From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
By Brian Bailey
WNCT-TV 9 Sports Director

Brian Bailey

Pirates primed for 'Black Friday'

Audio: Brian Bailey Show
The Brian Bailey Show airs on Pirate Radio 1250 and 930 on Mondays at 6:30 p.m. This week's guests were ECU director of football operations Brian Overton and high school coaches Dave Wojtecki, Paul Cornwell, Sport Sawyer and Jim Bob Bryant: Replay show...

Richmond hot in Rhode Island return


Pirates primed for 'Black Friday'

Audio: Steve Logan Show
The Steve Logan Show is simulcast on radio stations FM 103.7 and FM 94.1 on Mondays from 6-8 p.m. Replay this week's show: Select clip...
Audio: Coach Ruff Presser
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill discussed the Pirates' road win over ACC foe N.C. State and looked ahead to their Conference USA clash at Marshall: Select clip...

C-USA Players of the Week


Giving Thanks


C-USA Standings & Schedule


Game Center: ECU 42, N.C. State 28


Rivalry isn’t what it used to be


Game Day Photo Gallery

Audio: Coach Ruff Post-game
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill addressed the media after the Pirates' win over N.C. State: Select clip...

This week in college football history


Greg's Game Day Breakdown


Kevin's Keys to the Game


Ruff has history with Pack


Recruiting thumbnail: PF Kanu Aja...


Duke fends off plucky Pirates


By Brian Bailey
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As good as it has been, the East Carolina football season comes down to one final road trip.

If things go well, we will get one more home game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Pirate fans in Raleigh on Saturday were treated to a “workman’s like” performance from their team against N.C. State.

East Carolina scored on its first possession. After the Wolfpack answered with a touchdown of their own, ECU regained control and really never looked back.

The final was 42-28, but the game really wasn’t that close.

Pirate coach Ruffin McNeill rested most if not all of his defensive starters late. That led to a 21-point fourth quarter for State which made the final numbers appear much closer than the game actually was.

East Carolina's fans rocked Carter-Finley Stadium with their patented “Purple-Gold cheer” in that fourth quarter. I closed my eyes and I could have sworn it was as loud as it has ever been at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

The Pirates collected wins over North Carolina and N.C. State in the same year for the first time in the program’s history. Coach McNeill made a point to tell his team that fact in his postgame speech.

This team had a job to do on Saturday and did it well. It was a big win, but an expected one. The celebration was subdued, especially when you think about just how badly the Pirate Nation loves to beat the Wolfpack.

After the game all thoughts turned to Marshall, the opponent in a one-game showdown in Huntington, WV, on Friday for the Conference USA East Division title. A Pirate win will make East Carolina the host in the Conference USA championship game on December 7th.

“We thought it would come down to this at the start of the season,” said McNeill. “Marshall has a great football team and we do, too. We need a great week of practice, that’s the vision, and we’ll have to play well.”

Pirate quarterback Shane Carden shared those sentiments.

“We’ve known what was coming for a while,” said Carden. “We know what we have to do. The last two meetings have gone overtime and this should be another great game.”

East Carolina linebacker Zeek Bigger had a huge smile on his face after the win over the Wolfpack.

“We know the 24-hour rule is in effect,” said Bigger about Coach McNeill’s dictate on just how long his team should think about the previous game. “I may smile that long. It was a great win for our team.”

The Pirates are so much more effective when they run the ball successfully. Tay Cooper had another big day in Raleigh. He was a big part of the East Carolina wins over both the Wolfpack and the Tar Heels.

“It feels great,” said Cooper. “I just really love being a part of this program and a part of these kinds of wins. It was a great team win.”

Cooper agrees that the season comes down to one huge challenge.

“I can’t wait to get to work,” said Cooper. “I think we’ll be ready and it should be a great game.”

It’s a short, holiday week for the Pirates. East Carolina will practice on Monday, which is the team’s traditional off day. The squad will travel on Thanksgiving Day and then play the next day with a noon kickoff at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.

Friday is the traditional “Black Friday” for shoppers. With East Carolina's success this year in its black gear, here’s hoping it’s a different kind of “Black Friday” for the Pirates with a win over Marshall and the host’s role in the league title game.


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11/26/2013 06:46 AM