The J. Geils Band once had a hit called “Love Stinks.”
East Carolina fans will tell you the same can be said for losing.
For one night the Pirate Nation came together for homecoming, and on a beautiful, eastern North Carolina Saturday night, the Pirates played the way fans have come to expect over the years. ECU pulled away from Brigham Young in the fourth quarter and beat the Cougars 33-17.
It won’t go down as the biggest win in Pirate history, but it was vital nonetheless.
Pirate head coach Scottie Montgomery seemed extra relieved after the win, and for good reason.
“Overall, it was a great team victory,” Montgomery said afterwards. “I thought offense, defense and special teams all made adjustments at half time. There were a lot of critical adjustments. I thought our staff did a great job.”
Coach Mo and the Pirates went into halftime against BYU in an absolute street fight. It was 10-10, and the Pirate defense was playing well.
Montgomery said he had a plan coming out for the second half.
“I challenged them and I guess you ask and you may receive,” said Montgomery. “I said what we need to do is get points, get a stop and get points again and we will have command of the game and that’s exactly what happened.
“Not only did we do that but we got another stop and more points with an interception and a touchdown. It’s hard to lose those types of games.”
One of Saturday night’s heroes for ECU was placekicker Jake Verity. Verity tied a school record and set a personal one with four field goals in the victory. On Monday he was named as the American Athletic Conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week.
“It feels great,” said Verity after the win Saturday night. “I would have loved to have drained one more but I’m thankful to be put in this situation by my teammates. I scored a lot of points but I couldn’t have done it without the rest of them, the coaches and the fans.”
It wasn’t the smoothest night for the ECU kicker. He had one field goal bank in off the upright and another that went through after being partially blocked.
“It was definitely interesting,” Verity said. “I gave the fans their money’s worth. You have to have a little luck to be a good kicker.”
The question now is whether or not this win will manifest itself into more wins in November.
The Pirates head to Houston a week from Saturday, then return home with back to back games against Tulane and Cincinnati before closing out at Memphis.
Of the four remaining opponents, only Memphis appears to be head and shoulders better than this Pirate squad.
That doesn’t mean there are still three wins on the schedule, just that three of the four games should be competitive.
Three more wins would put ECU at 5-7 and trending upward.
Perhaps we’ll all look back on this BYU win as the turning point for this football team.
At least for one night Pirate football was back at Dowdy-Ficklen.