Keys to the
By Kevin Monroe
ECU at Tulsa
Sunday, Nov. 15, 2009, 8:15 pm
H.A. Chapman Stadium
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
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).
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Carolina can defeat Tulsa if it accomplishes these key objectives:
Establish the Run
The Pirates ran the ball relatively well four weeks in a row, starting
with the 155-yard performance
versus Marshall on Oct. 3 and culminating
with 275 rushing yards
against Memphis on Oct. 27.
Last week the ground game was bottled up
by Virginia Tech, which limited
East Carolina to 110 yards, the majority of which came in the first half. Establishing the run and having a big
day on the ground won’t be an easy feat this week. Tulsa is allowing
only 121 rushing yards per game. The Golden Hurricane has given up only
four rushing touchdowns all season.
Lindsay has been solid for the Pirates over the last five weeks since
coming back from injury. Lindsay is averaging 101 yards per game and has
amassed 135 yards or more in two of those games. With injuries having
accumulated among the running backs corps over the course of the season, there is no true number
two running back. Collectively, the backs will need to run the ball well early
to control the clock, keep the chains moving and keep Tulsa’s offense
off the field.
Rush the Passer
Tulsa, which features some very good athletes on the offensive
side of the football, can score from anywhere. Led by first-year
starting quarterback G.J. Kinne, the Golden Hurricane’s offense has moved
the ball and scored points all year, averaging nearly 30 points per game. Kinne has been a pleasant surprise for Tulsa, completing 60
percent of his
passes for over 1,800 yards and 15 touchdowns through nine games. Last week
against Houston. Kinne threw for 334 yards and three touchdowns. He also
rushed for 100 yards and a score. When teams get pressure on Kinne, he will usually pull the ball down fairly quickly and look for
running room. If the Pirates can pressure him and contain
the scramble, that pressure has the chance to be very
Defend the Big Play
With the Golden Hurricane’s ability to score big and score quickly, the
Pirates have to keep the ball in front of them and tackle well. Last
week against the Hokies, East Carolina had running back Ryan Williams
stopped in the backfield several times before he broke tackles on his
way to positive yardage. It will be imperative that ECU wraps Kinne
first and then Tulsa’s offensive playmakers like Damrius Johnson.
Golden Hurricane has four receivers that have topped the career 1,000-yard
receiving mark. Tulsa loves the big play and has 10 different
receivers averaging more than 10 yards per catch. There have been some
injuries in the two-deep of the Pirates' secondary, so the defensive
backs, including the backups, will need to
meet the challenge for East Carolina to come away with the win.
The Pirates are in control of their own destiny in Conference USA. If they
win their last three games, they will play in the C-USA championship game.
Tulsa is a quality opponent and will be favored in the game, but East
Carolina matches up well against the Golden Hurricane. If the Pirates can establish the run early
and keep Kinne and the high-powered Tulsa offense off the field, they
have a very good chance of coming away with the win. They will need to be
disciplined on defense and keep the football in front of them.
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11/15/2009 02:15:40 AM