TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
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The mystery behind the
identity of East Carolina's starting quarterback was finally solved when
the Pirates offense took the field for the first time on Sunday.
ECU's coaches decided to
keep their choice a secret until game time.
Stadium announcer Morgan
Ahlers even skipped over the name in announcing the starting lineup.
Davis knew he would be the
man in the opener. He had no idea what kind of day he was in for. He
finally let the secret out of the bag after his fifth touchdown pass of
the day gave the Pirates a
51-49 victory over Tulsa.
“I’ve known for a while
now,” said Davis. “The coaches said to not say anything. They said what
happens in our house stays in our house, so I didn’t tell anyone.”
Nobody else did either.
Davis came up with gaudy
numbers in his debut. The transfer from Fort Scott Junior College and,
before that, Boston College was 27-46 for 383 yards and five touchdowns.
He also ran for a score as the Pirates racked up 51 big points.
The reason there was such
a mystery about the Pirate starter was a play of gamesmanship.
The ECU coaches knew that
all the Tulsa coaches had to go on with the Pirates new offense was
video on Texas Tech, especially the bowl game.
Davis, though, is a threat
as a runner as well. The Pirates put several plays in to utilize that
skill. That ability to run with the football put Davis ahead of Brad
Wornick in the Pirate quarterback sweepstakes.
“This was the greatest
experience of my life,” said Davis after the victory.
I asked him if he had ever
had any other kind of experience similar to the win over Tulsa.
“Never,” he replied.
Redshirt freshman Justin
Jones was recruited as a tight end. He had to wonder about this new
offense when offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley and Company came to
Jones has nothing to worry
about. He is a great threat, and a huge target for a quarterback.
He also made one of the
greatest catches in Pirate football history in the first game of his
redshirt freshman year.
All-star receiver Dwayne
Harris, who had two touchdowns of his own, joked that Jones had already
made the play of his career.
“What can he do from
here?” joked Harris, who was almost sawed in half early in Sunday’s game
on a pass over the middle that he jumped up to try and haul in.
The winning play against
Tulsa was called “Big Ben.” If I’m not mistaken, the Atlanta Falcons
first came up with the play and the name and it worked for them twice in
It certainly worked for
the Pirates in the opener.
“I’m not bragging, but I
expect it,” said ECU coach Ruffin McNeill afterwards. “We work on that
play all the time in practice and it works.”
Tulsa must feel absolutely
snake-bitten against East Carolina. The Pirates
beat the Golden Hurricane in 2008
for the Conference USA title. Then last year East Carolina blew open a
close game with defensive touchdowns in
a blowout victory.
Now we get the “Miracle in
"I've been doing this for
24 years and that's never happened to me,” said Tulsa coach Todd Graham.
“We usually have a play we execute to put pressure on the quarterback so
he can't make that throw. We called the play and didn't execute. That's
our fault. They made the play and we didn't."
McNeill was a winner in
his debut as the coach at his alma mater. It’s a game he’ll never
“I’m just so proud of the
guys,” said McNeill. They were worried about disappointing me? I know
how hard they’ve worked. I’m just happy for them.
“That’s the M.O. of this
team, we’ll never quit."
Now it’s a short week,
with Memphis due in town on Saturday.
At least we won’t need
Sherlock Holmes to find out who the starting quarterback will be…
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09/07/2010 03:25 AM