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News Nuggets, 11.02.04
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Army game once again the charm for ECU honors


11.01.04: Games of interest: Hurricanes stall in Chapel Hill ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...
10.31.04: Games of interest: Hurricanes stall in Chapel Hill ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...
10.30.04: ECU shot-blocking wizard sidelined by thumb injury ... Utes tune out Meyer speculation, BCS chatter ... More...
10.29.04: Football grad rates keep Division I average from sinking ... Despite miscues, Hokies handle Georgia Tech ... More...
10.28.04: CBS, Fox poised to challenge ABC for BCS rights ... Injury sidelines prolific Blue Devils newcomer ... More...
10.27.04: Coaches predict Cards to dominate, Pirates to improve ... Seahawks undergo management shuffle ... More...
10.26.04: Mountain West outsider banging hard on BCS door ... Southern Miss dominates league's weekly awards ... More...
10.25.04: C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... Associated Press college football poll ... More...
10.24.04: Bearcats stagger heavily-favored Memphis ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...
10.23.04: Blue Raiders go hip-hop to fill empty seats ... No. 15 Louisville makes mince meat of Bulls ... More...
10.22.04: Black coaches issue report cards to Division I schools ... Mountaineers QB rumbles over Syracuse ... More...
10.21.04: Holland successor to head NCAA selection committee ... New BCS model already begging to be recalled ... More...
10.20.04: Cards shake off loss to Miami, target USF for payback ... McCants clarifies Chapel Hill 'jail' remarks ... More...
10.19.04: Utah earns lofty spot in BCS poll; Louisville, UAB on list ... Bad back hounds Marquette basketball coach ... ACC rolls out new seal, future division names ... More...
10.18.04: New look BCS to debut: Let the bickering begin ... C-USA standings, scoreboard, schedule & TV ... AP college football poll ... More...
10.17.04: Army streaking; C- USA, Carolinas scoreboard ... College football weekend: stars & storylines ... More...

Same month, same foe, same result one year later for East Carolina, and appropriately enough, a Pirate has once again earned one of Conference USA's individual weekly awards.

The league's media relations office announced Monday that quarterback James Pinkney has been named offensive player of the week for a sterling performance in ECU's 38-28 victory over Army last Saturday.

Pinkney accounted for 298 yards of total offense to lead the Pirates to their eighth win without a defeat in their series with Army.

Running back Marvin Townes was the last Pirate player to land the award, receiving the honor after ECU's 38-32 win over the Black Knights on Oct. 18, 2003.

Pinkney's Saturday outing against Army included 26 of 36 passing for 285 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.

So far this season, Pinkney has completed 126 of 228 passes for 1,446 yards and 12 touchdowns. He currently stands 29th nationally in pass completions per game (18.0).

Cincinnati swept both of the league's other weekly awards, with defensive end Andre Frazier and punter Chet Ervin picking up the defensive and special teams honors, respectively.

Thumbnail's of the week's award-winning performances:


James Pinkney, quarterback, East Carolina: Pinkney was 26-of-36 for 285 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions in ECU’s 38-28 win over Army. He matched his career high for completions and touchdown passes, while engineering a Pirate offense that scored 31 second-half points.


Andre Frazier, defensive end, Cincinnati: Frazier keyed the UC defense with eight total tackles, four of them solo, in the Bearcats' 21-10 win over Texas Christian. Frazier had one sack and two tackles for loss as UC held TCU, ranked 18th nationally in total offense and 11th in scoring offense, to a season low of 10 points.


Chet Ervin, punter, Cincinnati: Ervin punted seven times for a 44.3-yard average in Cincinnati's 21-10 win over TCU. Ervin aided the UC defensive effort by placing three of his punts inside the TCU 20 and two others at the 20.

Compiled from ECU Athletics and C-USA reports.

No. 25 Miners digging out of rut under Price

EL PASO — With Texas-El Paso racking up wins and cracking the rankings for the first time, coach Mike Price is prepared for the worst.

``Hopefully we don't move out because we don't play,'' he joked Monday, a day after UTEP made its Associated Press poll debut at No. 25.

The Miners (6-2, 4-1 Western Athletic Conference) are off this week after beating San Jose State 38-20 on Saturday. They're even 24th in the latest Bowl Championship Series standings.

While UTEP won't be busting the BCS anytime soon, Price has turned one of college football's perennial doormats into winners.

``That was our goal. I'm not shocked or surprised at where we're at,'' Price said Monday of the national ranking. ``It's just a great self-confidence builder.''

In the grander scheme of the college football landscape, than new-found confidence is coming at an opportune time, considering the program's announced departure from the WAC after this season for Conference USA.

The Miners were a team in need of a boost after winning only six games in the last three seasons.

Last year UTEP lost eight times by 28 or more points.

So the Miners took a chance on Price, a coach who lost the Alabama job and tarnished his reputation with one drunken night at a strip club last year. The longtime Washington State coach was fired by the Crimson Tide before ever coaching a game after his indiscretions in Florida were publicized.

Price was just looking for an opportunity to get back in the game, when UTEP came calling.

So far it's been a perfect fit.

``We got some pats on the back,'' Price said, ``and now we have to finish strong.''

Price's players have bought into his scheme, which emphasizes tough, disciplined defense while trying to develop the same wide-open offense that turned Ryan Leaf into a star at Washington State.

Senior linebacker Robert Rodriguez leads the defense, which has kept the team in games by allowing only 131.5 rushing yards per game and forcing 25 turnovers.

Rodriguez said the recognition is great, but he added, ``It's not going to help us win any games.''

The Miners secured just their fourth winning season since 1970 and second in the last 16 years by winning six of seven. UTEP's only losses have come to No. 16 Boise State and No. 23 Arizona State.

The rest of the schedule features teams at the bottom of the WAC — Rice, SMU and Tulsa. The last time the Miners won nine games was 1988 when they went 10-3. Their last winning season was 2000, when they played in the Humanitarian Bowl and lost to Boise State 38-23.

First up for the Miners is Rice's option attack. Price was glad to have an extra week to prepare for it.

``We do have three or four days to do nothing but work on the option,'' Price said. ``It takes a lot of time to study and a lot of attention from out players.''

Price's offense is developing on the arm of sophomore Jordan Palmer, brother of Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer, and the versatility of running back Howard Jackson.

Jackson is eighth in the nation with 1,169 all-purpose yards. The younger Palmer has been inconsistent at times with 11 interceptions, but has averaged 206 yards and thrown 14 touchdown passes.

``The thing he really needed was experience,'' Price said. ``He doesn't have to be the only guy, we're sharing the wealth a lot.''

Tar Heels savor first victory over Top 5 opponent

CHAPEL HILL — North Carolina coach John Bunting never lost faith in his players, unabashedly supporting them even while their mistakes and poor play led to more losses.

Finally, they rewarded him with the type of effort that just might save his job.

The Tar Heels beat a top five opponent for the first time, outgaining Miami by 130 yards and dominating in time of possession. Surprisingly, they did it without the benefit of a turnover or a sack, a solid 31-28 victory almost no one could have seen coming.

``I think it's a statement about how hard this team works and how much they care,'' Bunting said Sunday. ``I think it suggests that we have recruited well, and that we have a very resilient team.''

Connor Barth kicked a 42-yard field on the final play Saturday night to give North Carolina its biggest win in years, setting off a wild celebration on the field. Players and fans hugged each other or simply looked around in amazement, while Bunting tried futilely to find Hurricanes coach Larry Coker for a post-game handshake.

Both goal posts were torn down within minutes of the ball sailing through the uprights, and the only plea from the school was that they be left inside the stadium.

Sure enough, a couple of hours later, the pieces were piled up just outside the end zone.

``Dick Baddour said he would be glad to pay for them week in and week out,'' Bunting said of the Tar Heels' athletic director.

The Hurricanes were ranked fourth and came into the game as a three-touchdown favorite. Their second trip in as many weeks to Tobacco Road was supposed to be just as easy as the first, when they beat North Carolina State 45-31.

It didn't work out that way. Third-string Tar Heels tailback Chad Scott rushed for a career-high 175 yards and scored two touchdowns — including one after leaving briefly with a hip injury — and Darian Durant was 21-of-29 for 266 yards and two more scores.

They gained 545 yards — the most Miami had given up since 2000 — and drove 65 yards to set up the winning kick.

``I am very honored as a head coach to be out there with those kids,'' Bunting said. ``I was proud of the way those kids battled and hung in there. And then it comes down to a kick and our young freshman put it through.''

Bunting's status with North Carolina has been the subject of much speculation after he totaled only five victories and several lopsided losses in the past two seasons. Before stunning Miami, they lost 46-16 to Utah while allowing 669 yards.

Somehow, they rebounded, and now Bunting has North Carolina (4-4, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference ) solidly in the bowl picture. The remaining schedule features a home game next week against No. 18 Virginia Tech, then trips to Wake Forest and Duke.

``Everybody in our program is 100 percent behind John Bunting,'' North Carolina center Jason Brown said. ``That is our coach, and we love him to death. We're going to win out our season. And our coaching staff is going to be around here a very long time.''

But that comes later. Right now, Bunting and his players can enjoy one of the defining moments in the 117-year history of the program.

``I was speechless, in tears,'' Tar Heels wide receiver Jesse Holley said. ``My yell wouldn't even come out. I was trying to yell, wasn't nothing coming out. Wow.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically from staff, ECU, Conference USA and its member schools, and from Associated Press and other reports. Copyright 2004 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007

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