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East Carolina 38, William & Mary 23
Box Score
Game Capsule

Second Half Rhythm Propels
Pirates on Garrard's Special Day

By Denny O'Brien

GREENVILLE — Steve Logan readily admits his opposition to bye weeks, which historically have served as a disruption to East Carolina's rhythm.  For much of the first half on Saturday, the Pirate coach's theory held true.

But his team eventually found its beat against I-AA power William and Mary and waltzed to a 38 -23 victory, picking up right where it left off two weeks ago against Tulane.

It took a while to get started, but quarterback David Garrard keyed up the orchestra in record-breaking fashion, throwing for 245 yards and three touchdowns and running for a score on a day when the Durham senior unseated Marcus Crandell as the school's all-time leading passer.

"I told Dave (Garrard) just before I came up here (for the post-game press conference) that that was a beautiful presentation of the quarterback position today," said Logan. "He was really, really good today.

"I'm glad that if indeed he did break some records, which is something that quite honestly is not a conversation around our football office, but if in fact he did that, I'm glad it happened during a victory.

"He's a special kid — special, special guy. I don't think anybody appreciates him more than I do."

Garrard echoed Logan's sentiment about the record being secondary, noting that victory far outweighed the individual accomplishment.

"I'm excited about that (the record), but I'm more excited about the wins that we can go out and get this year," said Garrard.  "Hopefully we can go out and win the rest of them."

Garrard wasn't the only Pirate in harmonious form as running back Leonard Henry displayed his own set of moves, dancing to a 13-carry, 111-yard performance.  It was a good enough day to make the Clinton senior the 14th player in ECU history to surpass 2000 yards rushing in a career.

Henry added 66 yards receiving, including a 30-yard touchdown that put the Pirates ahead for good with 12:31 left to play in the third quarter.

"It was a wonderful catch and run by Leonard," Logan said. "But what the casual fan does not know is the read that the quarterback made on those two plays was impeccable. To see David do that — that's NFL stuff."

In addition to hooking up with Henry, Garrard added two more third-quarter touchdown strikes, hitting Marcus White from three-yards out and connecting with Torey Morris on a 56-yard catch and run.

Morris, who made up for an earlier fumble on an acrobatic reception with the TD play, finished the day with 81 yards on two catches and further solidified his niche as one of Garrard's favorite targets.

"Every time he's (Morris) out there, I'm always looking for him," Garrard said. "Even though he made that great catch and had the fumble, I was going to come back to him on the next play.  I know he's going to make plays for me, and I'm going to keep going to him."

It was a tale of two halves for the Pirates offensively, who moved the ball with ease in the early going, yet struggled to find paydirt.

Twice, Garrard found wide open receivers for apparent touchdowns, only to have both nullified by penalties. Twice more, the Pirates coughed up the football en route to the end zone.

"I told them what had happened in the first half with the distractions," Logan said. "Those things can break your heart and set the tone for an unraveling.

"I talked to our football team very pointedly and told them that we were not going to do anything but concentrate on execution. That was rewarding as a teacher to see the young men take that and then go do it."

Logan's halftime talk proved effective, as ECU looked like a different unit in the second half, scoring the first four times it touched the ball to pull away from the pesky Tribe.

The strong second-half performance capped off another stellar day for the Pirate offense, which finished with 444 total yards, and averaged a whopping 8.4 yards per play.

For the second consecutive game, the ECU offensive line had an excellent outing, opening holes for Pirate runners while not allowing a sack.  It was a performance that didn't go unnoticed by Logan.

"If we can run the football and throw play-action passes, that's where you can be a good football team," said Logan. "That's what we want to do — the offensive line got a good push today."

While the offense was tuning up, the defense looked flat, yielding 472 yards in total offense.  The Tribe kept the chains moving all afternoon, tallying 26 first downs and milking over 42 minutes of clock.

"I guess we've got to go back to the drawing boards again and come up with a plan to stop the run," said senior linebacker Pernell Griffin. "They were good, but it was a lot of mistakes on our part. We had missed tackles, we had guys not going to their gaps. Those kind of hurt us."

The Pirates certainly did their share of bending, surrendering 180 yards rushing. But when push came to shove, ECU was once again resilient in the red zone.

"That's another thing that we're concentrating on — bend but don't break," Griffin added. "(Our) Guys made great plays."

Henry got the Pirates on the board first, finishing off a six-play, 82-yard drive with a 28-yard touchdown scamper. The play was set-up by Garrard's record-breaking toss to senior split end Derrick Collier, which covered 54 yards.

The Pirates appeared to be in business again when Tribe quarterback David Corley mishandled the center exchange, giving the Pirates the ball deep in William and Mary territory. But Garrard's pass intended for Collier in the end zone was picked off by Ronnie Thomas.

One play later, William and Mary receiver Rich Musinski took advantage of a collision between two ECU defensive backs, hauling in an 80-yard scoring strike from Corley to knot the score at seven apiece.

Corley finished the day with 237 yards, completing 16 of his 30 attempts.

William & Mary then did the Pirates a favor.  Running back Marcus Howard's fumble was returned by linebacker Christshawn Gilliam to the Tribe four-yard line.

This time the Pirates took advantage of the turnover, scoring on Garrard's four-yard option keeper to give the Pirates a 14-7 lead.

But the Tribe wouldn't go away, at least not during the first half.  Corley orchestrated a nine-play, 77- yard drive to even the score at 14 right before the half on Komlan Lonergan's 11-yard scoring run.

"I think we've got some gap control issues that (defensive coordinator) Tim (Rose) is concerned about," said Logan. "I think it's correctable. It takes time to define what it is you're dealing with, and I'm still searching."

ECU will need to find some answers quickly.  The Pirates travel to Syracuse next Saturday to make up a game that was postponed in the aftermath of the recent national tragedy.

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02/23/2007 01:41:48 AM

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