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AAC: Recruiting helping Navy's consistency

Navy Tulsa Football

Navy quarterback Zach Abey (9) escapes a tackle attempt by Tulsa cornerback Akayleb Evans on his way to a touchdown in the second quarter in Tulsa, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)


The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

There are 17 undefeated teams remaining in college football’s top division.

Navy is one of them at 4-0, but it has been somewhat of a quiet yet impressive start as the Midshipmen’s last three victories were each decided by 10 points or less. It hasn’t been dominant like some of the Mids’ teams of the past, but Navy and veteran coach Ken Niumatalolo are once again looking to be a lead contender for the AAC championship along with 18th-ranked South Florida and a few others.

“They have been able to recruit and develop and build depth that a lot of us haven’t got a chance to do yet,” said Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery, whose squad lost 31-21 to Navy on Saturday, during the American coaches teleconference Monday. “My hats off to them and with what they do schematically on both sides of the football. They put their guys in the right spots and play extremely hard and you have to defend it well.”

Navy has won at least eight games in each of the last five seasons. It went 11-2 in 2015 and 9-5 a season ago.

This is its third year in the AAC, which Niumatalolo said has been a boost to the consistency of his program.

“Joining the league has definitely helped us in recruiting, because it has allowed us to get into big markets,” he said. “From Orlando to Cincinnati and Houston and Dallas and also down in Tampa and south Florida, I just think from an overall exposure standpoint it has helped us in recruiting a lot. … It is hard to win games, so hopefully we can keep it going because it is hard to win.”

Temple thoughts

East Carolina’s game this Saturday in Greenville is against Temple, which was shut out in the first half in its last game against Houston, but then showed more promise after halftime.

The final score was a 20-13 win by the favored Cougars, dropping Temple (2-3) to 0-2 in the league prior to facing the Pirates (1-4, 1-1). The Owls made it 20-13 with a field goal with 4:21 left to play, but its final two offensive possessions ended in a turnover on downs and an interception to seal it for UH.

“Once we started hitting things late in the second quarter and into the second half, certain things started clicking offensively and we got into a rhythm,” Temple coach Geoff Collins said. “That’s the way it needs to be moving forward.”

Temple ranks 120th in the country in points per game (16.2). ECU is No. 129 in points allowed per game (50.6).

Night game

After hosting Temple at noon this week, it was announced Monday that the Pirates will return to primetime the following week at Central Florida.

The ECU-UCF game Oct. 14 will kick off at 7 p.m. and be broadcast on the CBS Sports Network.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.


November 17, 2018

These three questions appeared in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section previewing the Connecticut at East Carolina football game for ECU’s senior day.

Check back after the 7 p.m. game (on CBS Sports Network) for the answers and more insight.

1. Which East Carolina running back…


November 17, 2018

East Carolina and Connecticut are both starving for a football win, and one of the clubs is bound to achieve that feeling tonight inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Both teams are 0-6 in American Athletic Conference play. The Pirates (2-7 overall) have three games remaining and they are favored over the…


November 17, 2018

Q: You are an emotional guy. Who else on the team gets really hyped and loud before games?

A: I definitely have to say D’Ante Smith and probably Matt Morgan on the offensive line. Matt is like my hype man. But as a whole (team), there really are guys across the board who get into it and get…


November 16, 2018

East Carolina basketball was frigid from the field on Friday night at Georgia Tech, suffering a 79.54 setback to the Yellow Jackets after the Pirates shot a paltry 35.6 percent from the floor.

ECU (2-2) saw its record evened after a pathetic 2-for-17 showing from three-point range to go with a 10-…


November 16, 2018

Southern Miss athletics director Jon Gilbert is potentially emerging as a lead candidate in East Carolina’s search for a new AD, although Southern Miss athletics spokesman Jack Duggan said Friday afternoon that he was not aware of Gilbert leaving for another job.

Multiple sources have…


November 16, 2018

East Carolina’s basketball team scrimmaged Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Wake Forest and N.C. State during the preseason.

Tonight’s game at ACC member Georgia Tech will count toward the Pirates’ win-loss record.

ECU (2-1), which has one win ever against an ACC team when it…


November 15, 2018

Coaches Scottie Montgomery and Randy Edsall sound similar at this point in the college football season.

Montgomery and the Pirates will be looking to stop a five-game losing streak when 1-9 Connecticut visits Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday. ECU is 2-7 this year, giving…

SMU UConn Football

November 15, 2018

Two important elements to Saturday night’s East Carolina football game are that the struggling Pirates (2-7) are favored against Connecticut (1-9), and that it is senior day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

ECU has been the underdog in all but two games this season. It was nearly a two-touchdown…


November 14, 2018

With East Carolina football still seeking its first American Athletic Conference win of the season and many fans in Pirate Nation upset with the results by third-year coach Scottie Montgomery and the Pirates, ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying that an…


November 14, 2018

The score was tied only briefly Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum for women’s basketball action.

East Carolina and Grand Canyon were deadlocked, 24-24, for exactly 12 seconds before ECU produced a game-changing rally late in the second quarter and the Pirates stayed in front the rest of the…

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