Staton responds to protest
By Nathan Summers and Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, October 2, 2016
A pregame protest by some members of the East Carolina marching band on Saturday in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, and the reaction it caused, elicited a statement by the university's chancellor.
A handful of members of the ECU band chose to kneel during the national anthem prior to Central Florida's 47-29 football win over the Pirates, following a nationwide trend of silent protest against race relations and police-related violence.
When the anthem ended, boos cascaded across the stadium, and the band was booed again at halftime. Before the end of the game, ECU chancellor Dr. Cecil Staton released a statement regarding the incident.
“As an institution of higher learning, East Carolina respects the rights of our students, staff and faculty to express their personal views,” Staton said. “That is part of the free exchange of ideas on a university campus. While we acknowledge and understand the disappointment felt by many Pirate fans’ response to the events at the beginning of today's football game, we urge all Pirate students, supporters and participants to act with respect for each others views.”
East Carolina starting cornerback Corey Seargent went down with a leg injury on UCF’s fifth play from scrimmage and did not return, leading to some personnel shifts in the ECU secondary.
DaShaun Amos moved from his nickel spot to a lead corner role to join Colby Gore, who made an interception in the third quarter, and there was an unexpected playing time increase for redshirt freshman walk-on Devon Sutton as an outside linebacker/nickelback.
ECU lead receiver Zay Jones made a reception with about eight minutes remaining to give him four 100-yard receiving games in five outings this season. He finished with 15 grabs for 122 yards and a touchdown.
What was possibly even more frustrating for the Pirates to explain after the 18-point loss was that Jimmy Williams made seven catches for 145 yards and Quay Johnson grabbed four passes for 110 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown. But turnovers and missed opportunities plagued the ECU offense, which churned out 518 yards. UCF finished with 370.
“We prepared good and we were focused coming out, but once we got on the field, we didn’t execute and we’re not converting in the red zone at all,” Williams said. “We have to put points on the board.”
ECU did not record a sack for the third straight game, but UCF had five.
Although some pressure led to errant throws by UCF quarterback Justin Holman, the Pirates’ only sack of the season still stands as Dayon Pratt’s takedown of N.C. State QB Ryan Finley during Week 2. Quarterback hurries were recorded by Jordan Williams, Fred Presley and Damage Bailey.
Holman finished 11-of-29 for 156 yards.
“Offensively we couldn’t get any rhythm going because we couldn’t run the football, but also we couldn’t protect the passer in situations where I think we should be able to protect the passer,” Pirate coach Scottie Montgomery said of the sacks by the Knights. “He was on the ground way too much.”