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ECU-TULANE: Three takeaways

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East Carolina tries to pressure Tulane quarterback Jonathan Banks in Greenville, Nov. 11, 2017. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, November 12, 2017

East Carolina fell to 2-8 on Saturday night in tough fashion with a 31-24 home overtime loss to Tulane. Here are three takeaways:

JMU-Tulane double: This loss hurt for the Pirates because it happened in overtime and they came up a yard short in the process. But big picture, East Carolina losing at home to an FCS team (James Madison) and Tulane in the same season is simply not a good look. I’m an American Athletic Conference guy and there are some promising programs in the league, but Tulane is not one of them. James Madison and Tulane were both favored and both came into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and left victorious. There’s simply no hiding from that.

Bad matchup: To somewhat backtrack on the previous point, this was a bad matchup for the Pirates and Cincinnati should be a better one. ECU has historically struggled against the option and mobile quarterbacks. The Green Wave took advantage with senior running back Dontrell Hilliard going for a career-high 189 yards (6.8 per carry) and two touchdowns, and quarterback Jonathan Banks ran 12 times for 96 yards (8.0 average) and also two TDs. Tulane at least has an identity with its unique shotgun run-option attack, and it also has some top-notch defensive backs who made plays all night. The Green Wave deserves credit for sticking to what it does best.

Shout-outs: As rough a night as it was for East Carolina, running back Hussein Howe was a big standout in excelling against a weak run defense and giving the Pirates their first 100-yard rusher of the season (14 carries, 108 yards). He showed quality burst and elusiveness. The offensive line also played a role in the run game for sure. Freshman linebacker Aaron Ramseur continues to make plays — he had a key second-half interception and seven tackles — and graduate transfer safety Korrin Wiggins finally looked like a difference-maker and played as aggressive and physical as he has all season.

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

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