What a difference a week makes. Last Saturday’s win over
Houston in triple overtime has kept the Pirate season alive and makes
Saturday’s game in Birmingham against UAB another big one.
Steve Logan told his guys at halftime in Texas that they
were playing for their lives. Down 24-14 at the intermission these guys
showed a lot of heart in coming back.
Do you realize the Pirates scored thirty-seven points in the
last twelve minutes of regulation and the three overtime periods?
The offense is showing signs of maturing while the defense
needs a lot of work. Let’s not kid ourselves. When you give up 48, 44 and 46
points in the last three games, you can’t win consistently. Last Saturday
these Pirates managed to outscore Houston, but that kind of winning strategy
will not often succeed.
This week it’s on to UAB, and the environment will be even
more difficult than at Houston. The announced crowd at Houston was 13,669,
but that was generous. Robertson Stadium seats 32,000 and it was at best
only 30% full. At Legion Field Saturday you have a stadium that seats 80,391
and a similar crowd expected.
One thing you have to remember is that the Blazers are used
to playing in a nearly empty stadium. It’s kind of a goofy advantage for
them. Visiting teams who play before good crowds are the ones that need to
make all the adjustments.
East Carolina enters the game 3-5 overall and 3-1 in
Conference USA. UAB is 4-5 overall and 3-2 in the league. The Blazers of
Head Coach Watson Brown have lost two of their last three — to Tulane and
Southern Miss last week, with a win sandwiched in against Army. UAB is 2-1
against the Pirates.
The State of Alabama has not been kind to ECU. The painful
history includes a couple of bowl losses in Mobile and defeats at Legion
Field against both UAB and Alabama, plus losses at Auburn.
This is another must win game for the Pirates. You only get
so many opportunities in a season and then the final chapter has to be
written. Squandered games early on puts you in a situation where your back
is against the wall. That’s the case again this week.
News ‘n Notes from Pirate
Saturday’s game will be televised on WITN-TV 7 at 3:00
p.m. It will be our final football telecast of the year. Four games air on
WITN this season.
Pirate flex end Ben Thomas tells me that he remains close
to his famous cousin, Miami Dolphin linebacker, Zach Thomas. Ben’s
brother, John, punted at Virginia Tech in the mid 90’s.
The Pirate receiving corps is really starting to step it
up. Terrance Copper is getting better every week and is beginning to live
up to his potential. Torey Morris had a great game at Houston and now
leads the team with 26 receptions. Richard Alston has the big play
capability, and guys like Richard Hourigan, Tutu Moye and Edwin Rios are
all coming along.
Congratulations to Kevin Miller on becoming ECU’s all-time
leading scorer. Kevin surpasses Jeff Heath, who went into the ECU Hall of
Fame a couple years ago.
Saturday’s game is an important one for attendance next
week. A Pirate win and a showdown with streaking Texas Christian is set
for Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville. The Horned Frogs have cracked the
top 25 and have reeled off eight wins in a row. Gary Patterson’s team will
be well rested. They’re off this week.
Tuesday’s practice was in the stadium. “Lake Logan” used
to be the ECU practice fields. Thirty minutes of a hard rain and the
fields flood, including portions of the parking lot behind Ward Sports
This is the third of three straight road games. If you
want to see the country, join Conference USA. Unless you’ve been to
Houston, it’s hard to explain how large it really is. The “Bayou City” is
the fourth largest in America.
Talk about far flung leagues. If you’re at Louisiana Tech,
one of your conference games is against Hawaii. That’s four hours
difference in time zones. That’s life in the WAC.
Don’t forget Sunday. The Steve Logan Show airs on WITN-TV
7 at 11:30 a.m. WRPX Channel 47 in Raleigh airs the show at 1:00 p.m. The
coach joins me Sunday night at 7:00 p.m. for our radio call-in show, which
can also be heard the next day on Bonesville.net.