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Keys to the Game
Friday, October 28, 2011

By Kevin Monroe

C-USA Standings & Scoreboard

ECU Schedule, Scores, Attendance

East Carolina vs. Tulane
Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 • 3:30 p.m.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000), Greenville, NC
Television: WITN

For the sixth 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).

All Rights Reserved.

East Carolina can defeat Tulane Saturday afternoon if it achieves these key objectives:


The Pirates have outplayed their last two opponents where it matters most — at the line of scrimmage. They have pieced together an offensive line unit that has stepped up despite a number of injuries and the adjustments that had to be made. Doug Polochak went down and Josh Clark, who started the season as a backup at guard, has now started two games at center. Clark is the third center to start this season. Jordan Davis was injured and Steven Baker filled in, starting the last three games at left tackle. Davis came back from injury and has started two games at left guard, replacing the injured Adhem Elsawi. Halfway through the Memphis game, this unit came together and has done a great job ever since in the run game and pass protection.

On the defensive side of the ball, it is no different. The Pirates need to control the line of scrimmage. They cannot allow Tulane’s running backs to have a good day on the ground and they must put pressure on junior quarterback Ryan Griffin.


East Carolina’s goal each week is to get 100 plays on offense. It is a very lofty goal that has yet to be achieved this season. Last week’s game at Navy had the Pirates running 89 plays, the most this season and the only time over 80 since the opener against South Carolina. Reaching 100 is symbolic, but what it really means is that the Pirates are moving the ball, getting first downs, piling up yards and most likely scoring points. Running that many plays would also mean dominating time of possession. Moving the chains equals winning. Only good things come from eating up clock and gaining positive yardage.


East Carolina has won 11 of its last 12 Conference USA home games and 16 of its last 19. Saturday’s game is Homecoming and another opportunity for the Pirates to play at home before a capacity crowd. As a player, you only get 24 home games in a four-year career and every one of them is special. Dowdy-Ficklen and the Boneyard have developed into one of the best stadium environments in the country.

ECU is 8-2 all-time against Tulane and has won on all six occasions when the Green Wave visited Greenville. Later this season the Pirates will also face Southern Miss and Central Florida in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, so they'll have the opportunity to leverage the home field advantage against a couple of their toughest remaining opponents. But first, it all starts with Tulane on Saturday.


The Pirates are well-positioned in the Conference USA standings at 2-1 and they are facing a 2-6 Tulane team that is struggling. Getting this league win would set ECU up nicely for next week's showdown at home with Southern Miss. As an analyst, I am allowed to look ahead, but the Pirate coaches and players need to take this game one play at a time. East Carolina has protected the football well over the last two weeks and will need to continue that on Saturday.

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10/28/2011 03:07:33 AM


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