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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
By Brian Bailey

What a difference a kick makes!

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.


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Audio: Skip Holtz Monday Press Conference
Bailey: What a difference a kick makes!
BVL: Harris Interactive College Football Poll
O'Brien: Pirates ride out stressful September

The old adage goes that it’s better to be lucky then good. I thought the Pirates were a little bit of both in the 37-35 win over Houston.

There is another thought that good teams make their own luck. That may have been the case Saturday night.

Houston missed not one, but two chip shots late in the game. In a game that featured a plethora of big plays, two missed kicks stand out as the two biggest of the game.

That’s really unfortunate, because the Pirates had several heroes in the win. They start with Chris Johnson, who showed that he can run north and south with an attitude. C.J. ran as hard as we’ve seen him run, going for 147 yards and two touchdowns.

Rob Kass also played big against the Cougars. Kass was 6-12 for 110 yards and a touchdown. He brought a spark to the Pirates' offense in the second half, and he certainly earned a longer look as far as playing time goes this week.

Some would call it a quarterback controversy. Pirate coach Skip Holtz calls it something quite different.

“I call it quarterback depth,” said Holtz at Monday’s weekly press gathering. “We’ve got two guys who move the chains in different ways and I think we have to utilize both of them. Patrick (Pinkney) did an awful lot of good things in the first half but we still felt like we needed to make a change. Rob has waited patiently for his chance over the last couple of weeks and when he got his chance he certainly took advantage of it.”

So the Pirates conclude this brutal month of September with a most respectable mark of 2-3.

Next up is Central Florida, and the Golden Knights feature a whole new set of problems, led by Doak Walker candidate Kevin Smith.

Smith ran 80 yards for a touchdown in his first carry of the season in Raleigh against North Carolina State. He ran for 217 yards and two touchdowns against the Wolfpack.

He followed that up with 149 yards and two touchdowns against No. 7 Texas. Just last week he went for 223 yards in a win over Louisiana-Lafayette.

Smith leads the nation in yards per game and rushing touchdowns. He’s also third in the nation in total rushing yards with 713 through four games.

“They’re getting the football into a great player's hands,” said Holtz. “They are giving it to him up the middle, on a sprint, on a toss sweep. He’s really good and he’ll make for a tremendous challenge this week. They’ve got a tremendous offensive line. They played a lot of young kids before, and they’re playing well now with that experience.”

September is in the books, but October’s first challenge may say even more about the Conference USA East Division’s winner.

The Pirates can’t afford to fall behind both Southern Miss and UCF. An East Carolina win vaults the Pirates back into the race for the East Division title.

What a difference a kick does make, for sure!


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04/21/2008 07:08:04 PM


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