From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Brian Bailey

Seniors go out in style

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. This week's guests were Todd Gibson, Si Seymour & Brian Paschal: Replay show...

Comeback lifts ECU in NIT Tip-Off

Audio: Lebo & Players Post-game
ECU coach Jeff Lebo and players Greg Alexander & Petar Torlak addressed the media after the Pirates' win over Chowan: Select clip...

ECU seniors go out in style

Audio: Coach Ruff Weekly Presser
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill discussed the Pirates' Senior Day win over UAB and previewed their road game with N.C. State: Select clip...

Conference USA at a Glance


Lebo returns to Cameron


Game Center: ECU 63, UAB 14


Ruff on Tudor: I could have told UAB


Game Day Photo Gallery

Audio: Coach Ruff Post-game
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill addressed the media after the Pirates' Senior Day win over UAB: Select clip...

Greg's Game Day Breakdown


Pirates win big over smaller Chowan

Audio: Lebo & Players Post-game
ECU coach Jeff Lebo and players Greg Alexander & Petar Torlak addressed the media after the Pirates' win over Chowan: Select clip...

Kevin's Keys to the Game


Go Pirates! Pack, Heels, too?


Fifteen Questions for Will Simmons


By Brian Bailey
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You really couldn’t have scripted a better end for the East Carolina seniors on Saturday.

Reese Wiggins, Vintavious Cooper and Kyle Tudor all played starring roles in the Pirate’s 63-14 win over UAB in the home finale.

East Carolina is still very much in the running to host the Conference USA championship game. The Pirates will need a win over Marshall to nail down the East Division title, and most likely would need a win over N.C. State to clinch that host role.

Wiggins and Cooper were the offensive benefactors of another big day for junior quarterback Shane Carden.

Carden threw three of his five touchdown passes to Wiggins. He also handed off — and in one instance made a pitch while falling down — to Tay Cooper for his three touchdowns.

Wiggins had 142 yards receiving while Cooper rushed for 126 in the victory.

“It was special,” said Wiggins. “This was the first game my whole entire family had the chance to come and watch me play and it’s the first big game they’ve all been a part of."

Wiggins stressed that this team is far from done.

“I plan on having one more game (at home),” Wiggins explained. “We work hard and we see the vision. We are that much closer. We just want to come out and be consistent and continue to play hard.”

Carden made sure his senior target would get a shot in what could have been his last game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“He has been a guy (Wiggins) that’s been here since I’ve been here,” said Carden. "Obviously he’s been a guy that’s always just kind of talked to me. He’s just a great old senior that’s just kind of always been there for me and it’s awesome to be kind of connected with him.”

Tay Cooper was equally excited about his contribution for Senior Day.

“It’s something that I can definitely look back and smile about, knowing that I did that much and I contributed that much on my senior day,” Cooper said.

Pirate coach Ruffin McNeill was emotional in his post-game press conference.

"Tonight was a special night," McNeill said. "I chewed the same dirt so I know the feeling very well. I was blessed and fortunate to win the last time I played in Dowdy-Ficklen, so I know it was special to those guys.”

McNeill likes to talk about “chewing the same dirt.” In reality, the only ones chewing dirt in Saturday’s game were the players on the other sideline.

It was yet another blowout victory. It was another case of a very good Conference USA team taking care of its own business against a very bad team from the same league.

The East Carolina defense also had its share of Senior Day stars. Linebacker Kyle Tudor had the big play for the Pirate “D” with a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown.

"It was tipped up into the air,” Tudor said. “I just happened to be right there."

"It was kind of a gift," added Tudor. "I had a lot of people helping me with blocks. It was really a defensive effort, not just one person.

"It started to open up and I got kind of excited. It was happening so fast, I couldn't process it that quick. I was just running and trying to get into the end zone.”

I really can’t remember a season like this one at East Carolina. The Pirates have closed out their home season, but still have what could be four games to play. That’s almost half a season!

First up is the matchup with North Carolina State. The struggling Wolfpack would like nothing more than to put a monkey wrench in the Pirates' November plans.

Then it’s the East Division title game in Huntington, WV, on the day after Thanksgiving.

It could be a case of “feast or famine” for the Pirate Nation as the season comes to a close.

Odd as it sounds, the entire season hinges on a pair of road games to end the month.


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11/19/2013 05:11 AM