PRE-GAME ANALYSIS

Keys to the Game
Thursday, November 13, 2014

By Kevin Monroe

For the ninth straight year, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate IMG Sports Network, provides ďKevinís Keys to The Game.Ē In his weekly breakdown of what East Carolina must do to beat its upcoming opponent, Monroe brings a unique perspective as a member of the broadcast team and as a former star defensive back for the Pirates (1995-99).

East Carolina at Cincinnati

7 pm | Paul Brown Stadium (cap. 65,535) | TV: ESPN2

GAME DAY WEATHER

The East Carolina equipment crew will be challenged to keep the football Pirates as warm as possible tonight in Cincinnati. The temperature for the 7 p.m. kickoff at Paul Brown Stadium is expected to be 29 degrees with West winds at six miles per hour. The mercury will drop to 27 by the end of the American Athletic Conference matchup. Humidity is projected to be 54 percent at the outset and 66 percent by the conclusion. Winds are expected to still be West at six miles per hour at game's end. There is a zero percent change of precipitation, according to the forecast. Compared to the Temple game Nov. 1 in Philadelphia when chilly, rainy and breezy conditions helped produce five lost ECU fumbles, it will be drier, colder and not as windy tonight. (Filed by Al Myatt)

Full-size radar loop Scientific forecast
 

American Football Schedule

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)
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) ..... .....
 
 

FOOTBALL

A primetime chance to spring back

Some say Thursday night is the start of the weekend. Will it be the start of a new streak for the Pirates? Jimbo Fisher, owner of college footballís longest active winning streak at 24 games, recently sized up the difficulty of stringing together victories. ... More from Greg Vacek...

 

FOOTBALL

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...

MULTIMEDIA

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...
 

MULTIMEDIA

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...

 

FOOTBALL

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...

 

FOOTBALL

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...

 

FOOTBALL SPECIAL FEATURE

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)

 

FOOTBALL GAME CENTER

TEMPLE 20, EAST CAROLINA 10

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...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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By Kevin Monroe
©2014 Bonesville.net
All rights reserved.

View ECU's 2014 football schedule

East Carolina will face off against Cincinnati tonight in Paul Brown Stadium just off the Ohio River. The last time ECU took the field, it fumbled its way out of the top 25. It was a cold, windy, rainy day in Philadelphia. The Pirates never seemed to adjust to the conditions but Temple had no problem. Todayís forecast wonít include rain, but the wind and cold will be there and it will be 10 to 15 degrees colder than it was in Philly. Thanks to UConnís upset win over Central Florida, the Pirates still control their own destiny in the American Athletic Conference.

Cincinnati has a high-powered offense that can score at any time. Defensively the Bearcats have struggled some, but in conference play they have stepped up, only giving up 11 points per game in their last three outings.

If ECU wants to keep its league aspirations intact, it will need to follow this script:

PROTECT THE BALL

This is the third straight week that protecting the football has been in my keys. Maybe deep down, I knew the Temple game was coming. Honestly, though, if you turn the ball over five times, itís a strong indicator that you will lose the game regardless of the opponent. Breon Allen had three fumbles against the Owls and had ECU fans holding their breath every time he carried the ball. It will be imperative that the Pirates fight through the weather conditions and take care of the pigskin tonight. Shane Carden mentioned that the wind affected him some against Temple. It could be a problem tonight, but the lack of rain could help the passing game find some success.

FIND A RHYTHM

ECU rolled up over 400 yards of offense against the Owls as it usually does, but the turnovers kept the Pirates from maintaining any type of rhythm. Big chunks of yards and multiple first downs erased by untimely fumbles really stunted opportunities for points. If the Pirates are going to win this game, they will need to keep those chains moving and get into that offensive tempo that they are known for. The key to that tempo will be running the football. Being able to run the ball opens up everything for Lincoln Rileyís offense and opens the door to success on the final scoreboard. While Breon had a tough day last time out, Chris Hariston excelled, having the biggest rushing day of his career.

THIRD DOWN DEFENSE

Getting off the field on third down tonight will be huge. The Bearcats are converting an impressive 42 percent on third down. They are also averaging over 300 yards passing and 465 total yards. If the Pirates donít get pressure on the quarterbacks or play well in the back end, they will have a hard time winning. The defensive backs struggled against Temple and will need to show up tonight in a big way. The front seven has continued to flourish for this ECU team, playing tough against the run and controlling the line of scrimmage.

BOTTOM LINE

Tonightís game is a key one in the AAC race and the winner will be in a position to plow ahead toward the conference championship. I know that seems like a lot of pressure, but there are only four games remaining. Tonightís game will start to separate the contenders from the pretenders.

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11/16/2014 02:02 AM
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