From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Brian Bailey

Final home stand starts decisive stretch


Home stand starts decisive stretch

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. This week's guest was Marc Yellock: Replay show...
Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly Presser
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill discussed the Pirates' road win over FIU and previewed their home game with Tulsa: Select clip...
Audio: Steve Logan Show
The Steve Logan Show airs on FM 103.7 and FM 94.1 each Monday from 6-8 p.m. Replay this week's show: Select clip...

Conference USA players of the week


A November to remember?


Game day photo gallery

Audio: Coach Ruff Post-game
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill met with the press after the Pirates' Conference USA road win over FIU: Select clip...

C-USA scoreboard & standings


Greg's Game Day Breakdown


This week in college football history


Kevin's Keys to the Game


Oh no, not another backup


ECU's goals on the line in November


By Brian Bailey
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This busy November brings East Carolina home for a pair of games before the regular season ends with two road games.

First up, it’s preseason Conference USA West Division favorite Tulsa. The Golden Hurricane limps into town at just 2-6 on the season, 1-3 in the league. The Pirates counter at 6-2 and 4-1.

It will be another test to see if the Pirates can execute as the better, more talented team. East Carolina did a great job of this in the Southern Miss game. The Pirates got passing, though not glowing grades, on the same assignment against Florida International.

It may not have been pretty, but the outcome against the Panthers was a win and the Pirates will take it as a start to what they hope will be a November to remember.

“It was great to get the win at FIU,” said head coach Ruffin McNeill as he opened his weekly news conference on Monday [Replay press conference audio...]. “We knew we would face a team that was feisty and I knew who was coaching them. Coach (Ron) Turner has been at every level in the coaching profession. He has great respect for our program, and I have great respect for him. To go on the road and win is hard. I think sometimes there’s a tendency to forget that.”

Just the mention of Tulsa brings a smile to Coach Ruff’s face. McNeill was a winner in his very first game as the ECU coach when his Pirates slipped by the Golden Hurricane 51-49 on that Dominique Davis Hail Mary pass to Justin Jones to end the game on Sept. 5, 2010.

It was certainly a game I’ll never forget. Coach Ruff agreed.

“It has a special meaning. I remember after that game, Coach (Terry Holland) and the staff gave me a game ball for my first win," he recalled.

More than that first win though, McNeill is very familiar with the history that is Tulsa football. This has been a down year for the Golden Hurricane because of injuries.

McNeill knows not to let his guard down.

“They have a lot of tradition at Tulsa over the years,” he added. “They recruit from Texas and Oklahoma, which are two really good football recruiting states.”

Among the East Carolina positives of late has been the defense. Rick Smith’s bunch has made great strides this season.

The Pirate pass rush has been instrumental in the team’s improvement. ECU heads to the ninth game of the season ranked number one in the nation at 3.6 sacks per game.

“I thought we controlled the run and then affected the quarterback,” added McNeill. “The kids did a great job of executing. Interior pressure sacks are hard to come by, so if you can create pressure and tighten the pocket around the quarterback, I’ll take that. I’ll take hurries.”

It’s a busy weekend for the Pirates. It’s Homecoming and Hall of Fame weekend at ECU.

Former Pirate quarterback David Garrard and former coach Steve Logan [Replay audio of this week's Steve Logan Show...] will be honored with enshrinement ceremonies this weekend.

Every team in C-USA now has a league loss, so the divisional races and the race to host the league’s title game are certainly up in the air.

East Carolina must take care of its own business at home, and then brace for a non-league faceoff in Raleigh with N.C. State and that East Division showdown at Marshall.

A November to remember is very much a possibility. That great November could lead to another home game come December.

We all know how much fun it was in 2009 when the Pirates beat Case Keenum and Houston for the league title. Keenum put on a show for the NFL Houston Texans Sunday night in a loss to Indianapolis in the NFL. The Pirates got the upper hand on him on that December Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The next few weeks will determine if 2013 will be another championship year for East Carolina.


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11/05/2013 02:54 AM