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Game No. 6: ECU 33, N.C. State 27 (OT)


Inside Game Day
Saturday, October 16, 2010

By Al Myatt

Pirates are money in $howdown with Pack

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

GREENVILLE — It would be interesting in economic terms to know the total value of East Carolina's 33-27 overtime win over N.C. State on Saturday. What would be the difference in dollars across the board if the game's last pass had wound up in the arms of a white-clad Wolfpack receiver rather than those of true freshman safety Damon Magazu of ECU?

The Pirates were money as they say, clutch when it counted. After State had erased a 21-0 ECU lead to go ahead 27-24, the Pirates revived for a tying field goal by Mike Barbour from 31 yards with 1:04 left in regulation.

Dominique Davis got the winning score in appropriate fashion on a 1-yard sneak as ECU had the ball first in overtime.

"I just kept moving until I got in," said the ECU quarterback.

The Pirates persevered in a game they possibly could have turned into a rout but for their own mistakes. Two ECU fumbles easily accounted for a 14-point swing but the bottom line was a huge win — not in margin perhaps but to the victors went considerable spoils.

The Dowdy Student Stores on campus and the University Book Exchange downtown will sell more Pirate caps and T-shirts going forward. More people will show up for the Marshall game next week. That's more programs sold, more concessions and more business for grocery stores as fans buy supplies for tailgating. Hotel business increases. More people will join the Pirate Club and they will be inclined to renew their season tickets for next year when North Carolina will get the full blown Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium experience.

More gas will be pumped to get folks to the game. More people will buy newspapers today to read about the Pirates. Bonesville gets more hits after an ECU win than a loss. More people will tune in to the Ruffin McNeill coach's show on television today.

Then you consider the impact on recruits who saw first hand the drama of ECU football against their most frequent Atlantic Coast Conference rival. Coach Ruffin McNeill rates the home football atmosphere at rowdy Dowdy second to none.

There were more potential college players watching on TV who witnessed the emerging legitimacy of the Pirates' program against a BCS team that had ascended into the Top 25 earlier this season.

There will likely be more Pirate fans in church today, giving thanks and/or asserting their bragging rights. Scripture says the Lord loves a cheerful giver and it's hard to imagine when ECU faithful would be in a better mood.

Dwayne Harris didn't hurt his stock with the pro scouts as he accounted for 260 total yards in receptions and returns. That's more potential money for him next year in terms of his NFL stock. Davis also had some impressive numbers as well as he completed 37 of 53 passes for 376 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

ECU's win has financial implications in a multitude of trickle down economic models. Some may be more like gushing revenue streams, given the regional magnitude of a State-ECU game. Sports are generally an all or nothing proposition. There was little in the way of a runner-up prize for the Wolfpack. It was just a loss to be quickly written off as preparations begin for a Thursday night matchup with Florida State in Raleigh on Oct. 28.

Perhaps it was fitting that Magazu, the son of Dave Magazu, the Carolina Panthers offensive line coach, jumped the revised route of State receiver Jarvis Williams and picked off Russell Wilson's final fling to the end zone at the goal line. It was fitting in the sense that someone with blood connections to the level where they perform for pay would make the deciding play.

Magazu is just half a season removed from Providence High in Charlotte. His closing pick was certainly provident for ECU.

Success begets success. The Pirates have more confidence as they refocus on the Thundering Herd. They can expect to attract better recruits with the ability to repeat the cycle. ECU could possibly position itself for a better postseason bowl based on its outcome with NCSU. That's money, too, although the Pirates were scheduled to shift their attention to Conference USA 24 hours after dispatching the Pack. The Liberty Bowl is probably the extent of ECU's reach within league bowl ties. Television takes note of successful teams and that has financial implications as well.

If any Big East representatives were watching with an eye to expansion, they would have to like what they saw in purple. The Big East is BCS and that's where the big bucks are.

The outcome of every game has potential economic impact. The largest crowd in stadium history, 50,410, and the intensity of emotions in the rivalry with State served to up the ante on Saturday. The Pirates went all in and the booty was quite a haul. Like the economies of two opposing nations, ECU currency had significantly strengthened against the Wolfpack dollar at the close of business on Saturday.

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10/17/2010 07:00:55 AM


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