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Montgomery laments lost yard

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East Carolina quarterback Gardner Minshew throws a pass against Tulane on Nov. 11, 2017, in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By NATHAN SUMMERS
The Daily Reflector

Monday, November 13, 2017

One yard the East Carolina football team had to have but could not get perhaps sums up its season.

Trailing 31-24 in overtime, the Pirates got stuffed on fourth-and-1 at the goal line against Tulane on Saturday night, dropping ECU to a dreadful 2-8 this season with two games left and nothing to play for except the team’s departing senior class.

Needless to say, the Pirates’ longest yard will live in the minds of the team for a long time, especially after it battled back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to force overtime, including quarterback Gardner Minshew tossing the game-tying touchdown to Deondre Farrier with 36 seconds left.

“It was great to see our offense go out and do something we (practice) all the time and execute the 2-minute drill, but at the end of the day this team was one yard short,” ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery said at Monday’s weekly news conference. “That one yard is something we’ll all think about.

“There’s a lot to gain, a lot of ground to gain, but we are getting better. We haven’t put it all together, and this was the perfect chance to get a November-style win. We ran the ball well and just didn’t make enough plays.”

Quay dismay

Montgomery confirmed that senior inside wide receiver Quay Johnson, arguably the team’s most consistent pass-catcher the last two seasons, has played his final game at ECU following a knee injury against Tulane.

This season, he trailed only fellow senior Davon Grayson with his 47 receptions for 464 yards, and in the last two seasons Johnson amassed 105 catches for 1,027 yards.

“There is no way we’ll see him,” Montgomery said. “I think Quay can continue to play football (professionally), so right now I’m more concerned with him being able to get in training form and to have a chance to continue to play. Unfortunately, I just bragged about him a couple weeks ago. He never misses practice. He never misses games. Because of that, we felt like he was going to have an end to a great season.”

Kiante’s surprise

Senior defensive end Kiante Anderson made a sudden, unexpected return to full action against Tulane, at least a full week before he before he was scheduled to be cleared to even return to practice.

But there he was last Saturday, and he didn’t just play but did so with renewed determination to finish his career strong.

“All of a sudden Wednesday he shows up at practice, like he came out of the booth with a cape on,” Montgomery said of Anderson, a former walk-on who was granted a scholarship before the season and became the team’s top defensive lineman before being injured and missing the last three games. “He then went out and played 60 snaps in the game, wouldn’t let us take him out in a lot of situations and was furious that he had to come out at all. I have no idea how he was able to play or practice.”

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

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