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ECU-TEMPLE: Three takeaways

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East Carolina students cheer after an early Pirate field goal during the home game against Temple on Oct. 7, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, October 8, 2017

East Carolina’s football season hit the halfway point Saturday in underwhelming fashion with a 34-10 home loss to Temple. Here are three takeaways:

1. The fall break thing: There was a lot of talk about the lack of attendance and atmosphere at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, and part of that was that the university students were on fall break. While that is true, I’m not buying into that excuse. When attendance was where it should be in the past, I don’t ever remember being able to pinpoint exactly which game was during fall break. The students showed up and guided the atmosphere, usually regardless of the circumstances. When the students are checked out, that can squash the stadium vibe. During the second half against Temple, it was possible to easily count the number of students in the stands. That reflects a problem bigger than just fall break.

2. Pirates are banged up: ECU leading tackler Jordan Williams was limited and talented safety Tim Irvin played — to his credit — but it was clear that he was fighting to do so. The Pirates have a bad defense and their best players aren’t 100 percent. That’s a bad combo.

3: The hard-to-explain part: In general terms, some of the things that have happened on the field by the Pirates this year just don’t make sense. The defense is the defense, but the offense looked great at times against Virginia Tech and South Florida, and then mostly stalled against a Temple team not nearly as good as the Hokies or USF. The Owls’ other two wins are 16-13 against Villanova and 26-21 over Massachusetts. ECU looked much better in big underdog situations than when it fell flat at home in a winnable game versus the Owls.

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

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