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Injured Pirate QB jets to Texas

By Al Myatt

East Carolina sophomore quarterback James Pinkney made the trip to Houston on Friday with the football team after sustaining a leg injury in an automobile accident on Wednesday night in Greenville.

Two other ECU players involved in a one-car wreck, offensive linemen Trey Magee and starting center Hunter Wood, did not travel because they were too banged up, according to a source with the team.

Magee was driving and was charged with having an open container of alcohol in the vehicle although he passed a roadside breathalyzer test, according to an Associated Press report.

Pinkney completed 26 of 35 passes for 285 yards and three touchdowns in a 38-28 win over Army at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium last Saturday and was named Conference USA offensive player of the week.

Wood has graded out at 78.5 percent on 397 plays for the Pirates this season. Charlie Dempsey moved to center when a hand injury sidelined Wood earlier this year. Hagen Mason competed with Wood in spring practice for the center job but has since started at both guard positions and most recently has started at right tackle for the Pirates.

Magee has graded out at 82 percent this season on 19 snaps.

Houston's defense used a more aggressive game plan in a 24-3 win over Tulane last week and ECU offensive coordinator Noah Brindise expects to see a blitz package from the Cougars because the Pirates have struggled with pass protection in C-USA losses to Cincinnati, Louisville and Southern Miss.

Pinkney's status for the Houston game has been characterized as a game day decision by Pirates coach John Thompson. Senior Desmond Robinson, Pinkney's back-up, has played in two games this season, completing seven of 12 passes for 56 yards with one interception and no touchdowns.

Robinson started the first nine games for ECU in a 1-11 season in 2003. He completed 133 of 201 for 1,262 yards with three TDs and 11 interceptions.

Robinson was 8 for 14 for 53 yards in ECU's 27-13 loss to Houston in Greenville last year, a nationally-televised Tuesday night game on Sept. 30. Robinson was pulled against the Cougars in game five of 2003 after throwing his second interception in the first half. He was replaced by 2002 starter Paul Troth, who has since transferred to Liberty. Troth struggled, going two for 13 for 42 yards with an interception and no TDs.

Quarterback play was a major difference as the Cougars narrowed ECU's lead in the series to 4-2.

As a true freshman in 2003, Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb completed 20 of 29 passes against ECU for 277 yards with two TDs and no picks.

The Pirates flew out of Greenville on Friday afternoon, refueled in Kinston and arrived in Houston around 8 p.m., EST.

The forecast is calling for sunny skies and a temperature in the mid-70s for today's 5 p.m. kickoff on John O'Quinn Field at Robertson Stadium. The temperature is expected to fall back into the upper 60s during the course of the game, which will be shown on WITN-7 television.

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02/23/2007 11:30:00 AM

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