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Bailey's Take on the Pirates
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From the Anchor Desk
Tuesday, September 11, 2001

By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9

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ECU Back on Track after Rolling by Wave

©2001 Bonesville.net

Pirate Mood Upbeat on Monday

East Carolina's players and coaches were in a much better frame of mind on Monday compared to last week’s weekly media gathering.

Pirate Coach Steve Logan has some very valid concerns about next Saturday's opponent, Syracuse, but he seemed to be relieved that this East Carolina team played well against Tulane.

The Orangemen are a four-point favorite to beat ECU on Saturday. That tells me that the oddsmakers really think this one is too close to call. The Pirates have had some success at the Carrier Dome, winning in 1991 and 1995.

The dome, though, is also the sight of one of Steve Logan’s lowest points as the Pirate coach. In 1996, the Orangemen whipped East Carolina 56-0.

Last year, the Orange pushed the Pirates around a bit, before falling 34-17. In that game Syracuse had more first downs (18-15), more rushing yards (247-177), and more pass completions (12-8).

The Pirate strategy was to hit the Orangemen with the long ball, and that’s exactly how East Carolina pulled off the win. In a driving rain, David Garrard hit Marcellus Harris on bombs of 46 yards and 65 yards. Despite the weather, the Pirates hit on the big plays, and went on for the 34-17 victory.

Leonard Henry rushed for 101 yards in last year’s win over Syracuse.  The Clinton senior is coming off of the biggest game of his career on Saturday in New Orleans, where he rushed for 218 yards.

Henry's day included a 92-yard scoring run, which was the longest collegiate rushing TD in Louisiana Superdome history and the longest by a Tulane opponent.  It was also the third longest in ECU history and the longest by a Pirate senior.

I Told You So, But a Week Late…

I had a feeling that Marvin Townes was going to turn out to be something special.

Townes broke a 21-year old school record averaging 44 yards per kick-off return against the Green Wave. Townes had returns of 56, 30, 28, and 62 yards.

Former Pirate great Tony Collins held the previous record, averaging 34.5 yards per return against Florida State back in September of 1980. Townes was named Conference USA’s Special Teams Player of the Week for his effort.

Syracuse Trip Brings Back Memories

The trip to Syracuse this week brings back great memories from the trip that I made with the team back in 1991.

1991 is commonly referred to as “the Dream Season” at ECU. The Pirates finished the season ranked 9th nationally after that thrilling win over North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl.

We arrived in Syracuse around noon on the Friday before the game on that trip. Several of us then piled into a car and made the trip to Cooperstown, New York, to see the Baseball Hall of Fame.

It was a glorious adventure. Even with the dark skies and the rains coming down, Cooperstown was like no place that I had ever seen. The shops in the small town, the Hall of Fame, the memorabilia for sale, it all made for a great day.

My only regret was not having my family with me. My daughter was just four years old at the time, and we were expecting our little slugger later that summer.

The trip to the Hall of Fame, though, wasn’t the highlight of the trip. On game day, we boarded the third bus, which traditionally carried the additional personnel on the trip. Bus one had the offense, the defense rode on bus two, and the rest of us brought up the rear.

Sandy Lewis, Coach Bill Lewis’s better half, was holding a white paper with the words, “WE BELIEVE!” Bill Lewis had a plan, and if the Pirate faithful could pull off the upset at Syracuse, then his team would pick up several more “believers.”

The Pirates did indeed pull off the upset. Jeff Blake went on a wild scramble to score the winning touchdown, and the Pirates were on their way.

As the team was leaving, I saw one of the white signs hanging in the team’s locker room. I took the sign, and hung it by desk as a reminder of a group that overcame the odds and made believers out of all of us.

The weekend was capped off with our greeting at the airport. Thousands of fans had gathered in Kinston to welcome the team home.

I didn’t catch a pass or call a play the entire game, but I sure felt like a hero getting off of that plane.

To Bill Lewis, Jeff Blake, Robert Jones, and everyone else from that special weekend, I say thank you.

To Steve Logan, David Garrard, Pernell Griffin, and everyone else going to Syracuse this week, best of luck. I hope, you too, have a weekend to remember!

Send an e-mail message to Brian Bailey.

Click here to dig into Brian Bailey's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:19:28 AM
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