From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

'Flipping the Déjà Vu?'

Audio: 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 ECU unit coordinators Rick Smith (left) and Dave Nichol (middle) and ECU media specialist Brian Meador (right): Replay show...

View Pirate Radio 1250 Programming Lineup


Audio: Ruff Presser

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill addressed members of the media on Monday in his weekly press conference. (Audio courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250; file photo): Select audio clip...

View Pirate Radio 1250 Programming Lineup


Infographic: Pick 6 set the tone



East Carolina forced two turnovers, kicked three field goals and pulled out a 30-17 win over Tulsa Saturday afternoon in front of a Homecoming crowd of 43,065 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Cornerback Josh Hawkins set the tone early for the Pirate defense, returning an interception 100 yards for a TD ... Details and data from Greg Vacek...



Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium | A: 43,065 | TV: ESPNN

ECU 30, Tulsa 17 | Photos... | Post-game Audio...

Ball 'Hawk' boosts Pirates

GREENVILLE — Everything seemed to feed off one game-changing play in East Carolina's 30-17 American Athletic Conference football win over Tulsa on Homecoming Saturday.

The Golden Hurricane was moving the ball as advertised after taking the opening kickoff and traversing from their 19 to the ECU 12 over the manicured turf of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Tulsa came in averaging 568 yards of total offense and 36.6 points per game. ... More from Al Myatt...

View W.A. Myatt's game day photo gallery...

Ruff post-game audio

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with reporters on Saturday after the Pirates' Homecoming win over Tulsa (recorded by Al Myatt): Select audio clip...
>>>  AAC SCOREBOARD  >>> ..... Friday: BYU 38, Cincinnati 24 ..... Houston 42, Tulane 7 ..... ..... Saturday: USF 28, UConn 20 ..... ECU 30, Tulsa 17 ..... Memphis 37, Ole Miss 24 ..... Temple 30, UCF 16 ..... .....


Kevin's Keys to the Game

East Carolina comes into today's American Athletic Conference contest with Tulsa at 3-3, while the Golden Hurricane has a 3-2 record. The Pirates are 1-1 in the AAC and Tulsa is 0-1, making this a pivotal game for both both teams in terms of their conference championship ambitions. ... More from Kevin Monroe...



Home sweet Homecoming for Pirates

Al MyattHomecoming at East Carolina is a party that will attract around 50,000 guests. ECU coach Ruffin McNeill is in charge of the entertainment. McNeill and the late Ed Emory are former Pirate players who have gone on to become head coaches at their alma mater ... More from Al Myatt...



ESPN stumbling into uncertain future

ESPN's ascent to juggernaut status in sports media may have reached its pinnacle and begun its decent. Demographic, technological and competitive forces are eating away at the network's core revenues ... More from Danny Whitford...


By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


These five days may turn out to define the 2015 East Carolina football season.

Part one was a success. ECU beat Tulsa 30-17 for the Pirate’s 10th straight homecoming victory. It certainly wasn’t a masterpiece, but last I checked you don’t get bonus points for shutouts or blowouts.

Pirate head coach Ruffin McNeill put an exclamation point on the victory.

“Saturday was a great, great win! I said it after the game and I say it again now,” said McNeill to open his weekly press briefing on Monday. “I’ve been coaching a long time and, for me, it was one of the best wins I’ve had as a head coach, period. You saw the kids, as a team, compete, fight and scrap with no panic.”

It was certainly a game with an odd flow. Everyone expected an old fashioned shootout. Tulsa came to town with the nation’s 7th-ranked offense.

It was the ECU defense that set the tone and they did it on Tulsa’s first drive.

Josh Hawkins stepped in front of Dane Evans pass at the goal line and raced 100 yards for the game’s opening score. On Monday Hawkins was named the American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week.

Hawkins has certainly had his ups and downs at East Carolina. Saturday’s ‘pick-six’ was definitely an up and he was all smiles after the win.

“I read the play and was right there,” said Hawkins. “I then went back into ‘running back’ mode like in high school. My teammates gave me some great blocks and I just took it home to Mama.”

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Now the Pirates face the shortest of weeks with nationally-ranked Temple coming to town on Thursday. The Owls are one of three teams in the American in this week’s national rankings.

The game with Temple gives the Pirates a great chance to avenge 2014’s most disappointing loss, that humbling loss in the cold and rain of Philly last November.

ECU Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations Tom McClellan called it ‘Flipping the Déjà Vu?’ in the weekly ECU game notes. The game is almost a direct opposite from the matchup last season.

In 2014 the Pirates were 6-1 and ranked 21st and 23rd in the national polls. Temple came into that game at 4-3. The Owls upset the Pirates 20-10, forcing five turnovers and racking up 11 tackles for losses.

Fast-forward to 2015. Temple is 6-0 and ranked 22nd and 24th in the national polls. The Pirates are 4-3. Oddly enough, East Carolina is an early three-point favorite in the game.

Regardless of the similarities in the matchups, Coach Ruff says he’ll keep his team focused on the ‘next game philosophy.’

“They beat us last year,” said McNeill. “It wasn’t luck. They did a good job. I talk about getting better. Let’s play our best game our next game, but play our best game our last game of the year. Temple has a great team and proposes a great opportunity, but a challenge for us. I talk more about preparation. That’s how I’m built and that’s what I believe in.”

The Pirate defense may once again be the key. This time that defense will have to stop the run first.

If they do that, ECU can unleash Montese Overton and his buddies. That unit has collected 16 sacks in the last three games. That stat comes after the Pirates had just five sacks in the team’s first four games.

“That’s always two of the big keys,” said ECU Defensive Coordinator Rick Smith. “We have to first stop the run, and then we have to get pressure on the quarterback. No secondary can withstand these offenses if the quarterback has all day. Our guys are playing well and have to continue to do that.”

Hopefully the Pirate Nation will come out in force.

It’s a blackout game, as the Pirates look to turn the lights out on Temple’s unbeaten season.


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10/20/2015 04:10 AM