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Read Henry Hinton's feature story on veteran Hollywood actress and ECU alum Beth Grant in Bonesville Magazine.

Henry's Highlights
Thursday, October 28, 2004

By Henry Hinton

Army game assumes new benchmark status




Every program has ebbs and flows and, right now, it is obvious that East Carolina is ebbing.

Most schools also have a rival by which they measure their own significance. For East Carolina, that program over the years has been Southern Mississippi.

It is interesting that during John Thompson’s years as the defensive coordinator in Hattiesburg, the ECU program was measuring itself against the Golden Eagles. I remember a couple of blowouts that made the Pirate coaching staff realize they had a lot of work to do. I also remember the victories over USM, few as they were, that felt real good.

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I would argue that while fans always wanted to beat N.C. State and North Carolina, it was the Southern Miss game that coaches always used as the litmus test to see where the program really was.

Last Saturday’s whipping at the hands of the Eagles was a bitter pill for everyone. I’m sure no one took it harder than Thompson himself. It points out just how steep the hill really is.

Isn’t it interesting that the new test to see if ECU can measure up will come against Army, a team that has never defeated the Pirates. Being favored coming into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will be something new for the Black Knights.

Hey, come to think of it being favored anywhere will be new for Army.

New head coach Bobby Ross has his team on a two-game win streak and it was nearly three but for a late score by Texas Christian three games back.

The Black Knights will be confident coming into Dowdy-Ficklen. The Pirates, who played uninspired on Saturday, have their work cut out for them.

The term “must win” is over-used in college sports but this game against Army means everything right now for this football program. The Pirates can ill-afford to lose to a program that has been on the bottom of college football as long as anyone can remember.

The day will be filled with lots of excitement on the periphery. Military Appreciation Day means a lot more this time around. This will be the first time the U.S. Military Academy has ever come and played a game in Greenville during wartime.

There will a flyover of four Apache helicopters just before the national anthem at approximately 2:40 pm. Some of the top brass from area bases and the North Carolina National Guard will be on hand. Before you leave your seat at halftime for a soft drink, make sure you stay to hear the 82nd Airborne Chorus sing God Bless America. It should be quite emotional.

There is also a pre-football scrimmage by both the men's and women’s basketball teams on Saturday with Sharon Baldwin-Tenor’s squad starting at 10:30 and Bill Herrion’s team taking the floor after that between noon and 12:30. The Pirate basketball squad will also hang around for autographs and pictures after the scrimmage around 2 p.m.

Now, if there can just be another gridiron victory after all that, we’ll all have a happy Saturday night.

If not, well... I prefer not to think about it.


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02/23/2007 10:14:09 AM

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