Loading...
BYH to NCDOT for cutting back so many acres of shade producing, water absorbing, and air cleaning trees along the...

GAMEDAY: ECU, BYU eyeing 2nd win

102117GDram
1 of 2

East Carolina inside linebacker Aaron Ramseur pursues Temple quarterback Logan Marchi during their game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Oct. 7. (Photo: Rob Goldberg, ECU Athletics)

Loading…

By NATHAN SUMMERS
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, October 21, 2017

A homecoming victory tonight could be a springboard toward a better future for East Carolina, but it will have to come against a BYU team just a desperate to build steps out of college football's basement.

Despite their schematic differences, the Pirates and the Cougars will see a lot of themselves when they line up across from one another for tonight's 7 o'clock kickoff in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Both teams are 1-6, meaning this misery bowl will offer small comfort to the winner and another layer of doom for the loser.

ECU dropped to 1-3 in American Athletic Conference play a week ago at Central Florida, where the Pirates were pummeled, 63-21, marking the third time this season they have allowed more than 60 points. The hosts' defensive unit is also being gouged for a weekly average of exactly 600 yards.

The season-long trends have seen the Pirates trailing by considerable halftime scores each of the last two weeks – 24-3 to Temple and 42-14 to the Knights.

The bad season has spelled bad attendance in the Pirates' often deafening stadium. The last two home crowds for Temple and South Florida were both smaller than any the team has played in front of in more than a decade.

Second-year head coach Scottie Montgomery nonetheless urged fans to fill the stadium for homecoming tonight, saying numerous times this week those fans are witnessing a slow, painful but vital process right now. He said that process includes, but certainly is not limited to, beating BYU tonight.

“We're trying to build this program and we are building this program and there are things that you can't see,” said Montgomery, 4-15 in his tenure at ECU. “We're eliminating all the distractions. We've got guys on this team that deserve to be put on a pedestal because of the way that they play and perform away from the field. I'm really happy about the future and some of the young guys we have, and some of the old guys that are teaching the young guys.”

Independent BYU does not have a conference race to worry about, but the Provo, Utah, school steeped in football tradition doesn't like a loser any more than fans in Greenville. This is its first-ever trip to Greenville.

Last week, as the Pirates lost their third straight game following a Sept. 24 victory at Connecticut, BYU’s losing streak hit six in a 35-10 defeat at Mississippi State.

“They've played a ridiculously tough schedule,” Montgomery said of the Cougars. “They played Wisconsin, they played LSU — big-time opponents — Mississippi State. I don't think anybody would trade their schedule to this point in time. You're just looking at a good football team that's gone against the likes of Boise (State) and some other (teams) that have traditionally been great football programs.”

ECU's offense continued to sputter in Orlando despite its trademark early sparks. The Pirates scored in each of the first two quarters, but again were forced to watch their defensive counterparts get slayed by the Knights for six TDs in the same time frame.

With the game already seemingly over early in the second half, graduate transfer quarterback Thomas Sirk (1,473 pass yards, 137 rush yds., 11 total TDs, eight interceptions) was on the sideline and junior backup Gardner Minshew (533 pass yds., four TDs) was once again replacing him.

Montgomery offered plenty of reassurance to Sirk about his starting job, which he actually took from Minshew early in the season.

“He'll be the starter. He loves when I give him a hard time,” Montgomery said of Sirk, who he previously coached at their respective stops at Duke. “We've met several times about just moving forward and what we want to do with him. He's in a great mood right now. That would be hard for a lot of people coming out of the start of the season the way we've come out of it.”

The team's midseason youth movement is perhaps most evident in the team's struggling running back department, where sophomore Hussein Howe (44 carries, 190 yds., TD) has taken over the team lead, just ahead of true freshman Darius Pinnix (38-154-1), who cashed in his best game as a Pirate at UCF and has taken over the top spot on the depth chart ahead of Howe.

Grad transfer Tyshon Dye and junior former starter Derrell Scott have largely taken a back seat.

Also seemingly missing in action in the pass game last week was junior wide receiver and key playmaker Trevon Brown (23 receptions, 384 yds., two TDs), and senior cog Jimmy Williams (18-294-1) continued to struggle.

None of that, however, has slowed the pace of senior Davon Grayson, who reeled in his sixth TD pass of the season in Florida and who leads the Pirates with 37 catches for 631 yards. Fellow senior Quay Johnson (25-279-1) has also remained highly productive throughout his team's struggles.

Up front, ECU expects to return freshman center John Spellacy today, meaning junior Garrett McGhin can shift back to guard and likely provide greater balance across the line.

The BYU defense is built around tackles leader and starting outside linebacker Fred Warner, whose 56 stops (team-high 33 solo) include six for loss, tied for the team lead, and a sack. Warner has also forced and recovered a fumble.

Junior end Sione Takitaki, one of more than 40 players on the BYU roster of Polynesian descent, also has six tackles for loss to go with his 40 tackles and a BYU-best 2.5 sacks. On the other end, junior Corbin Kaufusi has 41 stops, including 2.5 TFLs two sacks and a blocked kick.

At the back end, sophomore cornerback Dayan Ghanwoloku is a big-play threat with two interceptions snared in the loss against the Bulldogs last week.

The ECU defense continues to reside at the bottom of the pack in the Football Bowl Subdivision, including rush defense (126th), pass defense (128th), pass efficiency defense (129th), total defense (129th), scoring defense (129th), first down defense (126th) and third down defense (129th).

Injuries continue to haunt the unit this week, as Montgomery detailed the long-term knee injury for senior defensive end Kiante Anderson, the team's sacks and tackles for loss leader whose presence was already missed at UCF. Also, junior cornerback Corey Seargent continues to battle a hamstring injury, senior strong Bobby Fulp is nursing a bruised quad and sophomore nickelback Tim Irvin continues to play through an ankle injury.

Senior inside linebacker Jordan Williams continues to lead the defense with 53 tackles to go with 2.5 TFLs, while grad transfer free safety Korrin Wiggins has 52 stops and a pick despite serving a one-game suspension last week for a violation of academic policy along with grad DE Gaelin Elmore (12 tackles).

Despite seemingly having the man they want at quarterback in junior Tanner Mangum (775 pass yds., three TDs, seven INTs), BYU has been stifled to 10 or less points in four of its seven games this season, including being shut out at home by LSU.

The rush-heavy offense has employed a total of 14 different ball-carriers, all with limited success. Leading the big group is Ula Tolutau (57-241-2) and Squally Canada (45-205-1). Where the Pirates have choked out just six rushing TDs this season, BYU has managed just half that with the three mentioned previously.

Similarly, no Cougars receiver has more than one TD catch. Matt Bushman (24-252-0) leads that group in terms of catches, followed by Talon Shumway (15-162-0) and Aleva Hifo (15-130-1).

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

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

ECU

July 18, 2018

CARY — Duke football coach David Cutcliffe was asked Monday during the Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview about nightmares he has in his profession.

He joked that one involves facing a North Carolina offense and N.C. State defense during the same game. He was sitting next to East Carolina third-year…

IMG_1556 (1).jpg

July 16, 2018

CARY — The 16th annual Bill Dooley Pigskin Preview followed tradition Monday and turned into part comedy act by the five coaches involved and part serious football talk.

East Carolina third-year coach Scottie Montgomery and N.C. Central interim coach Granville Eastman were joined by Atlantic…

IMG_1538 (1).jpg

July 16, 2018

Speaking engagements and vacation time for college football coaches will turn into full preseason practices in less than a month, but for now there is still some balancing of obligations.

First-year East Carolina defensive coordinator David Blackwell has worked on specific details with his players…

100817ECUfootball-3.jpg

July 15, 2018

David Blackwell has coached college football at Pittsburgh and South Florida, which is located in Tampa.

He said it was easy to recognize that the Pittsburgh Steelers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the NFL are kings in those cities.

He also is a former East Carolina football player and student…

120917ECUFootball-1.jpg

July 14, 2018

The Cuba team put together an abundance on runs Saturday for a 15-4 victory over the visiting USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, but USA still finished its summer with a 12-3 record and won all three of its international series.

The Americans featured East Carolina head coach Cliff Godwin as…

060218RegionalGame2-7.jpg

July 12, 2018

The success of a profitable NCAA baseball regional held at Clark-LeClair Stadium in June and positive vibes from fans at recent Pirate Club armada events had officials optimistic at Thursday’s Athletics and Advancement Committee portion of the East Carolina Board of Trustees meeting, but the…

060218RegionalGame2-1.jpg (1).jpg

July 12, 2018

East Carolina standout and Greenville native Bryant Packard went 2-for-4 as the leadoff hitter in Game 1 for the USA Collegiate National Team in the USA vs. Cuba series in Havana, Cuba, on Tuesday night.

Game 2 on Wednesday night saw ECU pitcher Jake Agnos throw four innings with three…

060418ECUgame1-13.jpg

July 12, 2018

July is a big month for college football fans to soak up preseason hype in the form of magazines, predictions and projections of all kinds.

These things have not been kind already to East Carolina, which has posted consecutive 3-9 seasons under coach Scottie Montgomery.

The Phil Steele Preview…

120917ECUFootball-4.jpg

July 11, 2018

A major “wow moment” happened for Blake Taylor before he even teed off last Thursday at The Greenbrier Classic in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., for his PGA Tour debut.

It came Tuesday during a practice round for the East Carolina rising junior while playing with PGA veteran Jim Furyk.…

IMG_7092.jpg

July 10, 2018

East Carolina men’s golf coach Andrew Sapp is the president of the Golf Coaches Association of America, and serving in that role put him in Avion, France, last week.

He was there for the Arnold Palmer Classic, which is a Ryder Cup-style event for college golfers, while current Pirate…

Greenbrier Golf
191 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 20
        Next Page»   Last Page»