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As bad as things were for most of the day on Saturday in New Orleans,
this East Carolina football team still should have come back to
Greenville with a victory.
The offense put up big numbers between the 20’s. The defense played
relatively well, giving up just 12 points before the overtime.
The key play in the game came in the third quarter. The Pirates were set
up inside the Tulane five yard line. The Green Wave’s Derrick Strozier
picked off a Shane Carden pass and sprinted 99 yards for a touchdown.
Instead of the Pirates going up 13-9, it was Tulane that was in control
with a 16-6 lead.
The Pirates had several earlier opportunities in the red zone but had to
settle for field goals.
How in the world could Carden (480 passing yards) and Justin Hardy (17
receptions for 230 yards) set school records and the Pirates only score
one touchdown in regulation? That touchdown came in the last two minutes
to send the game to overtime. It’s hard to figure.
The Pirate defense then rose to the occasion and East Carolina would
actually get in position to steal the win and not worry about overtime.
As the saying goes, ECU kicker Warren Harvey picked a bad day to have a
Harvey hooked a 42-yard effort at the gun and so it was on to the extra
Still, the Pirates would have plenty of chances to win the game in the
East Carolina scored on the first play of their first possession on a
Carden to Reese Wiggins connection.
Tulane answered quickly enough. Double overtime went the same way, but
this time the Wave scored first and the Pirates answered.
ECU's third overtime drive stalled, and when Harvey pushed his 34-yard
attempt to the right it opened the door for the Green Wave.
Tulane decided to kick a field goal on its first play of that decisive
overtime. 2012 Lou Groza Award winner Cairo Santos connected with his
fifth field goal of the game to hand the Pirates the most disappointing
Kickers are like quarterbacks in that they often get too much praise in
good times and too much blame when those kicks aren’t true.
Warren Harvey was as sick as anyone that the two kicks didn’t find the
middle of the uprights.
Shane Carden defended his kicker, and shouldered much of the blame for
“We had several things that could have gone differently,” Carden said.
“My read on the goal line was terrible and resulted in a 14-point swing.
One person never wins or loses a game. We’ll get things corrected and
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill was quick to defend Harvey as well.
“The biggest thing we told him is that we believe in him,” said McNeill.
“Warren has earned his way here. When you have earned and nothing has
been given, he’s not afraid of it. He has a belief in faith and God.
He’s one of our top students – period – here at East Carolina… Last
night, we put him in the same situation, with no time on the clock, and
he drilled it.”
I get the feeling that if given the chance again, Harvey will drill it
I hope he gets a shot.
Former Pirate is a Sunday night star
Former ECU standout Dwayne Harris is having a Pro Bowl-type season for
the Dallas Cowboys.
Harris was the star on Sunday night as Dallas beat Washington 31-16.
Harris had an 86-yard punt return for a touchdown. He later had a
90-yard kickoff return that set up another touchdown in the win.
Harris had 222 yards of offense, more than the entire Dallas offense
against the rival Redskins.
“I give all the credit to the guys blocking,” Harris told reporters
after the game. “We work hard and we’ve come close a couple of times.”
Many have wondered why Harris doesn’t get more touches on offense.
Perhaps it’s to keep him fresh for results like those from Sunday night.
Harris is well on his way to a Pro Bowl appearance for his work on all
of the special teams with the Cowboys.