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Keys to the Game
Friday, September 11, 2009

By Kevin Monroe

ECU at West Virginia
Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, 3:30 p.m.
Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown

For the fourth straight year, Kevin Monroe, color analyst for the Pirate ISP Sports Radio Network, provides “Kevin’s Keys to The Game,” his weekly breakdown of what East Carolina must do to beat its upcoming opponent. Monroe brings a unique perspective to the task as a member of the broadcast team and as a former star defensive back for the Pirates (1995-99).

All Rights Reserved.

East Carolina can defeat West Virginia if it accomplishes these key objectives:

  1. Move The Chains

    Much has been said about why the Pirates weren’t successful moving the football in the second half last week. Were the Pirates holding back plays so that West Virginia wouldn’t see much on film. Was ECU out of sync on offense and just struggling to get something going? Or did Appalachian State just make the necessary adjustments to shut out the East Carolina offense in the second half? Whatever the case, a repeat of last week's anemic second half performance will result in a big loss for the Pirates in Morgantown. East Carolina must get first downs and keep the chains moving. Moving the chains will put the Pirates in scoring position, keep their defense fresh, and keep WVU’s high-powered offense off the field.

  2. Eleven Men to the Ball

    This week's Mountaineers run a similar offense to last week’s Mountaineers, but with bigger, stronger, and faster players. The WVU offense amassed over 450 yards last week. Quarterback Jarrett Brown isn’t quite as good a runner as his predecessor, Pat White, but he is still a very good runner — and he is a better passer. Brown accounted for 243 yards in the air and yards on the ground in the opener versus Liberty. Brown is a threat, but so is speedy running back Noel Devine who had 120 yards rushing against the Flames. In the passing game, speedy slot receiver Jock Sanders deserves some extra special attention after a good 2008 season and a great start to 2009 with 95 yards receiving in week one. Every defensive player on the field for the Pirates has to rally to the ball on every play. It will take team tackling to disrupt this offense.

  3. Turnovers Swing Outcomes

    ECU QB Patrick Pinkney threw two interceptions in week one and both of them came at very inopportune times. The Pirates must protect the football against WVU if they expect to win in Milan Puskar Stadium. West Virginia’s defense is one of the best in the Big East and it will be after the football on Saturday. The Mountaineers only came away with one turnover against Liberty and they will be hungry for more. On the flipside, the ECU defense will need to force some turnovers to stop some of the Mountaineer drives and to get the Pirate offense back on the field. The team that wins the turnover battle will probably win this game.

The Bottom Line

East Carolina has played some tough games over the years on Mountaineer Field, but they have never won a game there. It will take a much better effort this week than they gave last week for the Pirates to have a chance to win on Saturday. Protecting the football, swarming on defense and no mistakes in the kicking game would be the perfect recipe for the Pirates to bring back their first win from Morgantown.

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09/11/2009 02:26:13 AM


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