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ISSUE NO. 6

home game edition east carolina

vs .

southern miss


Chair-man of the bored One Pirate fan decided to beat the crowd and get to his seat early. Really early. photo by forrest croce

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game 6 - ECU vs. southern miss - 2011


east carolina university

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Hoist the colors! Pirate Cheerleader Daniel Kellam sprints to get the ECU flag flying as he leads the team onto the field during the entrance ceremony. photo by jay clark

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game 6 - ECU vs. southern miss - 2011


east carolina university

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IR #2 justin hardy purple! OFfensive player of the game Despite missing the last two weeks with a leg injury, redshirt freshmen wide receiver Justin Hardy is the Pirate’s second leading pass-catcher in 2011. With Lance Lewis out with a right foot injury, Hardy is Dominique Davis’ new go-to target. On Saturday, Hardy answered the call grabbing a game high-seven catches for 64 yards. The Vanceboro product found the end zone for his fourth touchdown catch of the season in the third quarter against the Golden Eagles.

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game 6 - ECU vs. southern miss - 2011


football

MISS’d

opportunity turnovers, special-teams errors cost pirates dearly against strong southern miss team

photo by jay clark

STORY BY STEPHEN M cNULTY

The Pirates limped into Saturday’s match-up against division rival Southern Miss, battered and bruised coming off a three-game win-streak. But ECU quickly retreated and a shot at the conference title is now seemingly out of their grasp. Even without senior offensive lineman Doug Polochak, leading rusher Reggie Bullock, leading receiver Lance Lewis, and defensive standout Marke Powell on Saturday, the Pirates jumped out to an early lead. But after two interceptions, a punt return for a touchdown, and a blocked punt that found it’s way to the end zone as well, there was little the Pirates could do to come out on top in the 48-28 loss. ECU fell to 4-5 overall and 3-2 in Conference USA. The Golden Eagles improved to 8-1 on the season and 4-1 in conference play. The Pirates must win out and USM has to lose two of their final three games in order for the Pirates to have a chance to play the expected winner of the West Division, Houston, for the C-USA Championship. It took less than a minute for the Pirates to get on the board. On the second offensive play of the game for ECU Dominique Davis found Reese Wiggins on a quick screen. After making a USM defender miss, it was off to the races. Nobody would catch the sophomore, and he took it 72 yards for the score. east carolina university

The Pirate defense answered with a three-and-out, and the announced sell-out crowd of over 50,000 shook Dowdy-Ficklen. Unfortunately for Pirate Nation, there wasn’t much more to cheer about. Davis and the Pirate offense efficiently marched down the field. A Danny Webster screen and Torrance Hunt rush got the Pirates inside the Southern Miss 10 yard line. But the following pass from Davis popped off the receiver’s chest, into the air, and eventually landed in the hands of USM defender Jamie Collins. No Pirate would catch Collins as he returned the interception 97 yards for the score. The 14-point swing seemed to take the air right out of the stadium. “We’re beating ourselves,” says head coach Ruffin McNeill. “It’s not anything they’re doing, it’s something that we’re not doing and I have to get that corrected.” Tied at seven, the Pirate offense remained on the field. Not much would come of it this time, and ECU was forced to punt after three plays. The Pirates opted to try a shorter rugby-style punt to keep the ball from USM returner Tracy Lampley. Unfortunately for ECU, Lampley was there to field the punt, but the Pirate coverage team failed to get set and Lampley took the kick 60 yards to the house. “I got a little bit too much air under it and the returner PURPLE! 7


DB #38 emmanuel davis purple! DEfensive player of the game Emanuel Davis has been a standout defensive back for the Pirates throughout his career. On Saturday, Davis tallied eight tackles, trailing only Jeremy Grove for the Pirates. ECU held Southern Miss to just 162 yards through the air, and over the course of the season the pass defense has been much improved since last year. Davis also played a major role in limiting the Golden Eagles to just three for 10 on third down.

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game 6 - ECU vs. southern miss - 2011


football

multi-tasker

photo by jay clark (2)

Inside receiver #33 Danny Webster used a combination of receptions, kickoff returns, and punt returns to earn his 71 yards for the game. Outside receiver #15 Reese Wiggins went for 85 yards and one touchdown, while inside receiver #22 Michael Bowman led the team with 92 yards.

was up a bit closer than I thought he would be,” punter Phil McNaughton says. “It’s obviously not a good situation when that ball is fielded and he took it back. It’s disappointing.” As the Pirate defense continued to sit idly by on the sidelines, the offense took the field again. For a second time, the drive would stall and McNaughton and the punting unit would take the field. This time, though, the fault was not on McNaughton. The Australian import didn’t have nearly enough time to get the kick off as a barrage of Golden Eagles broke through the line. Reggie Hunt got his hand on the kick and Emmanuel Johnson scooped up the loose ball and returned it for the score. Despite just three offensive plays, Southern Miss found themselves up 21-7. east carolina university

With 182 total yards for the Pirates, and just seven for USM, the Pirates again were forced to punt. This time, it was a successful kick. The game never seemed to get back within reach for the Pirates. USM started the second quarter with the ball and would eventually find the end zone on an Austin Davis screen pass to Jamal Woodyard. Trailing 28-7 with more than 13 minutes to play in the second quarter, it was hard for Pirate fans to believe that they were on the brink of a two-possession lead not long ago. A 15-play drive that resulted in a Davis rushing touchdown got the Pirates within striking distance, but the Golden Eagles answered right back, notching a 23-yard field goal to cap an eight-play 80-yard drive. With hopes dwindling for the Pirates on the field, the PURPLE! 9


you incomplete me Defensive back #26 Derek Blacknall breaks up a pass to USM’s wide receiver #9 Chris Briggs. Defensive Back Bradley Jacobs, #3, assists on the play.

fans followed suit. The once raucous crowd shrank to a mediocre gathering and Dowdy-Ficklen appeared to lose any influence it may have had. The Pirates rank dead last in the nation in turnovers with 27. Thirteen of those have come in the form of an interception off the arm of Davis, including a Deron Wilson 79-yard pick six with under four minutes remaining in the second quarter. Any air left in Dowdy-Ficklen was now officially gone. Southern Miss’ 38 points in the opening half was the most the Pirates have allowed since giving up 42 at West 10 PURPLE!

Virginia in 2004. Adding insult to injury, 28 of those points came without the Golden Eagles offense even on the field. What opened as the most important game of the season for the Pirates trudged on as a game many hoped they’d soon forget. Davis would add a touchdown pass to Justin Hardy, and USM would add another touchdown and a field goal before Alex Owah’s late score. But the game never seemed to regain its intensity. The Pirates, with their fourth straight 400-yard game 6 - ECU vs. southern miss - 2011


photo by forrest croce

u p ne x t:

UTE P

photo by jay clark

nove m b e r 12 , 2 011

game, outgained the Golden Eagles, who managed just 299 yards of total offense. Also, ECU possessed the ball for more than 10 minutes longer than USM, and the Pirate defense held Southern Miss to just 3 of 10 on third down. “We just have to win these last three games and be bowl eligible,” says Davis. “You never know what can happen. We have to just stay the course and anything can happen.” east carolina university

The Pirates travel to El Paso, Texas, to take on UTEP this Saturday at 8:00 p.m. The Miners are 4-5 overall and 1-4 in Conference USA play this season. UTEP will be coming off of back-to-back losses to Southern Miss and Rice when they match up with the Pirates. Junior quarterback Nick Lamaison, who has 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 2011, leads the Miners. Last week against Rice, Lamaison went 16 for 29 for 294 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Lamaison found his favorite target this season, Mike Edwards, seven times against the Owls for 187 yards and two touchdowns. The Pirates should be able to overpower the less than impressive Miners. However, if ECU doesn’t rebound from the disappointing loss to USM they can fall victim to the Miners balanced attack. UTEP has two running backs with at least 75 carries and another with nearly 50. Senior back Leilyon Myers has nine rushing touchdowns for the Miners on 79 carries. The 6-foot, 230-pound back could cause nightmares for the Pirates in the red zone. A change of pace from Myers, fellow senior back Joe Banyard has carried the ball 75 times for the Miners. Although he has only found the end zone three times this season, Banyard has runs of 72, 68, and 60 yards. If the Pirates hold onto the football against UTEP they should come away from El Paso with the win. A victory against the Miners brings the Pirates back to .500 with a home match-up versus Central Florida and the season finale at Marshall. Wins in two of the final three games could send the Pirates to their sixth-straight bowl game.

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fan-cam

Max Crotts ’10, left, and Adam Baker ’07 mug for the papparazzi during the game against Southern Miss. Attendance for the game was recorded at 50,345, but many Pirate fans chose to jump ship at halftime after USM posted 38 points to ECU’s 14 points in the first two quarters. It was also Military Appreciation Day at Dowdy-Ficklen, and fans were treated to a flyover by two F-15E Strike Eagles from Seymour Johnson AFB. fan photogame by forrest croce/f-15E photo by jay clark 12 PURPLE! 2 - ECU vs. virginia tech - 2011

PURPLE! Home Game Edition 6  

East Carolina vs. Southern Miss, November 5, 2011