Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium | Attendance: 40,743 | TV: CBSSN

Cincinnati 19, ECU 16 | Inside Game Day | Photos... | Audio: Ruff Postgame...

>>>  AAC SCHEDULE  >>> ..... ..... Thursday: USF 44, UCF 3 (ESPN) ..... ..... Friday: Houston 52, Navy 31 (ABC) ..... Tulsa 45, Tulane 34 (ESPNU) ..... ..... Saturday: Memphis 63, SMU 0 (ESPNN) ..... Cincinnati 19, ECU 16 ..... Temple 27, UConn 3 (ESPNU) ..... .....

Inside Game Day
Saturday, November 28, 2015

By Al Myatt

Another Senior Day heartbreaker

Ruff Post-game Audio

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with reporters after the Pirates' season-ending loss to Cincinnati (recorded by Al Myatt; file photo): Select audio clip...

ECU quarterback Blake Kemp cocks to release a 10-yard touchdown pass to Davon Grayson in the first quarter.

Lauren Gardner was the sideline reporter on the CBS Sports Network telecast.

(Photos by Al Myatt; Game day gallery...)



Pirates leave Vegas as winners

LAS VEGAS East Carolina snapped a three-game losing streak as B.J. Tyson scored 22 points in a 93-73 win over Stetson in the Pirates' final game of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational on Friday. ... More...

Next: ECU vs. Florida Atlantic
Tuesday, 7 pm | TV: ASN/ESPN3



Kevin's Keys to the Game

Today's game between East Carolina and visiting Cincinnati should be an exciting one between two high-powered offenses. The Pirate offense has been underwhelming most of the year because of key injuries. The Bearcat offense has been good, but not always good enough to overcome deficiencies on defense. ... More from Kevin Monroe...



Little Rock inches past ECU

LAS VEGAS Arkansas-Little Rock found enough offense in the second half to top East Carolina 54-46 in a Las Vegas Invitational defensive battle at Orleans Arena on Thursday. The Pirates led 23-15 at the half. ... More...



Pirates planning feast, nap

Al MyattEast Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill likes a certain routine during game week but he's looking forward to an exception today as the Pirates (5-6, 3-4 AAC) get ready to host Cincinnati (6-5, 3-4) on Saturday at noon. ... More from Al Myatt...



Pirates playing for seniors, bowl bid

East Carolina and Cincinnati approach the regular season finale with similar records, but heading in different directions. While the Pirates have had their disappointments, this Bearcat team heads to Greenville this week under .500 in league play ... More from Brian Bailey...

Audio: Ruff Weekly Presser

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill met with reporters on Monday at his weekly press conference (audio courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250; file photo): Select audio clip...

Audio: The Brian Bailey Show

The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Brian's guests this week were J.H. Rose football coach David Wojtecki, D.H. Conley football coach Nate Conner and ECU basketball color analyst Si Seymour (right): Replay show...



Pirates fall to Aztecs

SAN DIEGO Host San Diego State jumped out to a 16-0 lead and finished with a 79-54 win over East Carolina on Monday night. The Aztecs (3-2) were coming off a 49-43 loss to Arkansas-Little Rock, ECU's opponent on Thanksgiving at 2 p.m. in Las Vegas. ... More...


By Al Myatt
All rights reserved.

Audio: Coach Ruff postgame...

Postgame photo gallery...

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GREENVILLE Cincinnati provided some unwanted deja vu as East Carolina was trying to nail down a bowl bid and send its seniors out in style Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

For the second straight year, a play as time expired was the difference maker in a loss on Senior Day for the Pirates.

Andrew Gantz was once again a villain for ECU.

Gantz hit a 47-yard field goal with 15 seconds left last year in Cincinnati to put the Bearcats ahead 48-46. The final margin was 54-46 in 2014 as a gadget play by the Pirates led to a game-ending fumble return by Cincinnati for a score.

Central Florida spoiled Senior Night for ECU last year with a Hail Mary for a 32-30 win as time ran out.

The difference a year ago was that the Pirates had already secured bowl eligibility. The season continued with a 28-20 loss to Florida in the Birmingham Bowl.

At 5-7 overall and 3-5 in the American Conference after Gantz hit from 42 yards for a 19-16 Cincinnati win, it doesn't appear that a postseason trip is in store for the Pirates.

"We talked about it a little bit on our (AAC athletic directors) call this week," said ECU AD Jeff Compher. "It's possible that some 5-7 teams will get bids. I don't know where we would fit in on that process. I would say it's possible but unlikely."

There are 80 postseason slots for teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

The Bearcats, regrouping from a 65-27 loss at South Florida last week, took control of the matchup by controlling the line of scrimmage as the game progressed.

There was a lot of emotion as East Carolina bid farewell to 18 seniors.

The Pirates took a 3-0 lead on the game's opening possession after a 39-yard kickoff return by Trevon Brown.

ECU drove from its 39 as far as the Cincinnati 1-yard line before settling for a 20-yard field goal by Bobby Plowman with 11:17 left in the first quarter.

The Pirates pushed the lead to 10-0 on a 10-yard scoring pass from Blake Kemp to Davon Grayson with 6:55 left in the opening period. The play was initially ruled an incompletion with pass interference but it was overturned for a touchdown after review. The TD followed a three and out by the ECU defense.

The 94-yard scoring drive included a 13-yard run by Anthony Scott, an 18-yard completion to Grayson, a 13-yard keeper by Kemp and a 17-yard pass to Isaiah Jones, who finished with 12 catches for 124 yards.

ECU had a 182-67 lead in total yardage in the first quarter.

An 8-yard pass from Gunner Kiel to Shaq Washington completed a 13-play, 90-yard drive for the Bearcats with 10:47 left in the first half. The Bearcats missed the extra point, leaving ECU with a 10-6 lead until Cincinnati went ahead 13-10 on a 1-yard scoring run by wildcat quarterback Mike Boone with 7:28 left in the third quarter.

The Bearcats took a 16-10 lead on a 50-yard field goal by Gantz with 26 seconds left in the third quarter.

Cincinnati outgained ECU 129-34 in the third quarter, outrushing the Pirates, 80-7.

ECU tied the score at 16 as it used James Summers, primarily a running quarterback, on a 2-yard touchdown pass to Bryce Williams in a fourth-and-goal situation with 10:36 remaining. The 78-yard drive accounted for the bulk of ECU's 113 yards in the second half.

Plowman missed the extra point to leave the score knotted after 15 yards were tacked on for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Summers. He apparently reacted as Silverberry Mouhon of the Bearcats was disqualified for targeting.

Cincinnati had 20 minutes, 59 seconds of possession in the 30 minutes of the second half.

"They've got size up front and mass up front," said Pirates coach Ruffin McNeill. "That's an NFL line they've got."

ECU, on the other hand, was missing starters Dontae Levingston, Quincy McKinney and Christian Matau from its offensive line.

"The whole key to the game the second half was we were able to run the ball," said Cincinnati coach Tommy Tuberville. "They had 44 snaps in the first half and I told the offense if we don't get control of the ball in the second half we couldn't win the game.

"We had to be able to run the ball. They had 44 in the first half and had just 25 in the second half. That was the difference in the game."

Kemp completed 33 of 50 passes for 315 yards and one touchdown. The Pirates played turnover free.

Mike linebacker Zeek Bigger was disappointed at the outcome of his last game, as seniors Shane Carden, Justin Hardy and that group were a year ago.

"That's how football is sometimes," Bigger said. "It's like life. You have to keep fighting."

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11/29/2015 01:52:16 AM