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FIRST BLOOD Freshman inside receiver Justin Hardy dives for the endzone to score the Pirates’ first touchdown of the game with 3:13 left on the clock in the first quarter. The touchdown, which followed a 25-yard reception from Dominique Davis, was also Hardy’s first as a Pirate. photo by doug smith


game 1 - ECU vs. south carolina - 2011

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Drive to Survive Quarterback Dominique Davis runs in for a touchdown after an impressive 80-yard offensive drive in the third quarter bringing the Pirates within four points of South Carolina, 31–35. The Gamecocks would go on to defeat ECU 56–37. photo by jay clark


game 1 - ECU vs. south carolina - 2011

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LB #59 Daniel Drake purple! defensive player of the game Junior Daniel Drake took the lead with 14 tackles Saturday night against the Gamecocks. Drake transferred from our Conference USA rival Marshall prior to the 2010 season, and he looks to fit in well at inside linebacker in the Pirates 3–4 scheme.


game 1 - ECU vs. south carolina - 2011


fowl play pirates drop opener to south carolina, 56–37 STORY BY STEPHEN McNULTY • PHOTOGRAPHS BY JAY CLARK

Coming off an up and down 2010 season, the Pirates looked to open this year with a good start last Saturday night against the South Carolina Gamecocks. South Carolina began the game with the ball and sophomore Connor Shaw at quarterback instead of their experienced, but troubled, senior Stephen Garcia. The Pirates debuted their new 3–4 defense after a disappointing 2010 season where the Pirates ranked in the bottom three in yards and points allowed per game. South Carolina slowly marched down the field despite two very nice deflections by safety Derek Blacknall and a sack by sophomore Derrell Johnson. The Gamecocks made it inside the Pirates 20, but on the 14th play of the drive junior linebacker Marke Powell jarred the ball loose from a running Shaw and Chris Baker pounced on it. The high-powered ECU offense that finished seventh in the nation in passing yards per game in 2010 sputtered in their first drive of the season and punted the ball right back to USC; however, both teams struggle to get anything going offensively. On the first play of South Carolina’s second drive, the Pirates found the ball rolling around on the turf again, which became a common scene throughout the night. Lattimore ran a dive straight into the heart of the Pirate defense, and when it was all said and done, freshman Terry Williams emerged with the football. The Pirates opened the drive inside Gamecock territory, and Dominique Davis found freshman Justin east carolina university

Hardy to convert on a third and short. Davis again connected with Hardy in the middle of the field and the freshman did the rest of the work as he leapt between two defenders and stretched the ball across the goal line for the first score of the game. A penalty on the ensuing kickoff pinned USC on their 10-yard line and the Pirates continued to blitz the inexperienced quarterback. Another three-and-out resulted and Shaw headed to the bench for the night. Prior to the game USC head coach Steve Spurrier said Shaw would start the game and that Garcia would play the second quarter. The second half would be up for grabs. ECU began another drive close to midfield and moved the ball into the red zone behind an 18-yard scamper from transfer Reggie Bullock. On the second play of the second quarter, Davis found his favorite target. Davis lofted the ball up for his 6–3 senior receiver Lance Lewis, who beat All-SEC cornerback and All-American candidate Stephon Gilmore for the score, putting the Pirates ahead 14–0. Things continued to bounce the Pirates way after USC fumbled the kickoff and Ty Holmes came up with the football, marking the Gamecocks third fumble lost in just over a quarter of play. The Pirates moved the ball inside South Carolina’s ten yard line, but three consecutive plays by Gamecock freshman Jadeveon Clowney froze the offense and forced PURPLE! 7

spin cycle Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw goes horizontal on a hit by Pirate free safety Damon Magazu in the first quarter.


game 1 - ECU vs. south carolina - 2011


a 24-yard Mike Barbour field goal to stretch the lead to 17–0. Clowney was named South Carolina’s 2010 Mr. Football and was considered the consensus No. 1 recruit coming out of high school. Garcia led the Gamecocks out onto the field for their first drive of the second quarter. With his job on the line, the senior quarterback moved USC down the field. On a third down and three yards from the ECU 32 yard line, Garcia took a read option up the middle and through the Pirate defense for the Gamecocks’ first score of the game. “You could tell their guys were amped up,” says ECU freshman Jeremy Grove of Garcia entering the game. Bullock returned the following kickoff all the way to the 41-yard line before losing his hold on the ball, resulting in the first turnover of the game for the Pirates. Garcia again led the Gamecocks down the field and eventually into the end zone behind a four-yard Lattimore rush to cut the lead to 17–14. Despite the quick shift in momentum, the Pirates would not go away. Gilmore muffed a Ben Ryan punt on the South Carolina 29-yard line that was scooped up by Cliff Perryman of ECU with just over one minute to go in the first half. Davis and the Pirates quickly moved inside the USC 10-yard line with two strikes to Hardy and a completion to Lewis. With no timeouts and just three seconds left on the clock, Davis found senior Joe Womack for the eight-yard touchdown to stretch the lead back to ten, 24–14 at the half. ECU got the ball to start the third quarter, but it wasn’t long into the second half before the Pirates began to struggle. On the second play of the half, Davis found Lewis who fumbled the ball after being hit by Antonio Allen. Shaq Wilson recovered the loose ball for USC deep east carolina university

inside ECU territory. Garcia attacked quickly finding the highly touted Alshon Jeffrey for 25 yards. Three plays later, Garcia threw his first passing touchdown of the game again cutting the lead to three at 24–21. The mistakes started to pile on for the Pirates when center Doug Polochak failed to get the snap off of the ground resulting in the Pirates second turnover in just a matter of minutes. “That’s what hurts,” says Davis of the turnovers. “That’s what makes this offense so exciting though—those are the things you can correct.” Garcia spared little time before he scrambled up the middle of the defense and into the end zone for his second rushing touchdown of the game giving USC their first lead, 28-24. As they say, when it rains it pours, and that was definitely the case for the Pirates in the third quarter. On the team’s first offensive play after giving up the lead, Michael Dobson got held up by the USC defense and Allen emerged with the football and took it into the end zone for a shocking third straight touchdown for the Gamecocks. “[Playing] against a great team like that, there isn’t much room for error,” says head coach Ruffin McNeil. “We can’t mess up and give our defense extra possessions. We put our defense in a tough position.” The Pirates, particularly Davis, continued to show heart and poise despite the quick and drastic change of momentum. Davis led the Pirates back down the field with completions of 20 yards to Hardy, and then 30 yards to Lewis before taking the ball from seven yards out, making it 35–31. The Gamecocks responded with a heavy dose of Lattimore and eventually found the end zone for the sophomore’s second rushing score of the game. PURPLE! 9

ECU entered the fourth quarter within striking distance, but failed to get anything going before Lattimore could find the end zone for a third time. With the game nearly out of reach, the Gamecocks put the final nail in the coffin when Ace Sanders returned a Ryan punt for 68 yards and extended the lead to 56–31. Davis found Lewis once more for a score before the end of the contest, but Barbour failed on the PAT for a final score of 56-37. By surrendering 56 points to the Gamecocks, ECU has given up 40 or more points in six of their last seven games. Also, the Pirates have allowed over 280 yards on 10 PURPLE!

the ground and almost five rushing touchdowns per game over the last six games. Davis finished 37–56 for 260 yards and four touchdowns. Lewis caught a career-high of 13 catches for 108 yards and two scores, and Bullock added 67 yards rushing on 18 carries. Daniel Drake led all Pirates with 14 total tackles. Despite the tough loss the mood was high for the Pirates. “The team is very positive’” says Davis. “We’re so excited about what we can do if we just be ourselves. We’re going to go to work this week.” Virginia Tech travels to Greenville to take on the Pirates this Saturday. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. game 1 - ECU vs. south carolina - 2011

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Or #1 Lance lewis purple! offensive player of the game The preseason All-Conference outside receiver opened the 2011 campaign with a career high of 13 catches for 108 yards and two touchdowns for his fifth career multi-score game. In Lewis’s last seven games dating back to the 2010 season, he is averaging more than 100 yards per game and has nine touchdown grabs. This senior from Concord, North Carolina, has caught a touchdown in his last six games and 10 out of the last 11. east carolina university

Just a week after facing the 12th-ranked team in the nation, the Pirates will host the 13th-ranked team—the Virginia Tech Hokies. Over the past several years, the two teams have built a nice rivalry and Saturday’s game should not disappoint. Last season ECU traveled to Blacksburg, Virginia, to take on the ACC opponent. The Pirates got off to a fast start, jumping out to an early 10–0 lead. ECU went into the second half still up at 24–21, and added a field goal in the third quarter to stretch the lead to 27–21. But that would be the last of the points for the Pirates. Virginia Tech responded with four straight touchdowns to walk away with the 49–27 victory. Jonathan Williams led the Pirates with 109 total yards and two scores on the ground while Dwayne Harris added 10 catches for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Neither player will be on the field Saturday. Also missing from the field on Saturday will be former Virginia Tech quarterback and 2010 ACC Player of the Year Tyrod Taylor. Under center for the Hokies will be sophomore Logan Thomas. Thomas is a massive 6-foot-6-inches tall player weighing more than 250 pounds. The Lynchburg, Virginia, native entered Virginia Tech as the No. 1-rated tight end prospect, but made the transition to backup quarterback who also took snaps as a receiver in 2010. In the Hokies first game of the season, Thomas was 9–19 for 149 yards with two touchdowns against Appalachian State. It wasn’t the quarterback’s play that made the headlines in the Hokies 66–13 shellacking of ASU on Saturday, but rather junior running back David Wilson. It took less than a minute for Wilson to find the end zone for the first score of the game. He would add two more scores in second quarter for a grand total of 162 yards on 16 carries with the three touchdowns. Virginia Tech racked up more than 500 yards of total offense in their opening game, an alarming number for Pirate fans. ECU, who ranked near the bottom in nearly every defensive category last season, started the season off by giving up 56 points and more than 350 yards. Luckily for the Pirates, they will have preseason All-Conference corner Emanuel Davis back on the field after serving a one-game suspension. Also back from suspension for the Pirates, will be senior receiver Michael Bowman. If the Pirates want to shock Virginia Tech again like they did in 2008, they must play all four quarters. ECU may fly a “No Quarter” flag in the fourth quarter, but they have not owned the second half in a matchup with a BCS opponent (outside of rival NC State) in a few years. Both UNC and Virginia Tech outscored the Pirates 28–3 in the second half last season. In 2009, the Pirates were shutout in the final two quarters by West Virginia and only mustered up a field goal in the second half against both UNC and Virginia Tech. But as we all know the games are not played on paper, and with the high-powered offense of the Pirates, they are never out of striking distance. PURPLE! 11


58,272 fans packed the Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina, where ECU took on the No. 12-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks for the start of the 2011 Pirate Football season. The Pirates finished the first half with a 10-point lead, but the Gamecocks capitalized on several ECU turnovers, coming back to win 56–37. photo by jay clark 12 PURPLE! game 1 - ECU vs. south carolina - 2011

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