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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

By Brian Bailey

We've seen this before...


Replay Monday night's BRIAN BAILEY SHOW, featuring guests DONNIE KIRKPATRICK and LEE WORKMAN. Eastern North Carolina's longest running sports radio call-in show airs each Monday night at 7 p.m. on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930.
Replay Show
Pirate Radio Home Page


We've seen this before...
Audio: Ruffin McNeill Game Week Presser
McNeill shedding more than weight
Game Center: South Carolina 56, ECU 37
Box Score / Statistics
Audio: Ruffin McNeill Post-game Presser
Game Day Photo Gallery
Myatt: Pirates catch fumbleitis
O'Brien: ECU 'D' shows promise
Monroe: Kevin's Keys to the Game
ECU Schedule, Scores, Attendance
Ten Moments of Drama in Bonesville History


Cliff Perryman
Ben Ryan
Matt Milner
Joe Womack
Michael Dobson
Hugh Parker
Will Simmons
Antonio Allison
Ty Holmes
Marke Powell
Damon Magazu
Michael Barbour
Derek Blacknall
Grant Harner
Justin Jones
Torrance Hunt
Andrew Bodenheimer
Michael Brooks
Lance Lewis
Justin Dixon

By Brian Bailey
All rights reserved.

East Carolina’s 56-37 loss to No. 12 South Carolina had an eerily similar feel to a few Pirate losses in 2010.

The scripts are certainly similar. The Pirates get off to a great start, only to get blown out.

Dateline: September 18, 2010
Blacksburg, Virginia

East Carolina builds leads of 10-0 and 17-7 on the road at Virginia Tech. The Hokies rallied, but East Carolina still had a chance until Rashad Carmichael picked off Dominique Davis and returned it 68 yards for a touchdown. Tech picked off another pass late and won the game going away 49-27.

Dateline: October 3, 2010
Chapel Hill, North Carolina

East Carolina led UNC-Chapel Hill 14-7 late in the second quarter and had the football looking to extend that lead. Da’Norris Searcy picked off Davis and ran it back for a touchdown to tie the game at halftime. North Carolina then outscored East Carolina 28-3 in the second half, doing most of the damage on the ground. The Tar Heels won the game 42-17.

Dateline: November 6, 2010
Greenville, North Carolina

East Carolina and Navy traded shot after shot with the Middies leading 28-21 at halftime. The Pirates then came out in the second half, fumbled on three of their next four snaps... and the mind-boggling 76-35 rout by Navy was underway.

Dateline: September 3, 2011
Charlotte, North Carolina

That brings us to Saturday night. The Pirates built a 17-0 lead and led 24-14 at halftime over 12th-ranked South Carolina. East Carolina took advantage of four Gamecock turnovers to build that lead.

Unfortunately it was the like the day after Christmas for East Carolina, as the Pirates returned all of their first half gifts in a bizarre third quarter.

A fumble in the flat, a ground ball in the shotgun, and a thief in the night in the middle of a scrum later, and the Pirates 24-14 halftime lead had turned into a 35-24 deficit with still 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.

The Pirates did keep it close for a while in the second half, but again a great start turns into a blowout 56-37 loss.

Coach Ruffin McNeill addressed the turnover issue early in his weekly news conference Monday. [Select audio clip in new window.]

"The one thing we know we have to correct is the turnover ratio,” said McNeill. “We have to get that fixed and we will. We already started making corrections last night. We'll keep emphasizing what we've been doing in terms of drills and exercises we're conducting in practice for both the offense and defense.”

Pirate quarterback Dominique Davis was adamant after the loss that turnovers wouldn’t continue to be a problem.

“That’s the beauty of this offense,” said Davis. “We can get those things corrected. We don’t think we can be stopped as long as we don’t beat ourselves.”

Coach McNeill emphasized protecting the football all through camp. He also emphasized being a smart football team and playing hard. Two-thirds of the message rang true as East Carolina had very few penalties and certainly battled South Carolina until the final gun.

The Pirates held their own against one of the favorites in the SEC. Now, East Carolina hosts one of the favorites in the ACC.

McNeill and his Pirates knew the schedule was front-loaded and that these two games were going to be very difficult.

East Carolina will be a big underdog again this week. The Pirates should have confidence in knowing that they were right in last year’s game with the Hokies until the turnover bug hit.

If McNeill and crew can remedy this turnover bug, East Carolina certainly has a chance, especially playing in front of the home fans.

"I believe in what we're doing," said McNeill. "We've had a plan in place for a while and will continue to improve. We're going to worry about East Carolina and make sure we get better. We're going to focus on what I keep harping on — continuing to play hard, fast and smart.

"These teams we're playing don't give us room for mistakes. Any miscue can cost you like we saw Saturday. We have to continue to take care of the ball on offense and take it away on defense."

Ball security will be the Pirate’s number one priority in preparing for Virginia Tech.


E-mail Brian Bailey.

Brian Bailey Archives

10/04/2011 01:33 AM


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