Bonesville: The Authoritative Independent Voice of East Carolina
Daily News & Features from East Carolina, Conference USA and Beyond

Mobile Alpha Roundup Daily Beat Recruiting The Seasons Multimedia Historical Data Pirate Time Machine SportByte™ Weather





Put your ad message in front of 1,000's and 1,000's of Pirate fans. Call 252.637.2944 for flexible options & rates.




Game Center: East Carolina 28, Tulane 23

Nov. 17, 2012 | Mercedes-Benz Superdome | Attendance: 14,041

Features > Inside Game Day | Gallery | Post-game Audio | The Season

Inside Game Day
Saturday, November 17, 2012

By Al Myatt

Carden's maturation continues

By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

[View the Mobile Alpha version of this page.]

View box score and statistics on

Read game recap on

NEW ORLEANS — It wasn't so easy in the Big Easy on Saturday.

Shane Carden didn't have one of his better games, but he still managed to direct East Carolina to a 28-23 win at Tulane, assuring the Pirates of a winning record for the 2012 season and keeping ECU's hopes alive to capture Conference USA's East Division.

Carden threw two interceptions but he made key plays after each pick to help the Pirates subdue an inspired Tulane team on their Senior Day at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, site of the Green Wave's two triumphs this season.

Carden, a sophomore making his ninth start, had thrown for one score and run for another when he was intercepted late in the first half by Shakiel Smith at the Tulane 33. Carden turned defender and managed to get Smith out of bounds at the ECU 28-yard line with the Pirates leading 14-7.

How many quarterbacks stop interception returns these days?

The defense held the Wave to a field goal on the sudden change of circumstances.

"You never want an interception to happen," Carden said. "The last thing you want is for them to return it for a touchdown. If I throw a pick, I'm usually looking straight at the guy who got it. I'm looking to either hit him pretty hard or at least get him out of bounds. ... You can't let him score."

Carden's second interception came with ECU looking to extend a 21-16 lead in the third quarter. The Pirates had moved into Tulane territory on a 21-yard run by Vintavious Cooper when Jordan Batiste picked off a pass at the Green Wave 9.

Maurice Falls had a sack on third down as the Pirate defense went three and out. Undaunted by the misfortune of the previous possession, Carden drove the Pirates 79 yards for a touchdown that proved to be the difference in the outcome. He hit Andrew Bodenheimer, who ran a slant route from the right, for the score.

"He ran a great route, which made the throw easy for me," Carden said. "We make those throws every day."

That was the lone grab of the day for Bodenheimer, but it pushed his string of games with a reception to 31. The Pirates improved to 6-3 when Carden starts.

“He had a big time throw to Bodie," said third-year ECU coach Ruffin McNeill. " ... He’s a young quarterback, still developing, and I’m proud of Shane. He led us. He never got down. He wants to do well for the team, and East Carolina, and he’s our quarterback. He’ll bounce back and have a great game next week.”

Carden completed 19 of 33 passes for 215 yards with two touchdowns. Nine different receivers caught passes. Carden also kept seven times to net 36 yards rushing, an average of 5.1 yards per carry.

Tulane came in at 2-8 but gave a solid effort on its Senior Day. There was a special message on the scoreboard before kickoff from Devon Walker, who remains hospitalized from an early season spinal injury.

"Roll Wave," the message concluded. The Wave did its best to comply with Walker's wishes.

Tulane led 7-0 early and trailed just 14-13 at the half.

Bodenheimer fielded an onside kick to secure the victory with 1:22 remaining after Tulane had pulled within 28-23 on a touchdown catch that came after a video review changed the call on the field.

"We wanted to send the seniors out with a bang and they played like it, but we didn’t make the plays we wanted to," said Green Wave coach Curtis Johnson, a member of the New Orleans Saints coaching staff when they won the Super Bowl at the end of the 2009 NFL season. "I’m happy to see we won the turnover battle. Their guys were big and physical and they completely stopped our run.”

ECU (7-4, 6-1 C-USA) was coming off an open date and there was not a lot of energy from an announced crowd of 14,041 that appeared to be much smaller.

Carden said he was impressed with Tulane.

"That's a good defense," he said. "I honestly didn't know they were 2-8. That defense played great today. They were moving around a lot. There were a lot of different coverages that I saw. There were a lot of different blitzes. It was their Senior Day so we knew it wasn't going to be any type of easy game at all. We knew it was going to be a fist fight. This is a hard place to play. It's a big arena with not many people. But we knew we had to come down here and take care of business. That's what we did."

There is room for improvement as ECU prepares for its own Senior Day on Friday against Marshall. If the Pirates beat the Thundering Herd and UAB knocks off host Central Florida on Saturday, ECU will win C-USA's East Division.

"We know we can play better on offense for sure," Carden said. "I can play better but we got the 'W' and that's what means the most."

On the team level, the Pirates got the job done. On the individual level, Carden continues to get more comfortable and more confident.

"The season's been pretty crazy," he said. "Coming in at halftime of the second game and the third game, starting, I think I've definitely developed over the season — getting reps, getting playing time. ... I'm not sure if this is earlier in the season and I play like I did in that first half and throw that pick, I'm not sure if I have that confidence to come back.

"But just going through the season, I get to the sideline, my teammates are there. They're like, 'We've got confidence in you. Relax. We know you can play.' I knew I could play better, so the second half I came out today and played better."

Carden understands the process of developing belief from his teammates.

"It's that confidence that I think you build over a season," he said. "Your first start, you're like, all right, I want these guys to think I'm good because you always believe in yourself but you want the rest of the team to believe in you. I think over the season this team has started to believe in me and it's given me an easier time to come back from minor slip-ups like that."

The emergence of Cooper and the resurgence of Reggie Bullock, ECU's primary running backs against Tulane, has helped take some pressure off of the passing game. The Pirates rushed for 172 yards Saturday.

"Those running backs are playing great," Carden said. "When the running game gets going, it helps the passing game. ... It's all about feeding off of each other and making each other better."

View box score and statistics on

Read game recap on

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

11/18/2012 11:31:30 AM


©2001-2002-2003-2004-2005-2006-2007-2008-2009-2010-2011-2012-2013 All rights reserved.
Articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files and other content originated on this site are the proprietary property of
None of the articles, logos, graphics, photos, audio files, video files or other content originated on this site may be reproduced without written permission.
This site is not affiliated with East Carolina University. View's Privacy Policy. Advertising contact: 252-349-3280; Editorial contact:; 252-444-1905.