Keys to the
November 7, 2008
By Kevin Monroe
ECU vs. Marshall
Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008, 3:30 p.m.
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville
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).
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Carolina can defeat Marshall if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Pitch and Catch
The offense has to start with the running game. Last week, Norman
Whitley proved he could carry the load for East Carolina if given the
opportunity. The Pirates won't be able to win, however, just running the
ball. ECU has returned to the two-quarterback system it employed last
season. In the
Memphis game, Rob Kass played
the majority of the second half and helped spark the victory. Last week
against Central Florida, Patrick
Pinkney played the majority of the second half snaps and helped to bring
the Pirates from behind to get their second straight victory.
Regardless of which guy gets the start, East Carolina needs to stick
with the quarterback that is playing the best. Most of the problems in
the passing game have come from wide open receivers being missed or
receivers dropping passes. The Pirates will have to execute in the
passing game against the Herd to pick up this victory. Marshall is
giving up a staggering 262 passing yards per game.
Marshall’s best offensive player has made life very
hard on opposing defenses all season long. Wideout Darius Passmore is
averaging 100 yards receiving per game. He has 46 catches for 795 yards
and 5 touchdowns. He has 20 more catches than the next receiver on
Marshall’s offense. East Carolina’s pass defense has struggled this
season and it will have a tall order against Passmore and the Herd. He
has sub 4.3 speed and any small mistake could mean a big play.
the Turnover Battle
This will be the biggest game of the year for the Pirates. After losing
three straight games, East Carolina has turned things around and has an
opportunity to take sole possession of fisrt place in the
East Division of Conference USA.
A Marshall win would put the Herd in the driver's seat in the division.
In games like this, when you have two solid teams, the difference in the
game usually comes down to not turning the ball over. The Herd is even
on the year in turnover margin with 14 giveaways and 14 takeaways. The
Pirates are plus one in the category with 17 turnovers and 18 takeaways.
ECU can keep the Marshall offense and Passmore off the field by
sustaining drives and taking care of the ball.
the 12th Man
It’s well known that playing in Dowdy-Ficklen stadium is tough for any
opponent. Pirate fans don’t sit on there hands like those at some
universities and the students don’t leave at halftime to resume
tailgating. The Pirate Nation packs the house for big games and cheers
from beginning to end. ECU will need that type of showing from the
faithful on Saturday in order to create that charged atmosphere.
The Pirates have a lot on the line on Saturday. Since entering Conference
USA more than a decade ago, East Carolina has been striving for a league
championship and coming up short. This game will not only tell a lot about
this team, it will determine if the Pirates retain control of their own
destiny in the race for the division title.
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11/07/2008 01:26:09 AM