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AAC: Early test for Memphis

Navy Memphis Football

Memphis head coach Mike Norvell celebrates after defensive back Austin Hall intercepted a pass to seal a 30-27 win over Navy in the final minutes of the fourth quarter in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

The American Athletic Conference has an opportunity to build on Saturday’s football upset by Cincinnati at UCLA with more games against Power Five opponents this week, but an in-league matchup also is notable with Memphis traveling to face Navy in an AAC West showdown.

Navy began its season with a 59-41 loss at Hawaii, but the Midshipmen and their unique triple-option rushing attack are always a threat in the conference. Memphis, the AAC West preseason favorite, is a lead contender to possibly knock off Central Florida and win the league championship this year.

“It’s going to be a big game for us and we are definitely excited about it, but it is unique with a game that we know is going to clearly impact the divisional race,” Memphis coach Mike Norvell said of playing Navy during Week 2.

The Tigers went 10-3 a year ago and they took care of their Week 1 tune-up with a 66-14 home win against Mercer. New quarterback Brady White, an Arizona State graduate transfer, went 22-of-28 for 358 yards and five touchdowns in his debut.

Memphis opened as a four-point favorite against Navy, which ran 49 times for 326 yards in the loss at Hawaii.

“They basically cruised in their first game and had a great, great showing,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said of UM. “Fortunately we are at home and we normally play well at home and are a hard team to beat at home. Hopefully all those factors can help us against a really good Memphis team.”

What to watch

This weekend’s American Athletic Conference slate features four of its teams hosting Power Five opponents.

It begins Friday night when TCU from the Big 12 travels to play at SMU.

Two Atlantic Coast Conference teams hit the road Saturday afternoon for AAC action with North Carolina at East Carolina, and Georgia Tech at South Florida after both of those teams won their opener. The fourth game is Pac-12 member Arizona at Houston on Saturday at noon.

Also this week, Tulsa plays at Texas and Connecticut makes a long trip to Boise State.

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

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ECU

February 17, 2019

East Carolina basketball coaches have been hot on the recruiting trail, including for Boston 7-footer Charles Coleman who also is a target by Wake Forest, Duke and DePaul, as the Pirates have faced difficulties on the court for another season.

A 79-69 loss to Memphis on Wednesday night, a game in…

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February 16, 2019

East Carolina was busy on indoor and outdoor tennis courts this weekend, highlighted by the ECU women winning both of their matches in Greenville for a four-match win streak.

The Pirates (4-2) took a 5-2 victory over James Madison at the River Birch Tennis Center, then swept Campbell at the ECU…

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February 16, 2019

After serving as East Carolina baseball’s first starting pitcher of the season and hitting for himself as the designated hitter, Alec Burleson was thinking he would remain at DH or maybe play first base for Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader versus Radford.

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February 15, 2019

A total of 21 runs by East Carolina powered the Pirates to a college baseball opening day sweep of Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.

Spencer Brickhouse’s go-ahead, two-run home run keyed a 6-2 win, then ECU used a 16-hit barrage for a 15-9 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader…

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February 15, 2019

CATCHER

Jake Washer, junior: Washer is back as East Carolina’s starting catcher after receiving Major League Baseball draft interest following his breakout sophomore season. In addition to showing power with six home runs and 40 RBIs a year ago, Washer posted a smooth .287 batting average.…

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February 15, 2019

Equipped with All-American Bryant Packard ready to serve again as East Carolina’s leadoff man in the batting order and a stable of proven pitchers who battled during the preseason for lead rotation spots, ECU is ready to face an opponent and begin a new season.

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February 15, 2019

WEEKEND ROTATION

FRIDAY

Alec Burleson, sophomore: Burleson will be a frequent player at designated hitter and first base in the lineup, but his main focus in the season opener versus Radford will be on the pitcher’s mound. The left-hander, who was the American Athletic Conference rookie…

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February 15, 2019

One of baseball’s many adages is that good teams need to be strong “up the middle,” a reference that focuses on important defensive positions from catcher to middle infielders at shortstop and second base and then into the outfield with a center fielder.

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s 64-54 women’s basketball win at SMU on Thursday night gave the Pirates consecutive victories for the first time since December.

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February 14, 2019

East Carolina’s baseball season will begin Friday at Clark-LeClair Stadium with a doubleheader at 2 p.m. and from there the series schedule versus Radford will be fluid.

Changes were made Thursday morning to the weekend schedule because of expected rain on Saturday and Sunday.

Revised Weekend…

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