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Keys to the Game
Friday, September 4, 2009

By Kevin Monroe

Appalachian St. at ECU
Saturday, Sept. 5, 2009, 12 p.m.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville

For the fourth straight year, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,” his weekly breakdown of what East Carolina must do to beat its upcoming opponent. Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task as a member of the broadcast team and as a former star defensive back for the Pirates (1995-99).

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East Carolina can defeat Appalachian State if it accomplishes these key objectives:

  1. Strike Fast

    East Carolina needs to come out of the gates quickly. The opening drive needs to make a statement and attempt to break the spirit of the Mountaineers. The longer the Apps stay in the game, the more dangerous they will become. The Pirates are fully aware of what the Mountaineers are capable of offensively. After three straight national championships in the Football Championship Subdivision and a shocking upset victory on the road over the Michigan Wolverines in 2007, ECU knows not to take them lightly. Even though star quarterback Armanti Edwards probably won’t play, the Mountaineers still have plenty of firepower on offense.

  2. Dominate the Trenches

    The way to win this game is to control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. The Pirates will be the bigger team on the offensive and defensive lines, but that will mean little if they get out-schemed. Appalachian State coach Jerry Moore is used to having smaller offensive linemen that are quick and agile and work efficiently in the spread offensive attack. C.J. Wilson and Scotty Robinson and the rest of the veteran Pirate defensive line will need to stay in their rush lanes and play disciplined football to make sure they are not out-flanked by the Mountaineers' crafty offense. Backup quarterback DeAndre Pressley played in nine football games last year and accounted for 314 yards of offense in his lone start.

  3. Protect the Football

    If the Pirates don’t turn the ball over, they will be tough to beat — but turnovers can change everything. Thursday night, N.C. State fumbled on its first possession and never recovered as it suffered a 7-3 home loss to South Carolina. Patrick Pinkney, ECU's seasoned QB, makes very smart decisions when passing but can be careless when scrambling. Pinkney led the team in fumbles last season. Appalachian State can even the playing field with the Pirates if it is opportunistic and comes up with turnovers.

  4. Avoid the Big Play

    The Mountaineers have a ton of talent at the skill positions and they could pop for a big play at any time. Wide receivers CoCo Hillary and Brian Quick were among the team's leaders last season in receiving touchdowns, and Hillary led the Apps in all-purpose yards with over 1,400. Hillary and Quick are just two of many weapons that will be on the field for the Mountaineers. The ECU defense will need to minimize gains of 20 yards or more and make Appalachian State earn every point it gets.

The Bottom Line

East Carolina will be the bigger, more talented team on the field on Saturday. If it runs the football effectively with Brandon Jackson, Jonathan Williams and Dominique Lindsay and contains the Mountaineers running game, it should win this game by a couple of touchdowns. The X-Factor will be Jerry Moore’s offense and quarterback DeAndre Pressley. There isn’t much film on Pressley and he has the athletic ability to do some damage if given time. Expect a good game early. The Mountaineers won’t come into Dowdy–Ficklen Stadium and give up. They will fight for 60 minutes.

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09/04/2009 04:13:20 AM


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