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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, October 16, 2012

By Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey

Pirates unleash the magic of the Justins


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Pirates unleash the magic of the Justins
Audio: Coach Ruff Monday Presser
Conference USA Standouts
Spied from the Crow's Nest
Audio: WTIB (Tony McQueen)
Web Headlines Roundup
Carden growing into role
Conference USA Standings & Schedule
This Week's BCS Rankings
This Week's Harris, AP & USA Today Polls
Denny O'Brien's Harris Poll Ballot
Game Center: ECU 41, Memphis 7
Inside Game Day: ECU looks to buck a trend
Game Slants: Wanted: Yearly diet of Tigers
Game Day Photo Gallery
Audio: Coach Ruff Post-game
Greg's Game Day Breakdown
This Week in College Football History
Kevin's Keys to the Game
ECU Football Schedule
Year-by-Year Recruiting

By Brian Bailey
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Justin Hardy caught six passes for 137 yards and two touchdowns in East Carolina's 41-7 win over Memphis on Saturday.

Justin Jones helped in the thrashing of the Tigers by catching five passes for 80 yards, three of which went for touchdowns.

The only think the Justins didn’t do was win Homecoming King honors.

Check that — Justin Jones was named Homecoming King. It wasn’t the same guy, but the guy who was named the 2012 Homecoming King at East Carolina was one Justin Jones.

You just can’t make that kind of thing up, can you? It was that kind of Homecoming for the Pirates, led by the Justins.

Justin Hardy and Justin Jones (the football player, not the Homecoming King) are roommates and play the same position. They play the same position in a very different way, though.

“A lot of times when we’re out there together it can be a real fit for defenses,” said Jones. “You want to double-cover me in the red zone but you want to double-cover him (Hardy), too, because he can do the same things.”

The Pirates were big favorites and played the role to perfection on a perfect Saturday for football at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. East Carolina built a big lead and was never really threatened in the win.

“It was a great team and conference win over Memphis,” said Ruffin McNeill at his weekly news conference. [Replay press conference audio...] “I was very proud of our guys. I thought we had a good week of practice. Our staff did a great job of teaching and demanding and the team responded very well on Saturday.

"We improved on starting fast, which is something that we have done the last two games, and then sustaining the positive momentum from a fast start. It was good to see us sustain momentum and energy throughout the game and then finish the game just as strong.”

Now East Carolina hits the road to take on UAB. Whereas the Pirates usually pump in loud music to work in game like conditions, this week the coaches would be better off sending in the sound of crickets. There will be no crowd to battle at UAB.

That in itself causes a much different issue in trying to get up for a football game.

Coach McNeill says his team will concentrate on itself, and create excitement for what he calls the “fourth”side of the ball.

“When we go on road trips, it is up to the 67 players that we travel with to generate excitement,” said McNeill. “At home, we know the crowd will pick us up and help us get or keep momentum, but during road games it’s up to our players to do that job and help us get or keep momentum when swing plays happen.

"When we are at home we try to build that up so when we go on the road it is something that is naturally done. It is tough, but after three years I feel like the team believes in the message.”

ECU quarterback Shane Carden was named Conference USA Player of the Week on Monday. Carden enjoyed his best game to date. He was 25-33 for 308 yards and five touchdowns in the win over Memphis.

“You know in the second quarter we didn’t play very well,” said Carden. “In the third quarter we were much better. But you can see what we can do when we play 11-man football. When we trust each other and make routine plays and when we do that for four quarters, it’s going to be exciting.”

The Pirates should have the upper hand as far as the schedule goes the rest of the way. ECU heads to UAB as a 4-point favorite.

“We need to be more consistent as we try to put back-to-back wins together for the first time this season,” said McNeill. “Our objective is always to win every game. Keeping our urgency, focus and determination strong throughout the week of practice and the game is very important.”

The way the Justins played this week, perhaps the Pirates should put a call out to that Justin Jones who was named Homecoming King.

It seems at East Carolina, you just can't have too many Justins.


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10/16/2012 03:27 AM


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