TAKE ON PIRATE SPORTS
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Steady as she goes
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East Carolina finally found enough consistency to string together a pair
beating UAB down in Birmingham 42-35
Saturday night. It was an old fashioned Conference USA shootout won by a
band of Pirates that stuck together when things got difficult.
In an atmosphere that featured maybe a couple of thousand fans in
a 72,000 seat dinosaur of a stadium,
these Pirates created their own excitement and got a much needed
“We knew it would be a difficult place to play,” said Pirate coach
Ruffin McNeill. “We did a good job handling things and we’re glad to
return home with the win.”
Shane Carden continues to display the type of leadership skills normally
found in a much more experienced quarterback.
“It was a different atmosphere,” said Carden. “We just had to worry
about us as a team and that’s what we did.”
Carden hooked up with former West Craven star Justin Hardy on a
touchdown pass in the second half that may go down as the play of the
year for Pirate football program.
Hardy climbed the ladder and made an unbelievable catch on a ball that
was actually tipped by the safety, who was barely late in getting over
ECU video guru Brian Meador got an “NFL Films” type of shot on the play
for the coach’s show. In slow motion, the ball rotates in the screen.
The angle widens just in time to see Hardy make the magnificent catch.
Television replays also captured the catch from different angles. It is
one of the best catches by a Pirate receiver I’ve ever seen.
“I was just running a vertical route,” said Hardy. “I had just dropped a
couple of passes, so I was thinking I had to really hang on and catch
this one. It was tipped, it hit my pads and I just hung on.”
Next up for the Pirates is a non-conference matchup with Navy. The
Middies slipped by Indiana from the Big Ten on Saturday, 31-30. After
dropping three of their first four games, Navy has reeled off three wins
in a row.
Two years ago, Navy came to Greenville and rushed for over 500 yards in
a devastating 76-35 win over the Pirates.
Last year, East Carolina
won a thriller in Annapolis, as
the Middies missed a field goal at the gun.
“Two years ago is two years ago and last year is last year,” said
McNeill. “The points don’t carry over. This is a brand new deal and
we’ll have to be ready.”
Option football has made a return in many spread offenses. Several NFL
teams also use forms of the option in their game plan.
Navy’s option is much different. This year, the Middies have found a
passing game to go with the run, making that offense that much more
difficult to stop.
“It’s a totally different type of option,” explained McNeill. “It’s
something you really have to work on year round. We put in some phases
of our defense against it last spring and during the summer.”
It’s Military Appreciation Day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this Saturday.
What a great way to honor those in the military, by taking them out or
treating them to a Pirate football experience.
The schedule certainly favors a strong finish for the Pirates. East
Carolina has Navy this week and then struggling Houston to open
After a bye week, East Carolina returns to action, visiting Tulane and
then hosting Marshall to wrap up the year.
The season is down to a handful of games. The Pirates are still in the
running for postseason play and for the East Division title in
It’s exactly where a team wants to be as November draws closer.
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