I have been watching the commercials for the third district race and found it to be a down-to-the-wire-event. We have...

GAMEDAY: Pirates look to take out UNC


East Carolina QB Reid Herring.


The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 8, 2018

As East Carolina football aims to rekindle some Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium magic against North Carolina today, the visiting Tar Heels also come in with a sense of desperation.

Both teams went 3-9 last season and they each started this year with a loss.

For ECU, that meant falling 28-23 to Football Championship Subdivision opponent North Carolina A&T last Sunday in a result that only heightened the tension in Greenville and has many Pirate followers on edge about another possible losing season. The Pirates were ultimately doomed by three turnovers, two in the Aggies’ red zone, in the loss.

UNC comes into the 3:30 p.m kickoff with a 12-4-1 lead in the all-time series, but it was defeated in the last two meetings, the most recent in 2014 when ECU won 70-41. In front a Dowdy-Ficklen all-time high crowd of 51,082, the home team that day amassed a school-record 789 offensive yards, and Shane Carden’s first touchdown pass went to now-Pirate senior Trevon Brown.

Since that signature win, East Carolina has posted a 16-30 overall record, and that includes coach Scottie Montgomery’s 6-19 mark in two-plus seasons.

“We are playing better on defense and now it’s on critical errors and us getting certain people ready and prepared to play games better,” said Montgomery, whose team will see sophomore QB Reid Herring make his second-career start after two touchdowns and two interceptions last Sunday afternoon. “We can’t have eight or nine or 10 guys be right. Eleven guys have to be right. I have to do a better job of that.”

Montgomery has never faced the Tar Heels as a head coach, but as a player and assistant coach at Duke he went 1-10 against the rival from Chapel Hill.

Like Montgomery, coach Larry Fedora is feeling some outside heat at UNC, which lost 24-17 at California last week as a seven-point underdog. Carolina is facing a two-game slate against American Athletic Conference opponents as it is set to host UCF next week for its home-opener.

“There’s no doubt in my mind Scottie Montgomery will have his team ready to play and there’s no doubt in my mind they will probably play the best game that they play this season,” Fedora said. “Our team has to be prepared for that.”

The coach added that he doesn’t have any extra personal motivation stemming from 55-31 and 70-41 setbacks to the Pirates in 2013 and ‘14, respectively.

“I really just focus on the next game at hand and it is the next game,” he said. “There is nothing more to it than we are going on the road to prepare our team to play a team that is in the state of North Carolina. There’s no more motivation needed in my opinion.”

The Tar Heels haven’t started a season with consecutive road games since 2001 when they began with road losses to Oklahoma, Maryland and Texas.

This UNC team will still be without 10 players suspended from an offseason shoe-selling scandal.

Quarterback Chazz Surratt was dealt a four-game suspension, which has Nathan Elliot in charge of the offense. Last week he had mixed results. The 6-foot-1, 215 pound junior led the Heels in rushing against Cal with 58 yards on 10 carries, but through the air he was 15-of-35 for 137 yards, one touchdown and four interceptions.

Lead receiver Anthony Ratliff (630 receiving yards and six touchdowns in 2017) started his junior year by catching Elliot’s lone TD pass.

The ECU defense, which was worst in the nation last year, ranks 24th in rush defense after yielding 82 yards to N.C. A&T. East Carolina, which did surrender a few key first downs on third-and-long, will have to deal with another Antonio in running back and Ohio State transfer Antonio Williams looking to continue to establish himself with the Heels.

Individual standouts on the Pirate defense from last week included a few linemen. Senior end Nate Harvey totaled a team-high eight tackles, and Jalen Price had four stops and the lone ECU sack.

“Them being an in-state rival, there is a little bit more if we win this one,” Harvey said of playing UNC. “There’s bragging rights for the year.”

ECU will likely need more big plays from Brown at receiver and in the return game. Looking to complement him are fellow wideouts Terrell Green (team-high 10 catches, 85 yards), Blake Proehl and starting running back Anthony Scott. Brown, Scott and Green are all seniors, and Proehl is a redshirt freshman who made nine catches for 65 yards in his collegiate debut.

The Carolina defense features three senior starters, but not end Malik Carney on an experienced line because he begins his suspension this week. The senior was UNC’s leader against Cal with eight tackles, including two sacks.

J.K. Britt (six tackles) is a leader in the secondary at strong safety.

“I think their safeties are their best players,” Pirate offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said of Britt and junior Myles Dorn. “They are big-time downhill hitters and they like to bring it from the back end. … We have to execute at a high level, because they have a lot of talent over there.”


1. How is the atmosphere? Last weekend’s home-opener was unconventional to say the least for ECU, which was able to announce a paid attendance of 38,640, but the stadium really was about half-full for the Sunday afternoon contest after it was postponed from Saturday night. Pirate fans love to see East Carolina play against the ACC, evidenced by the 2014 game against UNC holding the Dowdy-Ficklen record of 51,082 fans.

2. Does Holton Ahlers play? It is a question worth asking until Ahlers, a Greenville native, does see action at quarterback. The talented freshman left-hander was dressed in full pads but did not play against N.C. A&T.

3. Who wins the turnover battle? Elliot threw four interceptions against Cal and Herring had two versus the Aggies in Week 1. The Pirate defense did not gain a takeaway, which has the team at minus-3 in turnover ratio heading into today.

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.


Humans of Greenville


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


June 19, 2019

A bill that would allow alcohol sales to the general public during UNC system sporting events and open a new revenue source for East Carolina University and other state universities is headed to the governor.

House Bill 389 was approved Monday by the state Senate and on Wednesday passed in the…


June 19, 2019

Each of the four American Athletic Conference basketball teams that participated in the 2019 NCAA tournament will visit Minges Coliseum to play East Carolina during the upcoming season, but talented Memphis is not on ECU’s home schedule.

The American Athletic Conference announced its league…


June 18, 2019

Slugger Spencer Brickhouse joined two East Carolina baseball teammates this week to give the Pirates three All-Americans in the same season for the first time since 2004, when four Pirates earned All-America status.

The Pirates have had an All-American on their team every year dating back to 2013.…


June 11, 2019


East Carolina alum Cliff Godwin was hired as ECU’s 16th head baseball coach on June 25, 2014, and within a week, he and the Pirates received a verbal commitment from a local standout in D.H. Conley High School star hitter Bryant Packard.

In the following weeks and months, ECU…

NCAA East Carolina Louisville Baseball

June 11, 2019

East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin said Tuesday morning he has not been contacted by Florida State about its coaching vacancy, and he also said that all five ECU juniors who were drafted last are leaving school and pursuing their professional careers.

The juniors leaving are Jake Agnos,…


June 09, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — It was a difficult postgame exchange between East Carolina fifth-year baseball coach Cliff Godwin and Louisville 13th year coach Dan McDonnell on Saturday afternoon, much like it was difficult on the Pirates during their two NCAA super regional losses to Louisville to end…

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

June 09, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The thousands of fans in red and the play on the field by Louisville at Jim Patterson Stadium during the NCAA super regional round trumped East Carolina and its hopes of finally breaking through and getting to Omaha, Neb., for the College World Series this year.


NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

June 08, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Jim Patterson Stadium scoreboard read during the third inning Saturday that Louisville had six runs on six hits, while East Carolina was scoreless with no hits.

If Friday’s rout by the Cardinals was not enough of a sign, it became official Saturday that ECU’s…

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

June 08, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Bobby Miller’s fastball-heavy approach against East Carolina on Saturday proved to be nearly unhittable.

For eight innings, it was unhittable.

Louisville baseball advanced to the College World Series, ended East Carolina’s season and Miller led a shutout of the…

NCAA Louisville East Carolina Baseball

June 07, 2019

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Tyler Fitzgerald, the No. 3 hitter in the Louisville batting order, finished 4-for-5 on Friday for the first four-hit game of his three-year career with the Cardinals.

No hit was more important than his RBI double during a four-run fourth inning that completely changed the…

NCAA East Carolina Louisville Baseball
229 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 23
        Next Page»   Last Page»