Thankfully, the 2017 East Carolina football season came to an end on Saturday in Memphis.
The Tigers made short work of ECU, rolling to a 49-0 halftime lead on their way to a 70-13 victory.
All of the talk of Pirate improvement started to crash down on the game’s first play from scrimmage.
Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson hit Anthony Miller on a little first down bubble screen. Miller took the football 89-yards for the touchdown. The Tigers never looked back.
Memphis had very little to play for in the regular season finale. The Tigers had already clinched the American’s West Division title. Sure, they wanted to win to continue to move up the national rankings, but other than that the Tigers just wanted to stay healthy.
At times the game looked like a 7-on-7 pass skeleton. The ECU defense was non-existent and the Tigers scored at will.
The Pirates were hoping to put up enough fight to show the fans that the team had improved.
Coach Scottie Montgomery had said the Memphis game was very important to show that improvement.
He said his team needed to show everyone that things will be different in the future.
Unfortunately the game proved to just be more of the same.
Add it all up and the Pirates gave up 50 plus points in half of their games. ECU gave up over 60 points in four games and 70 once, in the season finale.
The Pirates were dead last in the nation in total defense.
Coach Mo caused quite the stir when he had this to say to the media after the loss to Memphis.
“I haven’t made a whole lot of guarantees since I got here, but we’ll be a better football team, and we’re going to go play in the postseason next year,” Montgomery told the media. “I’m convicted, and I know the guys will be. We’ve got to add a few pieces to the puzzle, there’s no question, and we’ve got to do some things differently and I accept that. That’s exactly what we’ll do.”
Twitter and Facebook were buzzing with reactions late Saturday.
Perhaps it’s Coach Montgomery putting all of his chips on the table. All of a sudden it’s ‘bowl game or bust’ for ECU in 2018.
I think the statement would have a lot more bite had the Pirates shown improvement in the finale at Memphis. Halftime blowouts happened way too often this season for this team.
The major frustration for Pirate fans is that lack of competitive games this season. In the nine losses, only the Tulane game was close.
There’s normally a process to turning a program around. The saying goes that you have to walk before you can run. Your team has to be competitive before it can win. It’s a couple of months until spring football, and some eight months until August camp.
The Pirates have always been a program with fight. To be the best, you have to beat the best, and the Pirates of old would schedule and battle with the best of the best. They certainly didn’t win them all but they usually battled and sometimes pulled off an upset or two.
The best teams in ECU history always played with a chip on their shoulder.
That chip was a by-product of a player not being recruited by the big boys, or being overlooked by other instate teams, or being undersized. That chip carried the East Carolina football program a long way at times.
Montgomery’s first chore may be to figure out how to get that chip back. Teams had way too much of an easy time in beating ECU this season.
I can’t guarantee the postseason but I can guarantee this:
Give the Pirate Nation a team that is competitive in every game, that fights to the bitter end, that plays with a chip on its shoulder, and I’ll give you a Pirate team that all ECU fans will show up for.
Pirate fans don’t expect to go undefeated. They do expect a team and a program that won’t back down to anyone.
Get the chip back, and the rest will take care of itself.
Chuck Rigsbee says
Well said BB
Hey. Let’s not worry about football…you’re insane if you think ECU should be competitive with Memphis…just insane. Leave Montgomery alone and Compher too for that matter. Just look at our B Ball team…I mean its basketball season and we have so much to look forward to! While our football team couldn’t muster 10 wins, I betting Lebo will bring us 10 wins!
Mike Wilson says
YOU totally right we need to worry about all sports but ECU is known for its Football. As a Pirate we need to stay on MO and Compher bc they killed our sports program. You mentioned about MEMPHIS like its a powerhouse football team. Our program is basically starting all over again. its sad moment to be a pirate
That Memphis bit was complete sarcasm.
Need to lose the chip mentality as well. Win the games you’re suppose to and be competitive in the others. Get D1 AAC caliber players rather than any left overs and no need to use a “chip” mentality for motivation. If you have to play with a “chip” then you’re already admitting you shouldn’t be playing this level..
Jim Bryan says
Montgomery may eventually become a good or average head coach, and I hope he does. But as a life long Pirate Fan, I have always had a problem with ECU bringing in an untested Assistant Office Coordinator to direct what I felt was a program worthy of a tried and tested head coach. I am not saying someone like Myer or Saban but a mid-major head coach or a successful D-II head coach. I like Montgomery but Ruff has always been a Pirate and would have died a Pirate (not sure of that since our famously inept AD fired him) and he would have gotten the program back on track. I have a hard time firing him after one losing season, but that is in the past. Give Montgomery his one more year and then evaluate him and the AD at the end. My money is on both of them being let go, if they make it that far.
Irish Spectre says
Re that bowl guarantee comment, I have a feeling that Coach said that out of 1) sheer desperation to say something, anything positive, and 2) an acknowledgement that he’s likely finished if they don’t win 5 or 6 games anyway, so he pretty much has nothing to lose in his prediction.