Take on Conference USA
From the Anchor Desk
Friday, November 16, 2001
By Brian Bailey
Sports Anchor of WNCT-TV 9
Pirates Fall Short, But TV Execs Happy
GREENVILLE — As the Conference USA title
race unfolded this season, it became apparent that
East Carolina and Conference USA had just what they wanted on Thursday
night — the Pirates and Louisville would be playing for the league title on national television on ESPN.
Perhaps the league and the suits at ESPN continued to get
their way last night — the game was compelling drama until the very end.
It's a shame the Pirates could not have
gotten their way, too.
It was a battle full
of fireworks, and now once beaten Louisville heads to Memphis. It was a
great show for the nation to see.
East Carolina built an early 14-0 lead on the strength of two Leonard
Henry touchdowns. The Cardinals cut into the lead before the Pirates
pulled out one of the team’s favorite plays.
It’s called “Gamecock” and it was first used by the Pirates against South
Carolina several years ago. The play has a great success rate, and is
similar to the old “fumble-rooskie” that Nebraska and others have used in the
That play is no longer legal. The “Gamecock” is legal, and worked like
The Pirates lined up in an odd formation. Those of us that have seen the
play before knew it was coming.
David Garrard took the snap and placed the football into the
front of Demarcus Fox’s legs. Fox hesitated, and then took several stutter-steps
the other way.
Before Louisville knew what hit them, Fox was in the end zone.
The Pirates led 21-13 at the half, but then things started falling apart
The Pirates have had great special teams all year, but the Cards took the
2nd half kick-off back for a touchdown.
Before the Pirates could recover, Louisville had run off a 26-0 spurt to
Give the Pirates credit, because this team didn’t’ quit. Maybe the Pirates
took some notes from TCU and Cincinnati, because the Pirates came roaring
back, and simply ran out of time.
Good teams snuff out the other team’s weaknesses. Despite everything that
happened through almost four quarters of football, the Pirates would have
still won the football game, if the defense could have just made a stop.
It’s been like that all year long. The Pirates are not a good defensive
football team. They have great athletes, solid coaching, but something is
still very wrong.
Championship teams don’t give up 39 points at home in a championship game.
It is a most bitter pill to swallow. Now, the Pirates need to beat
Southern Miss. and then most likely head to Mobile for a bowl game.
The players didn’t like Mobile at all back in 1999. But that looks to be
the destination — IF the team can bounce back and beat Southern Miss.,
which won’t beat easy.
Another year goes by, and it’s another season without a championship for
I feel especially bad for David Garrard and Leonard Henry. Both players
wanted nothing more then to bring a C-USA title to Greenville in their
Maybe the Pirates should have used Garrard and Henry on defense.
Again, it’s a bitter pill, but one that the Pirate players will have to
Conference USA This Week
Tulane at Southern Miss
The Golden Eagles should make short work of the Green Wave and head to
Greenville with a 5-3 record. Southern Miss has won the last two games by
an average of 31 points per game.
The Tulane game is the first of a string
of four season ending contests for USM. The
Golden Eagles will also finish seasons for East Carolina, Alabama and TCU.
Army at Memphis
The Black Knights make only their second trip to Liberty Bowl Memorial
Stadium this week. Memphis was a winner in the only previous meeting
between these two teams. The Tigers are favored, and need a win to keep
their flickering bowl hopes alive.
UAB at Houston
Will this finally be the week for the Cougars? Probably not. But for
Houston, it may be their best shot at a victory, with the Cougars last
game at Georgia. The two teams have only met one other time, and that was
in 1999, when UAB won 29-10.
Pirates Win A Pair in Hoops
Congratulations to Pirate Coach Bill Herrion on his club’s 2-0 start. This
history-making season for Pirate basketball is off to an amazing start.
The Pirates beat Rutgers from the Big East on Wednesday, and then stunned
Northwestern from the Big Ten last night.
Tonight, it’s East Carolina and N.C. State in the title game. The
tournament was set up for the Wolfpack to win it. Check out State’s first
two opponents, Prairie View A&M and San Jose State.
Best of luck to the Pirates tonight, as the basketball program looks to
take another big step forward!
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02/23/2007 01:19:49 AM