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View from the East
Monday, September 9, 2002

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Positives gradually converging for Troth, Pirates


The second half of Paul Troth’s second start at quarterback for East Carolina left few second thoughts about the future of the Pirates’ passing game. It’s going to be good.

After going 7 for 18 for 73 yards with three interceptions in the first half of a 27-22 loss at Wake Forest, Troth regrouped to go 14 of 23 for 200 yards with one pick and two touchdowns in the second half.

That put him at 21 of 41 for the game with four interceptions and two scores. His numbers compared to his first start in the rain at Duke were much improved. Troth was 13 for 31 against the Blue Devils for 130 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown.

The Pirates didn’t have nearly as many dropped passes as in the Duke game and the ECU passing game in general showed improvement, the absence of receiver Richard Alston, who didn’t make the trip because of mononucleosis.

Richard Hourigan, a walk-on from Cary, is emerging as a possession receiver. Hourigan had five catches for 48 yards at Wake, including a 10-yard touchdown catch from Troth.

The turnover/take-away ratio continues to be the difference maker for ECU. The Pirates have nine turnovers in two games while its opponents have combined for just one.

“Stop turning the ball over and create turnovers,” said Pirates coach Steve Logan of the keys for correcting an 0-2 start. “We’re not creating turnovers. Solve those two issues and we’re going to be something to deal with.”

Generally, Logan was upbeat despite ECU’s fifth straight loss spanning two seasons. The Pirates haven’t lost that many in succession since the end of 1993. ECU hasn’t started 0-2 since 1986, when the Pirates were 0-6 before topping Georgia Southern 35-33.

Still, the Pirates aren’t pessimistic after the narrow loss in Winston-Salem.

“Our head is way up right now,” Logan said. “They know they’re a good football team. We’ve had two scrimmages so far (non-conference games) and we’re going to start conference play next week.”

The Pirates’ performance in 1986, of course, is ancient history and means nothing as the Pirates prepare this week to host Tulane in their Conference USA opener. Road losses this season to two ACC teams are also in the past.

Troth’s potential is a much more relevant topic for the immediate future.

“This young man is amazing me,” Logan said as the Purple nation filed out of Groves Stadium on Saturday night. “In what we’re asking him to do, where he is now, after these two football games, mentally, is frightening. ... Opponents better get their licks in while they can, because interceptions are going to stop.”

ECU’s defense allowed Wake just 163 yards of offense in the second half and just seven points in the last 27:54 after a blocked punt set the Deacons up at the ECU 4-yard line.

“We played hard and we played tough,” said Pirates defensive lineman Damane Duckett. “The thing we need to work on is the turnover ratio. You can’t win making five turnovers.”

To play close games with the turnover ratio being what it is indicates the ability of the 2002 team.

“Interceptions are my fault,” Troth said. “I try to force things. I know the Pirate fans are disappointed in the loss, but I see a new look in their eyes from last season. They are excited. ... We’ve just got to go out and win, and it starts with me not making dumb mistakes.

“We have to keep our heads up, and we need to beat Tulane.”

Troth’s second start compares favorably with the second starts of some other quarterbacks in the Logan era. See chart:


A look at how several quarterbacks in the Steve Logan era have performed in their second games as starters:


  • Marcus Crandell - 1993 - Central Florida - 6-7, 80 yards, 0 INT, 1 TD - W 41-17 - Injured, 2nd quarter
  • Dan Gonzalez - 1996 - Ohio - 23-44, 383 yards, 1 TD - W 55-45 - No interceptions
  • Dave Garrard - 1998 - at S. Miss - 14-20, 102 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT - L 7-41 - Coming off tough Bama loss
  • Paul Troth - 2002 - at Wake Forest - 21-41, 273 yards, 4 INT, 2 TDs - L 22-27 - Solid 2nd half


East Carolina is the only 0-2 team among the Division I-A programs in the Carolinas and that drops the Pirates to the cellar in this week’s State Line Power Rankings. N.C. State sank Navy to maintain its grip on the top spot. South Carolina dropped out of second with its upset loss at Virginia. Here’s how they shape up:

  1. 1. N.C. State ... Wolfpack performs well against former defensive coordinator Buddy Green.
  2. Clemson ... Tigers flex muscles against La-la Tech.
  3. North Carolina ... Impressive win at Syracuse with Texas next up.
  4. South Carolina ... Stunned by turnovers in Charlottesville.
  5. Wake Forest ... Deacons hang on to even record at home against ECU.
  6. Duke ... Goal posts safe at Wallace Wade Stadium with 40-3 loss to Louisville.
  7. ECU ... No place for the Pirates to go but up.


The fact that Navy defensive coordinator Buddy Green held the same post at N.C. State last year did the Midshipmen little good in a 65-19 trouncing from the Wolfpack in Annapolis. Philip Rivers threw for 309 yards and tied a school record with five touchdown passes. State led 21-0 less than four minutes into the game. Wake Forest visits Raleigh on Saturday in the first ACC game for both teams.


The Tigers were missing starting running back Bernard Rembert with tendinitis in his right foot but Yusef Kelly stepped up to rush for 97 yards and three touchdowns in the 33-13 home win over Louisiana Tech. Willie Simmons completed 25 of 43 for 242 yards and Aaron Hunt contributed four field goals. The Tigers open ACC play at home against Georgia Tech on Saturday.


A pair of fourth quarter scoring drives lifted the Tar Heels to a 30-22 win over Syracuse and gave Carolina some momentum going into a home game this Saturday against Texas and former UNC coach Mack Brown. The Orangemen overcame a 10-0 Heels lead for a 22-16 advantage with 5:51 to go in the third quarter.


The Gamecocks were undone by seven turnovers in a 34-21 loss at Virginia

(1-2) on Saturday night. Matt Schaub threw three touchdown passes for the Cavaliers. Coach Lou Holtz’s club tries to regroup this week at home against Georgia.


The Deacons came out of the ECU game with injuries to defensive lineman Montique Sharpe and receiver Jason Anderson, leaving coach Jim Grobe with some serious personnel concerns going into the game at State. The kicking game made improvements from the 42-41 season-opening overtime loss at Northern Illinois but the running game wasn’t as productive against the Pirates.


The Blue Devils went the first 28 minutes of the game without a first down against Louisville. They had to abandon the running game, which had been effective in the rain against ECU, after falling behind 26-3 in the first half. The Devils travel to Northwestern on Saturday.

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02/23/2007 12:59:31 AM

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