GAME DAY CAPSULE NO. 8 -
East Carolina at Texas Christian
Tuesday, October 30, 2001
Amon G. Carter Stadium (44,008), 8:00 PM EDT
Weather Fx: Mostly clear, temps around 60
Pirates and Tigers at a Glance
The last time ECU and TCU squared off was in the 1999 Mobile Alabama
Bowl, a game which was dominated by the underdog Horned Frogs, 28-14.
This time, the two tee it up for the first time in Conference USA play,
and both have aspirations of a league title. TCU has already suffered a
league loss, and can ill-afford another if it hopes to stand tall as C-USA's
best at season's end.
The Horned Frogs are a hard team to figure out. They gave Nebraska as
tough a test as the Cornhuskers have faced all season, yet fell ungracefully
to I-AA Northwestern State at home and again at C-USA cellar dweller Tulane.
The Pirates are playing like a team on a mission, yet a Tuesday night
ESPN2 tilt away from home presents, perhaps, their toughest conference
challenge to date.
TCU Facts and Notes
Record: 4-3, 2-1 (C-USA). TCU has looked very good at times, not
so good at others..
Head Coach: Gary Patterson. 4-4 (1st year).
Venue: Amon G. Carter Stadium (44,008).
Last Game: Beat Army, 38-20, on October 20. Backup QB Sean Stilley
sparked the Frogs en route to earning C-USA player of the week honors.
The Series: TCU leads, 1-0. The only meeting between the two was
the '99 Mobile Bowl.
Last Meeting: 1999. TCU returned a fourth quarter interception for
a touchdown to nail the coffin shut on the Pirates, 28-14.
Last Bowl Game: 2000 Mobile Alabama Bowl. Lost to Southern Miss,
Well-deserved Promotion: Prior to becoming the head coach at TCU,
Gary Patterson served as the school's defensive coordinator since 1998.
Dennis Franchione, now head coach at Alabama, brought Patterson with him to
Fort Worth from New Mexico. Since arriving at TCU, the Horned Frogs have
ranked among the nation's best defensively.
Football Claim to Fame: TCU's most famous recent claim to fame
would no doubt have to be running back LaDainian Tomlinson. "LT" burst on
the scene in '99, which catapulted him to the Doak Walker award last season,
which is given annually to the nation's best running back. Tomlinson was the
fifth player taken in last April's NFL draft, and is the feature back for
upstart San Diego.
Quotes of Note: "Our football players are zeroed in on Conference
USA. I can assure you of that. They have been since last spring. It has been
a hot topic more so than any other time since we've been in the conference.
This is new waters for us, and new waters for our university. We need to
keep pursuing it at the rate we are, because it is anybody's ballgame right
now." — East Carolina head coach Steve Logan on conference play.
"I remember in 1986 and 1987 when I was at Mississippi State and we began
to kickoff at 11:30 in the morning [because of television], there were many
people who said the end of the world was coming soon and that was the end of
college football as we knew it. You hear this every time something new
happens. I can remember when Thursday night games came out, and now Thursday
night games are okay. Tuesday night will be okay after a couple of years —
it'll just become a routine deal. Academically it's not good. We're going to
miss a half-day of class Monday. We're going to get excused absences all day
Tuesday and all day Wednesday, because we're not going to get back until
3:30 in the morning and I'm not going to even attempt to get them up and get
them in class on Wednesday. I'm going to let them sleep. So it's going to be
a half-week of shock for academics." — Logan on playing Tuesday nights.
"Revenge is a very poor motivator. It's better to take that kind of
emotion and turn it inward, and talk about re-establishing your self-respect
and playing the game the way you know you can play. Of the kids that played
in that game two years ago, not many of them are left. I try to convince our
team every week that the team we're playing can beat us. I think that's a
better way to look at things." — Logan on the revenge factor.
"They are a very good football team. They've lost a couple of close
games. Defensively, they're one of the better teams in our conference.
Numbers-wise, they're only giving up about 310 yards a game, which anytime
you're below 350, you're very, very good." — Logan on the TCU defense.
TCU Players to Watch: QB Casey Printers (665 yards passing), QB
Sean Stilley (484 yards passing), WR Adrian Madise (313 yards receiving), RB
Corey Connally (432 yards rushing), SS Marvin Godbolt (5 sacks), LB LaMarcus
McDonald (11 tackles for loss).
Striking Stats: The Horned Frogs have intercepted only three
passes all year, while throwing eight.
When the Pirates have the ball:
Though East Carolina is one of the nation's best at rushing the football,
don't be surprised if the Pirates come out throwing in this one. TCU ranks
19th nationally against the run, and has shown that it is susceptible
against the pass, as the 48-22 loss to Tulane will attest.
David Garrard is as hot a quarterback as there is in the league, not
throwing an interception since the second quarter at North Carolina. The
Horned Frogs have intercepted just three passes this season, and have
yielded ten touchdowns through the air.
But the Pirates are unlikely to abandon the run, and will spread the
field to open running lanes for Leonard Henry, who currently ranks as the
nation's sixth leading rusher. Look for offensive coordinator Doug Martin to
pick and prod the TCU defense all night, much like the Pirates did to
Memphis in their last outing.
Advantage: East Carolina.
When the Horned Frogs have the ball:
TCU has struggled all season long offensively, and currently ranks 97th
overall in that category. The absence of all-everything running back
LaDainian Tomlinson has shown glaringly.
If Casey Printers gets the call at quarterback, the Pirates will have
extra cause for concern. The junior quarterback is equally adept at running
as he is at throwing. If Sean Stilley is under center, the Pirates can
expect a more traditional attack, as the latter feels more comfortable when
operating out of the pocket.
The Frogs could present a good measuring stick for the Pirate defense,
which rebounded nicely with an excellent performance against Memphis. If
East Carolina can stop a TCU offense that has weapons and an added element
of mystery, it could very well be on its way.
Both the Pirates and the Horned Frogs have been dynamite on special
teams. TCU's Nick Browne has connected on nine of 11 attempts, including a
perfect four of four over 40 yards. The Pirates' Kevin Miller has hit 11 of
14 attempts, but has struggled from long range.
Both have consistent punters and able return specialists. The team that
can break through with a big play here could prove victorious.
Gary Patterson is in his first full season as TCU's head coach, making
Steve Logan look like a seasoned veteran. Give the nod here to experience.
Advantage: East Carolina
Though Logan is preaching against it, revenge is certain to be on the
Pirates' minds tonight, which could prove negative unless they are able to
channel that emotion.
Logistically, travelling for a Tuesday night game could be mentally
taxing on the Pirates, and playing the day before All Hallows Eve has an
eerie feel to it.
What East Carolina must do to win:
- Aggressive D. The Pirates were a swarming bunch against Memphis. A
similar effort against TCU could easily keep the Pirates perfect in league
- Limit Turnovers. The Pirates were done in by their own hands in two
non-conference road losses to Syracuse and North Carolina.
- Pick up blitzes. The last time these two met, the TCU defense blitzed
all night long, as Garrard's numbers will attest.
- Crack TCU Run D. TCU has been especially stingy against the run. The
Pirates will have to mount a solid ground attack if they are to win.
- Avoid Special Teams Faux Pas. Marvin Townes has struggled mentally on
special teams of late. TCU will gladly accept any gifts the Pirates have
What TCU must do to win:
- Avoid turnovers. Two of TCU's losses can be directly attributed to
- Chew the clock. Though time of possession isn't a great concern to
Logan, the more the Pirate offense stays on the sideline, the better off
TCU will be.
- Limit big plays. Memphis did a good job of limiting the Pirates to
just one explosion play. Though the Tigers still lost, the Horned Frogs
chances increase greatly if the Pirates are forced to execute long
- Go Vertical. Memphis found that going horizontal on a fast Pirate
defense wasn't the answer. TCU would be better served by going vertical.
- Strike early. If TCU can get an early lead, it could take away the
Pirates' mental edge.
Prediction: The Pirates are more talented and have plenty of
weapons from which to choose. Still, something tells me this one will be a
dog fight, and the Pirates will be lucky to escape with a victory. But the
Pirates are focused on one thing, the C-USA title, and TCU is the next step
toward achieving that goal. Take the Pirates in a close one, 27-23.
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02/23/2007 02:05:43 AM