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Rookie QB, big plays torpedo Pirates

By The Associated Press

GREENVILLE — Freshman Kevin Kolb threw two touchdown passes to Brandon Middleton and Anthony Evans added a 48-yard touchdown run as Houston beat East Carolina 27-13 Tuesday night.

Will Gulley had two interceptions for the Cougars (4-1), who won their Conference USA opener for the first time in three seasons. Under first-year coach Art Briles, Houston is off to its best start since winning the first eight games of the 1990 season.

Marvin Townes rushed for a career-high 118 yards for the Pirates (0-5, 0-2), who have lost seven straight games. East Carolina is off to its worst start since going 0-6 to start the 1986 season.

Kolb was 18-of-27 for 263 yards and has still thrown just one interception this season.

East Carolina had 200 total yards with quarterbacks Desmond Robinson and Paul Troth combining to go 10-of-27 with three interceptions.

The Pirates had struggled all season in just about every area, being outscored 160-29 and committing 16 turnovers in four games. The Pirates had committed five turnovers in each of the last three games.

They continued that trend Tuesday, with Robinson throwing two first-half interceptions before being pulled for Troth. The Cougars scored a touchdown and field goal on the ensuing possessions, helping them to a 20-10 halftime lead.

The Pirates got within 20-13 on a field goal by Cameron Broadwell early in the fourth quarter, but the Cougars sealed it with Evans' TD run down the right sideline.

Middleton gave Houston a 7-3 lead with his 30-yard touchdown catch. His 65-yard scoring play came 10 seconds after the Pirates had taken a 10-7 lead.

02/23/2007 10:52 AM

Copyright 2003 The Associated Press. contributed to this report.  All rights reserved.  This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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