV: CBS Sports Network
For the seventh
Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate
ISP Sports Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s
Keys to The Game,” his weekly breakdown of
what East Carolina must do to beat its
upcoming opponent. Monroe brings a unique
perspective to the task as a member of the
broadcast team and as a former star
defensive back for the Pirates (1995-99).
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Carolina can defeat Southern Mississippi on Saturday if it performs well in these
aspects of the game:
Going back to last season, East Carolina's wins and losses
have mirrored the quarterback play. When Dominique Davis played well last
year, the entire offense flourished and the Pirates won games. When he
struggled, the team struggled and the games invariably ended in losses. This
season has been no different. In game one versus Appalachian State, Rio
Johnson struggled in the first half and the Pirates were up only 14-13 at
halftime. In the second half, Rio played well and the Pirates won by three
touchdowns. Last week against South Carolina, bad decisions and poor throws
stalled the offense and put the defense in tough positions all day long.
Shane Carden will get the start on Saturday and if the Pirates are going to
do well, they will have to get a strong performance from their new signal
It didn’t take long for Southern Miss freshman quarterback Anthony Alford to
win the starting job from junior Chris Campbell. Alford was a national
recruit coming out of high school in the state of Mississippi, and decided
to go to Southern Miss. He is one of the most dynamic players the Pirates
will face all seasons. Coming off the bench last week, Alford rushed for 84
yards on just 15 carries (5.6 yards per carry). He was only 1-of-5 passing
versus Nebraska, but he has the throwing ability to do big things in the
passing game. ECU must keep Alford in the pocket and not allow him to beat
them with his legs.
week’s five-turnover effort, I can’t in good conscience change this key. The
Pirates have coughed up 7 turnovers in two games, 5 of them interceptions.
On the road against a team as talented as the Golden Eagles, the Pirates can
ill afford to continue that turnover trend. The play of new starting
quarterback Shane Carden will really set the tone in this game. His first
series in the South Carolina game ended with an interception. Southern Miss
got no takeaways from Nebraska. Offensively, the Golden eagles turned the
ball over only once versus the vaunted black shirts defense.
Southern Mississippi-East Carolina series has a long history with the Golden
Eagles dominating 27-10. The Pirates won two of the last four meetings and
managed to win back-to-back conference championships after those victories.
The championship of the East division has often gone to the winner of this
game in recent years. It will take a total team effort for ECU to prevail.
Taking care of the ball on offense and establishing the running game early
will greatly boost the Pirates' chances. Containing Alford and tightening up
the passing defense are mandatory parts of a winning formula. Lastly, there
is room for improvement on ECU's special teams. The return game was
nonexistent against the Gamecocks, and placekicker Warren Harvey has missed
the mark on 3-of-4 field goal attempts in his first two games.
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09/14/2012 01:46:24 AM