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College Football in the Carolinas

View from the East
Thursday, October 18, 2001

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

One Streak Will End in Saturday's
East Carolina-Memphis Showdown


It’s another abbreviated schedule among the Division I-A teams in the Carolinas. There's a head-to-head matchup sending North Carolina to Clemson and Wake Forest gets a timely open date to mend some injuries, notably quarterback Anthony Young, who has a stress fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

Last week’s record was 4-1, which put the season mark at 23-13. That’s an improvement on the .500 performance of the previous two weeks. The picks would have been perfect if South Carolina hadn’t stubbed its toe at Arkansas.

Here are the breakdowns for this week's games:

Saturday, Oct. 20, 3:30 p.m.


East Carolina has never been 3-0 in Conference USA and the Pirates haven’t lost a Homecoming game since 1988. The Memphis game will bring one of those streaks to an end.

The Pirates haven’t forgotten a 17-10 loss at Memphis last season, which dropped ECU to 1-1 in the league.

“They kept us from winning the conference championship last year,” said ECU defensive tackle Ty Hunt. “We owe them something for that.”

The Tigers, under former Clemson coach Tommy West, will bring a new look to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. New offensive coordinator Randy Fichtner has brought big changes. Memphis's 52-33 win at Houston last week accounted for the Tigers’ highest point total since 1992.

“The Memphis team that we’re getting ready to encounter is typical in that they are very competitive on defense and have got a good kicking game,” said Pirates coach Steve Logan. “They are atypical in that they have discovered an offense...

“Over the last three or four years, they’ve been a constrictive-type of set, where they run the ball and control the clock and those types of things. They’ve turned the corner and are very well-orchestrated on offense. They’re going to spread you out and throw the little quick screens, a lot of misdirection in the backfield. They’ve done a really nice job of it and are scoring points at a rapid rate. It's going to be a test, as usual.”

Memphis had the nation’s best defense against the run a year ago and were fifth nationally in total defense. But three key performers on that unit, nose tackle Marcus Bell, free safety Idrees Bashir and cornerback Michael Stone, are now on NFL rosters.

The Tigers do have defensive tackle Albert Means, the transfer from Alabama who was allegedly auctioned off to the Crimson Tide by his high school coach for $200,000 cash. Means has 21 tackles for the Tigers.

“Their defensive backs are what stand out,” Logan said. “... They really are physical, they break up passes, they intercept balls, and they will come up and tattoo you on the run.”

The Tigers have a running back, Dante Brown, who is comparable to Leonard Henry. Brown, who was recruited twice by West, is averaging 101.5 yards per game.

Brown initially signed with Clemson when West coached there, but subsequently enrolled at Middle Georgia. West recognized Brown on a recruiting visit after he had moved to Memphis and signed him again.

“I didn’t need to see any tape,” West said. “I already knew he could run.”

Brown ran for 148 yards at Houston and had a school-record four rushing touchdowns.

Memphis starting quarterback Travis Anglin is doubtful with a shoulder ailment but he was capably replaced at Houston by freshman Danny Wimprine, who was 14 of 21 for 216 yards and two touchdowns.

After some early problems against the run, the Pirates have solidified that element of their defense.

“We’re stopping the run nicely now,” Logan said. “We have not given up long pass plays as a rule, though there's been one or two. The next piece of the puzzle is for us to be a little more efficient in the intermediate passing game. If we can get that done, I think we can step forward.

“Maybe that’ll happen this week. It'll be tested this week because these guys run a lot of mis-directions, a lot of what we call ‘nakeds’ where you fake one way and the quarterback comes out unprotected, throwing crossing routes. We’ve got to do a better job of getting underneath those routes than we did the last two weeks.”

The remaining element that has been missing for ECU has been the play of the receivers, which have hindered senior quarterback David Garrard from having a showcase season for NFL scouts.

Four receivers saw the first action of their careers in last week’s 49-26 win at Army but failed to distinguish themselves.

“All the new guys did was get in the game Saturday,” Logan said. “They didn’t really do anything other than try to get lined up, which they didn't do very well, and tried to run a route, which they didn’t do very well. But that was basically expected because that was their first time on the field. They've got to do better this week and come on and give us a little bit more meaningful help. The older wide receivers played a very good football game.”


Logan is hopeful offensive guard Chris Nelson will return from a fractured tibia this week and that cornerback Kelly Hardy will return from a strained knee. ... Leonard Henry leads the nation in yards per carry, 9.2, and is averaging 135.2 yards per game, eighth nationally. ... ECU leads the series 7-3. ... ECU linebacker Pernell Griffin needs 32 more tackles to become the Pirates’ career leader. ... Marvin Townes is averaging 32.2 yards per kickoff return, third nationally. ... Memphis is a plus-9 on turnovers this season. The Tigers have intercepted 10 passes while throwing just one.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: There will be a lot more offense than last year’s matchup.

PREDICTION: East Carolina 38, Memphis 31.

Saturday, Oct. 20, Noon


UNC has a four-game winning streak but has traditionally struggled at Death Valley where the Tigers have won eight of the last nine over the Tar Heels. The exception was a 17-10 UNC win in 1997.

The Tar Heels will have their hands full defensively with Tigers quarterback Woody Dantzler, who has legitimized Clemson’s Heisman Trophy campaign on his behalf with 935 yards of total offense in the last two games.

“This guy (Dantzler) is a tailback, a dropback passer, with waggles and with the option,” said Clemson coach Tommy Bowden. “That’s what separates him from the pack.”

John Bunting has the Heels (4-3) thinking about a bowl. Bunting and his staff have been thinking about Dantzler.

“Thirteen players and a crystal ball,” Bunting said. “That’s the only way I know how to defend him.”

Bunting does have the considerable talents of defensive end Julius Peppers, who has 29.5 career sacks, to utilize in the pursuit of the versatile Tiger’s talent.

A loss probably eliminates either team from ACC title contention.


Dantzler is the first quarterback in ACC history to pass for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 2,000. ... UNC is 1-3 on the road and 3-0 at home. ... Carolina has the third toughest schedule in the country according to the current Sagarin ratings. ... UNC has never beaten Clemson in 13 tries when the Tigers are ranked in the Top 25. Coach Bowden’s squad is currently No. 13. ... Heels quarterback Ronald Curry is listed as probable despite an inflamed left achilles.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Dantzler will put up some more big numbers.

PREDICTION: Clemson 31, North Carolina 17.

Saturday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m.


Let’s see what Lou Holtz is saying as the Gamecocks attempt to bounce back from last week’s stunning loss.

“It’s important that our seniors respond and provide leadership to this football team, particularly to our younger players,” Holtz said. “If there’s anything positive that will come out of last week’s game, it’s that we will develop some senior leadership.”

Corey Jenkins, a junior college transfer, may get more time at quarterback after Phil Petty struggled against the Razorbacks.

So much for his own troops. Holtz got busy building up the opponent.

“Their tailback (Lew Thomas) is averaging over 100 yards rushing a game,” Holtz said. “(Greg) Zolman is an excellent quarterback and (Dan) Stricker may be the best receiver in the conference. We couldn’t begin to cover him last year.”


The Gamecocks must have done something right last year. They beat the Commodores 30-14 in Nashville. ... USC defensive lineman Willie Sams will be out for the season after surgery for a sprained knee. ... Junior defensive end Dennis Quinn of the Gamecocks is returning from surgery but is doubtful this week. ... USC senior cornerback Andre Goodman is expected to be back from a bruised right knee.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: The Gamecocks will take care of business against one of the SEC’s weak sisters.

PREDICTION: South Carolina 35, Vanderbilt 17.

Saturday, Oct. 20, 3:30 p.m.


N.C. State fans feared for the worst when linebacker Levar Fisher limped off the field in the Clemson game, his left leg buckling beneath him. But an MRI on Sunday showed no ligament damage, just a contusion and sprain. He may be able to play against the Yellow Jackets with a special brace.

The Pack will be without defensive tackle Terrance Martin (inflamed abdomen) and defensive end Terrance Chapman is questionable.

State will run into a Georgia Tech team that victimized itself with mistakes in an overtime loss to Maryland last Thursday night.

Both teams are 1-2 in league play.


Ralph Friedgen’s departure to Maryland is thought to be related to Tech’s downturn. He was the Jackets’ offensive coordinator. ... Tommy Bowden sought to put the issue of a television in the NCSU coaches’ booth to rest. “Monitor-gate has been solved,” he said. “It’s been discussed through the appropriate channels and it’s a dead issue. ... State won 23-20 in Raleigh last season. ...

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Georgia Tech will recover from last week’s disappointment with a strong showing against a depleted State defense.

PREDICTION: Georgia Tech 35, N.C. State 24.

Saturday, Oct. 20, 1 p.m.


Maryland returns to College Park as the conquering heroes, 6-0 in Friedgen’s first year as head coach at his alma mater. The nation’s longest losing streak is following the Blue Devils like a hungry dog. Some encouraging thoughts for the Blue Devils. They’ve split the last six games at Byrd Stadium and the last five have been decided by less than seven points.


Duke is 0-6 overall and 0-4 in the ACC. ... Maryland is just the opposite — 6-0 overall and 4-0 in league play. ... The teams are also on opposite ends of the spectrum in turnovers. Duke ranks 103rd nationally among 115 Division I-A teams. Maryland is No. 2. ... The Terps haven’t been 7-0 since 1978.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN: Maryland will clinch one of the ACC’s five bowl slots.

PREDICTION: Maryland 34, Duke 17.

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02/23/2007 01:03:15 AM

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