A Look Behind the Purple Curtain with Bonesville's Web Roundup Curator

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

By Greg Vacek

Primetime chance to get back on track

American Football Schedule

Cincinnati 54, ECU 46 (ESPN2)


UCF 31, Tulsa 7 (ESPN2)
Penn State 30, Temple 13 (ESPN2)
Memphis 38, Tulane 7 (ESPNU)
USF 14, SMU 13 (CBSSN)
AAC SCOREBOARD >>> ..... | Thursday > Cincinnati 54, ECU 46 (ESPN2) ..... | Friday > UCF 31, Tulsa 7 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Penn State 30, Temple 13 (ESPN2) ..... Memphis 38, Tulane 7 (ESPNU) ..... USF 14, SMU 13 (CBSSN) ..... .....


Stakes will be high in Cincinnati

Itís time for the East Carolina Pirates to crank it up again. Itís time for that high flying offense to take flight. Itís time for that defense to create turnovers and give the offense a short field. Itís time to finish strong. ... More from Brian Bailey...


Audio: The Brian Bailey Show

The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. Brian's guest this week was ECU recruiting coordinator and inside receivers coach Donnie Kirkpatrick (right): Replay show...


Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly Presser

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the media at his weekly press conference on Monday as the Pirates prepare to hit the road to face Cincinnati on Thursday (courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250; file photo): Select clip...



Hard lesson learned the hard way

One game does not a season make, or so the saying goes. And in the strictest sense of the word, East Carolinaís season didnít actually end as a result of last Saturdayís stunning, self-inflicted 20-10 loss at Temple.  ... More from Brett Friedlander...



Pirates regroup from Philly fumbles

Al Myatt

The 24-hour rule that serves as a buffer between games expired Sunday after East Carolina's 20-10 loss at Temple on Saturday. The span increased to 48 hours and then 72 hours before the Pirates finally got back on the practice field Wednesday. ... More from Al Myatt...



15 Questions for Terry Whisnant

Akeem Richmond may be gone but Terry Whisnant is set to continue East Carolina's outside shooting prowess. Whisnant transferred from Florida State after averaging 2.1 points and 7.7 minutes for a Seminoles team that won the Atlantic Coast Conference Tournament his freshman year. His numbers at FSU improved to 5.2 points and 17.2 minutes as a sophomore when he made 35.6 percent of his 3-point tries. ... More from W.A. Myatt...

Pictured: ECU junior Terry Whisnant is ready for action after sitting out a year under NCAA transfer rules. The Cherryville native played his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida State. His skill at shooting from long range is expected to be a key asset for the Pirates as they make their debut in the American Athletic Conference. (ECU Media Relations photo)




Inside Game Day | Coach Ruff Post-game Audio...

AAC SCOREBOARD >>> ..... | Friday > Memphis 40, Tulsa 20 (ESPNU) ..... Cincinnati 38, Tulane 14 (ESPN2) ..... | Saturday > Temple 20, ECU 10 (ESPNN) ..... UConn 37, UCF 29 (CBSSN) ..... Houston 27, USF 3 (ESPNN) ..... .....

Owls become Temple of Doom

Al Myatt

PHILADELPHIA ó The statistics told a convoluted tale after 60 minutes of college football at Lincoln Financial Field, home of the Philadelphia Eagles, on Saturday. When East Carolina outgains an opponent 432 to 135 in total yardage, the assumption would be that the Pirates won handily. ... More from Al Myatt...

CHILLY PHILLY: Fans were sparse on Saturday at the East Carolina-Temple game in dreary Philadelphia. Road games before meager crowds have typically created a difficult environment for the Pirates to perform well, a scenario that was punctuated as the Owls took advantage of penalties and weather-assisted turnovers to deal ECU its first American Athletic Conference loss in the cold, rainy conditions at Lincoln Financial Field. The announced attendance at the 69,176-seat home of the NFL's Eagles was 22,130. [Al Myatt photo]

Audio: Ruff Post-game

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill spoke with the press after the Pirates' upset loss to Temple on Saturday (recorded by Al Myatt; file photo): Select audio clip...

By Greg Vacek
©2014 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

View ECU's Football Schedule


Some say Thursday night is the start of the weekend. Will it be the start of a new streak for the East Carolina Pirates?

Jimbo Fisher, owner of college footballís longest active winning streak at 24 games, recently sized up the difficulty of stringing together victories.

"[Winning] is so much harder than we make it seem to be out there,Ē said the Florida State coach. ďIf it wasnít, guys would be undefeated all the time. Ö Why do you think Iím nervous every week? A college kid Ė think of all the things that went through your head at that age. Itís a challenge every week to control their minds to bring them to focus, to understand how to be consistent. Thatís the hard thing.Ē

It seems that East Carolina's non-traditional schedule has become the norm for teams as their conferences allow television to dictate times and dates. ECU has six non-football Saturdays this season, which is good for me to be able see my kidsí soccer games, but not necessarily good for a college football team that relies on structure and familiar routines to keep the kids focused.

The Pirates, after competing their third and final bye week of the 2014 season, have had 11 days to rest, reflect, retool and refocus heading into a stretch run that will help determine who is eventually crowned the American Athletic Conference champion.

Memphis currently leads the pack with a 4-1 league record, followed by Cincinnati, ECU and Central Florida all at 3-1. That makes the Pirates' Thursday night matchup with the Bearcats an important one.

Have the Pirates exorcised the Thursday Night Demons? Historically the Pirates havenít taken full advantage coming off of open weeks, winning only nine of their last 13 opportunities.

One of ESPNís original Thursday night trailblazers, ECU has won its last two primetime Thursday contests but has not been spectacular over the long run, posting a 6-8 record. UC has played 14 Thursday night games, holding an 11-3 mark with an 8-1 record at home.

East Carolina is 17-19 in non-Saturday games since 2000. Surprisingly, the Pirates have been better on the road, compiling an 11-9 record in foreign venues compared to a 6-10 slate at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The Piratesí series with Cincinnati resumes after a 10-year hiatus since the Bearcats departed Conference USA. ECU holds a 12-5 all-time series advantage. ECU dominated the early years with seven straight victories, including five of eight in Nippert Stadium.

The teams played yearly from 1986-2004 with the exception of 1996 and 2000. UC won the most recent three meetings ó in 2002, '03 and '04 ó when both schools were members of C-USA.

The 2002 game marked a controversial point in the ECU football program's history. The Bearcats defeated ECU 42-26 in a season-ending Friday night contest in Greenville. Steve Logan, the Pirates' all-time winningest coach, was fired the morning after the game. Logan had complained publicly about timing of the game, which was televised during the prep football playoffs to the consternation of the N.C. High School Athletics Association.

The John Thompson era, an abbreviated two-year span during which ECU recorded a 3-20 record, debuted on a Monday night the following season with a 40-3 thumping by the Bearcats. Thompson's final season included a 24-19 loss to Cincinnati among the Pirates nine defeats in 2004.

ECUís last victory over the Bearcats came in 2001 with David Garrard and Leonard Henry leading the way in a 28-26 nail-biter on the road.

Thursday will mark the third time this season that the Pirates will be playing in an NFL stadium. Earlier appearance on the turf of the pros were at South Florida (the Tampa Bay Bucs' Raymond James Stadium) and at Temple (the Philadelphia Eagles' Lincoln Financial Field).

While venerable Nippert Stadium is undergoing an $86 million renovation and expansion, the Bearcats are playing all of their  2014 home games at the Cincinnati Bengals' Paul Brown Stadium. The Bearcats began playing on the site where Nippert Stadium rests way back in 1902, making it the fourth oldest playing site for college football in the nation.

UC athletic director Mike Bohn told the Cincinnati Enquirer that the school has 26,000 tickets out for the ECU game and is hoping to reach 29,000 for this important matchup. But with temperatures for Thursday expected to top out at 36 degrees before falling throughout the game ó and with ESPN2 cameras beaming the contest to home TVs ó the attendance could be significantly lower.

For a chance to win in the frigid conditions, the Pirates need to heat up and put together an all-around better performance than they did in their five-turnover penalty-fest against Temple in chilly Philly.

Cincinnati quarterbacks Munchie Legaux and Gunner Kiel both will see playing time at quarterback against ECU and both are capable of giving the Pirates problems. Kiel has started all eight games but has been hampered by bruised ribs). He leads the American in passing TDs (20) and passing efficiency (154.5).

Legaux, who suffered a serious leg injury in the second game of the 2013 season, has helped the Bearcats improve to 5-3 overall with effective performances in relief of Kiel in the last two games.

Shane Carden and company will have to look out for an improving UC defense that has forced nine turnovers in the last three games after forcing only six in its first five contests.

The challenge for the Pirates is now to move on from their loss to Temple and put all the baggage that came with it behind them. Donít let a team beat you twice.

With four games remaining, East Carolina still has a chance to control its own destiny. Win out and they clinch at least a share of the American title in their first season in the conference. Not bad for a team that was picked fourth in the Preseason AAC poll.

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11/16/2014 02:01 AM