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PRE-GAME ANALYSIS
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Keys to the Game
Friday, September 12, 2008

By Kevin Monroe

ECU at Tulane
Saturday, Sept. 13, 2008, 3 p.m.
Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans

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).

©2008 Bonesville.net
All Rights Reserved.

East Carolina can defeat Tulane if it accomplishes these key objectives:

  1. Solid Pass Defense

    Tulane lost one of the nations top rushers last year in Matt Forte. If you watched the Bears beat the Colts last Sunday night you realize just how much the Green Wave lost when he left campus. Andre Anderson is trying his best to replace Forte, but he only managed 38 yards on 13 carries with no touchdowns in game one versus Alabama. Out of 82 offensive plays, Tulane passed the ball 50 times and ran it 32 times. Part of that was due to getting behind early to the Crimson Tide.

    Quarterback Kevin Moore completed 57 percent of his passes going 28-49 for 225 yards. Six different receivers had at least three catches against Alabama. They were led by senior wide receiver Brian King with 6 catches for 51 yards. The Pirates have faired well versus the pass so far this year. They are only giving up 211 yards passing per game and have not allowed a passing touchdown. The defensive line will have to continue to put pressure on the quarterback and the defensive backs will have to play tough in the back end
    .
     

  2. Establish the Run

    When playing on the road, it's very important to establish the run early. When you can run the ball, it opens up the passing game and gives you the flexibility to call about any play in your playbook. The tandem of Brandon Simmons and Jonathan Williams has been more than effective, they have been dominant. Through two games, East Carolina is averaging 150 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns per game. Williams is starting to show the talent that made him one of the top high school backs in the state of N.C.

    The ability to run the ball also will allow the Pirates to eat up clock and keep Tulane's offense on the sideline. ECU had possession for 35 minutes versus West Virginia compared to 25 minutes that the Mountaineers had the ball.
     

  3. Protect the Football

    Quarterback Patrick Pinkney is getting national recognition not just because he has thrown for a ton of yards. He has gained over 400 yards through the air in two games and his productivity has been leveraged to the max because he and the Pirate offense have taken care of the ball so well. He has thrown 51 passes and 2 touchdowns with no interceptions.

    East Carolina’s offense has fumbled twice in two games, which is pretty good, but the Pirates can ill afford to throw interceptions or fumble the ball on the road on Saturday. Mistakes like that are what get good football teams upset.

The Bottom Line

The Pirates are a better football team than Tulane, but that doesn’t mean the Green Wave won’t show up on Saturday expecting to win the football game. That is why they make you play the games. As ECU itself has demonstrated on occasion, anything can happen once the whistle blows. The Pirates will get every team's best shot from here on out because they are a ranked team.

The Green Wave played well against an Alabama team that dominated Clemson the week before. If the Pirates don’t play well, they can be beaten by the Green Wave. The ECU players need to remain level-headed and not listen to everyone telling them how good they are. If each player simply focuses on his responsibilities, the better team should win.

Send an e-mail message to Kevin Monroe.

Dig into Kevin Monroe's archives.

09/12/2008 03:37:18 AM
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