View from the East
Friday, December 27, 2013

By Al Myatt

Al Myatt

Records abound as ECU wraps up 2013


Records abound for 2013 Pirates


ECU steps up at gut-check time


Game day photo gallery...


Audio: Coach Ruff Presser

East Caorlina football coach Ruffin McNeill and players Derrell Johnson and Vintavious Cooper met with the media after the Pirates defeated Ohio 37-20 in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl (recorded by W.A. Myatt; file photo by W.A. Myatt): Select Clip...

C-USA at a glance: Bowl schedule


McGhin family pedigree goes on


ECU football recruiting thumbnails...


Greg's Game Day Breakdown


Kevin's Keys to the Game


The only game in town ... and nation


Pack presents tall task


Audio: Lebo & players post-game...


This week in college football history


By Al Myatt
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East Carolina and Ohio put a lot of fresh ink in the Beef 'O' Brady's record book on Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The Pirates outscored the Bobcats 20-3 in the fourth quarter for a 37-20 win.

In terms of team records, ECU rushed for a bowl-record 281 yards, surpassing the previous mark of 232 set by South Florida in 2008. The Pirates' average of 6.9 yards per rush was better than Central Florida's previous rate of 5.3 yards per carry set in 2012.

ECU's three rushing scores also set a record.

The two teams combined for 1,003 yards of total offense. Ball State and Central Florida had 782 yards between them in 2012.

The Pirates' 568 yards of total offense eclipsed the earlier bowl record of 496 set by South Florida in 2008.

Ohio's 328 passing yards broke the record of 294 set by Rutgers in 2009.

ECU ran 87 plays to break South Florida's mark of 79 in 2008. The Pirates also set new standards for pass completions (30) and pass attempts (46), bettering Marshall marks from 2011.

Senior Vintavious Cooper of the Pirates rushed for 198 yards, breaking the previous mark of 107 yards set by Southern Miss's Desmond Johnson against Louisville in 2010. Cooper, the MVP for ECU, also had the most rushing attempts in the six-year history of the bowl with 25. Latavius Murray of Central Florida held the old mark with 21 carries.

Cooper's 220 all-purpose yards, which included 22 yards in catches, was also a bowl record.

Justin Hardy's nine receptions set a new bowl standard. Florida International's T.Y. Hilton had eight catches in 2011. Donte Foster, Ohio's MVP, set a record for receiving yards with 160. Rutgers' Tim Brown had 99 yards in catches in 2009. Foster's 80-yard scoring reception is the longest play from scrimmage in BOB bowl history.

Conference USA Player of the Year Shane Carden had 29 completions in 44 attempts, surpassing Marshall's Rakeem Cato's 27-for-39 effort in 2011.

While most of the new marks were of an offensive nature, Michael Dobson set a bowl record with 14 tackles for the Pirates.

There were school records established in the 2013 finale for the Pirates as well.

Hardy became the program's leader in career receiving yards with 3,047, passing current Dallas Cowboy Dwayne Harris, who had 3,001 yards from 2007 to 2010.

Carden set the ECU season record for passing yards with 4,139. Previous record holder Dominique Davis, who has gone on on to the Atlanta Falcons, threw for 3,967 yards in 2010.

Cooper ran for 1,193 yards in 2013, becoming only the third Pirate player to surpass 1,000 yards rushing in consecutive seasons. Carlester Crumpler was the first to do it in 1972-73 and Junior Smith exceeded the plateau from 1992 to 1994.

Outside linebacker Derrell Johnson made his 49th consecutive start for ECU, the longest current streak in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Where do 2013 Pirates rank?

East Carolina's 10-win season is the second most in school history, ranking behind the 11-1 record compiled by the 1991 team that topped N.C. State 37-34 in the Peach Bowl.

In 1991, ECU was No. 9 in the final Associated Press poll.

The 1983 team, the best in the Ed Emory coaching era, finished ranked No. 20 by the AP. Its three losses at Florida State, Florida and Miami were by a total of 13 points.

The Pirates won Conference USA championships in 2008 and 2009 but lost Liberty Bowl matchups with SEC entries Kentucky and Arkansas to finish 9-5 overall each season.

ECU coach Ruffin McNeill played on a 9-3 team that won the Independence Bowl in 1978, one of series of solid teams that transitioned to the major college level under coach Pat Dye.

One thing that set the Pirates apart in the recently-completed season were wins at in-state rivals North Carolina and N.C. State, something no previous ECU team had done in seven earlier opportunities.

It's impossible to compare teams from different eras. The single-wing powers from bygone days were forces in their own right.

The best way to look it might be that the 2013 team continued a tradition of strong Pirate football teams.

New league, new challenges

So what's in store for 2014?

ECU will lose six starters on each side of the ball from the current team. The personnel losses appear to be most significant in the secondary and offensive line.

The competitive level of the American Athletic Conference also appears to be more challenging than ECU experienced this season in C-USA.

The program obviously has some momentum as players move into offseason development.

High profile performers Carden and Hardy will provide leadership in addition to their talent.

The emphasis on developing depth will be tested in 2014.

McNeill had mixed emotions after the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. He was pleased with the Pirates' dominance at the conclusion of the game but sad to see 20 seniors that have meant so much this season play their last game.

Their departure puts a premium on a strong finish to recruiting efforts over the next month.

When programs achieve more, more is expected.

The Pirates did a good job of dealing with the disappointment of a 59-28 loss at Marshall for the C-USA East Division championship on Nov. 29 because it's not easy to deal with the role of being a two-touchdown favorite in the next game against a team that beat the team that defeated you so decisively.

It will be interesting to see what the sustained efforts within the program will produce going forward.

"It all comes down to the process and the work," McNeill said after the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. "We've got to finish strong in recruiting. We've got to have a great offseason. We have to keep developing kids and developing depth."

Identical records

At no point in history at this time in December have the basketball and football team both had the same outstanding record, 10-3.

That's a credit to both.

The hoops Pirates return from the holiday break at home against Georgia State at 2 p.m. Sunday.

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12/27/2013 01:23 AM