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Grayson's big day bolsters Pirates' offense

East Carolina Connecticut Football-2
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East Carolina quarterback Thomas Sirk, center, and tight end Stephen Baggett, left, celebrate with wide receiver Davon Grayson after Grayson caught a touchdown during the first half of Sunday's game against UConn at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Conn.

East Carolina Connecticut Football
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By NATHAN SUMMERS
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 25, 2017

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Davon Grayson and Thomas Sirk were just the sort of dynamic duo East Carolina football needed to save its day.

Even that almost wasn't enough in the face of the Pirates' ever-flimsy defense in a tense 41-38 victory on Sunday afternoon.

While the ECU defense could not get enough stops in the second half to keep it from being a fight to the finish, Grayson ran up near-record numbers with 11 receptions for 223 yards and three touchdowns.

That number trails only Justin Hardy's remarkable 230 yards against Tulane in 2013 on the all-time ECU list.

With fellow senior Jimmy Williams a late scratch due to illness, Grayson continued to be ECU's most consistent play-maker.

"We had one guy down and someone had to step up," Grayson said. "I knew Sirk was going to give us a shot and I just tried to come down with every football he threw to me."

Grayson lived up to that.

He caught a 17-yard touchdown to open the scoring, gave his team the lead back with a 24-yard end zone catch and then blistered the Huskies’ defense for a 75-yarder to open the second half.

Still, he admitted it is tough watching a team come back from 20 points down as UConn did late before falling one missed field goal away from tying the game.

"At times, there are things that are not in our control and that stresses us out, but I knew every time I stepped out there that I was going to do everything I was supposed to do to help us come out on top," Grayson said. "And I trust that my teammates are going to do the same thing."

After an 0-3 start to the season, Sunday's game was a must-win for the Pirates.

For seniors like Grayson, the pressure was even greater to turn things around now.

"I told the guys I wasn't going to leave UConn if we didn't come out on top," Grayson said with a laugh. "Thank God we did or I'd be right there sleeping on that sideline."

Contact Nathan Summers at nsummers@reflector.com, 252-329-9595 and follow @NateSumm99 on Twitter.

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