Keys to the
November 24, 2007
By Kevin Monroe
Game 12: Tulane at ECU
Each week, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports
Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,”
outlining what East Carolina must do to beat its opponent.
Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task, not only as a
member of the broadcast team, but also as a former defensive
back for the Pirates (1995-99).
All Rights Reserved.
Carolina can defeat Tulane if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Running is Wave's
Forte: East Carolina's most important task is
containing Tulane running back Matt Forte. The Green Wave has rushed for
over 2,000 yards and 38 touchdowns. Forte is averaging 6 yards per carry
and 182 yards per game. He has carried the ball 336 times for an average
of 30-plus carries per game. No other Tulane running back has carried
the ball more than 20 times this season. If the Pirates are going to
beat the Green Wave, they will have to keep Forte to under 150 yards.
That sounds like a lot of yards to give up, but this is no ordinary
running back. Tulane has won its last two games, with Forte rushing for
178 yard and 197 yards, respectfully. The Green Wave would rather run
the ball then throw it. They have 457 rushing attempts and 322 passing
attempts on the season.
Sustain drives on
It’s very tough to win time of possession against the Green Wave because
Forte and Company run the football so well, but the Pirates must find a
way to sustain offensive drives. Tulane is a lot like East Carolina on
defense. It is very solid against the run, giving up only 124 rushing
yards per game. The Wave's pass defense is a different story,
surrendering almost 300 yards per game and 23 touchdowns season-to-date.
Whether it’s Rob Kass or Patrick Pinkney, the ECU signal caller will
have to get the offense in a good rhythm and maintain that rhythm
throughout the game. The longer the drives, the longer ECU can keep
Forte off the field. The Pirates will have to take what the defense
gives them, which means they probably will pass first, pass second and
run third on Saturday.
Saturday is Senior Day in recognition of those Pirates playing their
final home game. Among them are running back Chris Johnson, offensive
lineman Josh Coffman and cornerback Travis Williams. The seniors would
like nothing more than to have the opportunity to play for the
conference championship. But because of last week’s loss in Huntington,
WV, that can happen only if ECU defeats Tulane and Texas-El Paso upsets
Central Florida in a game that kicks off in Orlando at 2:00 p.m.. The
only thing the ECU seniors can ensure is that they finish the regular
season strong and win their last game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The Pirates stumbled last week in losing to Marshall, probably costing
themselves a shot at the Conference USA championship. This Tulane game is
their opportunity to try and right the ship and put a positive exclamation
point on an otherwise good season. It will take a strong defensive effort to
contain Forte, but there is a reason the Green Wave is 4-7. Forte rushed for
297 yards on 44 carries versus Memphis and the Tigers still managed to win
the game. Tulane has found more ways to lose games than to win them this
year — and this is a game the Pirates can’t afford to lose.
Send an e-mail message to
Dig into Kevin Monroe's Bonesville
11/24/2007 03:57:59 AM