Keys to the Game
Saturday, November 29, 2014

By Kevin Monroe

For the ninth straight year, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate IMG Sports Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game.” 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 Tulsa

8:30 pm | H.A. Chapman Stadium (cap. 30,000) | TV: ESPNU


A South wind at 13 miles per hour could be a significant factor as East Carolina visits Tulsa for an 8:30 p.m. kickoff, Eastern time, tonight. The temperature will be a relatively-mild — compared to recent trips to Temple and Cincinnati — 54 degrees as the contest gets under way on ESPNU. There is a zero percent chance of precipitation, according to the forecast. The temperature will remain in the lower 50s for the duration of the American Athletic Conference matchup. Humidity will increase from a projected 62 percent to 74 percent during the game. The Pirates will be on the East sideline of Skelly Field. The breeze will be blowing from left to right as ECU faces the synthetic playing surface at H.A. Chapman Stadium. (Filed by Al Myatt)

Full-size radar loop Scientific forecast

American Football Scoreboard

UCF at USF, 12 pm (ESPN2)
Houston at SMU, 12 pm (CBSSN)
ECU at Tulsa, 8:30 pm (ESPNU)
Cincinnati at Temple, 12 pm (ESPNN)
UConn at Memphis, 4 pm (ESPNN)
LAST WEEK'S SCORES >>> ..... | Houston 38, Tulsa 28 (ESPN3) ..... UCF 53, SMU 7 (ESPNN) ..... ECU 34,  Tulane 6 (ESPN3) ..... Memphis 31, USF 20 (ESPNN) ..... Cincinnati 41, UConn 0 (CBSSN) ..... | .....


Kevin's Keys to the Game

East Carolina and Tulsa will face off tonight in an American Athletic Conference contest. ECU enters this game 7-3 against a 2-9 Golden Hurricane team. ... More from Kevin Monroe...


Familiar Foes Tangle

Familiar foes clash in the 12th meeting between Tulsa and East Carolina. The Pirates lead the series 6-5-0. East Carolina has won the last four meetings, including a 58-24 home victory last year. ... More from Greg Vacek...


Ruffin and stuffin'

Al MyattEast Carolina's football team observed Thanksgiving on Wednesday and will fly to Tulsa today for an American Athletic Conference game with the Golden Hurricane at 8:30 p.m. Eastern time on Friday. The contest may be seen on ESPNU. ... More from Al Myatt...


Hawaii edges East Carolina

ESTERO, FL — East Carolina overcame an 11-point second half deficit to lead Hawaii with 8:18 left in the fifth-place game in the Gulf Coast Showcase on Wednesday before the Rainbow Warriors responded with a 14-3 run en route to a 75-73 win over the Pirates. ... More...


Tyson helps ECU hold off Fresno

ESTERO, FL — Freshman guard B.J. Tyson scored East Carolina's last eight points, including all six of his free throw attempts down the stretch, as the Pirates held off Fresno State for a 58-52 win in the Gulf Coast Showcase on Tuesday afternoon. ... More...



Justin Hardy: A player for the ages

What a thrill it was to be on the sideline on Saturday when Justin Hardy set the all-time NCAA FBS record for career receptions. The former West Craven standout needed just four catches to break the all-time mark. ... 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 director of high school relations Harold Robinson: 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 visit Tulsa for a Friday night matchup (courtesy of Pirate Radio 1250): Select clip...



Green Bay tops ECU

ESTERO, FL — Short-handed East Carolina opened play in the Gulf Coast Showcase at high noon on Monday and was dealt a 66-49 setback by Green Bay. The Pirates were without versatile senior wing man Paris Roberts-Campbell due to a knee ailment and post player Marshall Guilmette because of a hip flexor injury. ... More...



Inside Game Day | Photos... | Post-game Audio...

AAC SCOREBOARD >>> ..... | Houston 38, Tulsa 28 (ESPN3) ..... UCF 53, SMU 7 (ESPNN) ..... ECU 34,  Tulane 6 (ESPN3) ..... Memphis 31, USF 20 (ESPNN) ..... Cincinnati 41, UConn 0 (CBSSN) ..... | .....

'Deuce' becomes No. 1

GREENVILLE — "Deuce" is how East Carolina football coach Ruffin McNeill refers to senior inside wide receiver Justin Hardy. It's because Hardy wears uniform No. 2. "Deuce" became No. 1 on Saturday, moving ahead of former Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles for the most career catches in Football Bowl Subdivision history. ... More from Al Myatt...

View W.A. Myatt's complete photo gallery...

Audio: Ruff & Hardy Post-game

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill and senior receiver Justin Hardy spoke with the press after the Pirates' win over Tulane on Saturday (recorded by W.A. Myatt): Select audio clip...

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By Kevin Monroe
All rights reserved.

View ECU's 2014 football schedule

East Carolina and Tulsa will face off tonight in an American Athletic Conference contest. ECU enters this game 7-3 against a 2-9 Golden Hurricane team. The Pirates got a much needed victory over Tulane last week at home after losing back to back games at Temple and Cincinnati. The ECU defense held the Green Wave without a touchdown and the offense put 34 points on the board. It was a total team victory.

Tulane isn’t as bad as its record implies. The Hurricane opened the season with a double-overtime win over Tulane and three weeks later lost an overtime game to Texas State. Since conference play got underway in earnest, Tulsa has played just about everyone tough, leading in the fourth quarter before falling to Temple and losing only two game by more than 10 points. Last week the Hurricane rolled for 416 yards in offense against Houston, the league's second best defensive team, and went into the game's final four minutes tied before the Cougars responded with a game-clinching drive.

Had a few plays gone differently during the course of the season, the Hurricane could have easily been .500 or better.

Playing on the road could make this a tough game for the Pirates, but they should win if they follow this script:


ECU’s running game has been very effective this season and it will need to get cranked up early tonight. The combination of Allen, Grayson & Scott overwhelmed the Green Wave a week ago and that type of performance is exactly what the coaches want to see. This offense thrives when multiple running backs with fresh legs are successful. Tulsa is giving up 218 yards rushing per game, which ranks among the worst in the conference and in the country. Running the ball early and often to keep the chains moving and put points on the board is exactly what the Pirates need to win this game.


The Golden Hurricane has only one senior starter on the offensive line, right guard David Walton. Even though Walton is a senior, he has only 14 starts in his career. The O-lineman with the most experience is tackle Garrett Stafford with 25 starts under his belt. The Tulsa offensive line has given up 25 sacks which averages out to more than 2 per game. The Pirates are coming off of their best defensive performance of the year and they can have another good outing tonight if they can put the heat on quarterback Dane Evans. Through 11 games, Evans is competing only 56 percent of his passes and has thrown 16 interceptions.


Too often this season the Pirates have been great between the 20s and then the offense shrinks in the red zone. Warren Harvey was 2-2 on field goal opportunities last week, but he has struggled this season. ECU needs to put the ball in the end zone when it gets close and not rely on field goals.


This game showcases a bowl-bound team against a down-on-its-luck opponent. The Pirates are 17-point favorites and should win, but once the game starts anything can happen. The Golden Hurricane is gaining 260 yards per game through the air and can put up points. If ECU runs the football effectively, puts pressure on the quarterback and converts trips to the red zone into touchdowns, it will win.

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11/28/2014 03:52 AM