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American bags three Power Five wins

Arizona Houston Football-4

Houston quarterback D'Eriq King, left, throws a pass as Arizona linebacker Colin Schooler (7) defends during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 10, 2018

Just two weeks into the season, the American Athletic Conference has already done its usual by knocking off some notable Power Five opposition, including three during the weekend.

Exemplifying that trend on Saturday was Houston’s high-flying trouncing of Pac-12 member Arizona. In that game, AAC offensive player of the week D’Eriq King figured in six touchdowns — four passing, two rushing — as the Cougars raced out to a 38-0 lead.

It was another early-season signature for the American, now 4-0 versus the Pac-12, and it was another chance for the league’s coaches to tout what is becoming regular success against the game’s top five leagues and to push the conference’s “Power Six” agenda.

“You never want to take anything for granted, but this is something that’s becoming more common,” said UH head coach Major Applewhite, who now will steer his team to Texas Tech. “Power Six wins, there were three of them this weekend, 30 since ’15. This is an incredible conference. There are great players in this conference, and you can see that in the number of (NFL) draft picks compared to the other so-called larger conferences. We’ve got great players and great coaches, and I think people are just continuing to find that out week in and week out.”

Bulls on parade

South Florida also got in on the Power Five purge on Saturday, gutting Georgia Tech from the ACC by a count of 49-38 in Tampa.

Like Houston, USF has been no stranger to the spotlight in recent years and is also off to a 2-0 start under second-year head coach Charlie Strong. The former Texas front man is not surprised that the American continues to hold its own against the game’s elite.

“We talk about Power Six, and look at us against Georgia Tech, look at Houston and what they did against Arizona and how well they played, and ECU and North Carolina. You have teams in this league that can play with anybody in the country,” Strong said. “It is good just to see how strong this league is week in and week out and how competitive it is.”

Pirates’ recruiting boost

East Carolina completed the trifecta of marquee wins in its 41-19 humbling of North Carolina, marking the third straight win for ECU in the series.

As big as those wins have been on the field, the three-game winning streak against the Tar Heels has paid immeasurable dividends in recruiting.

“The bigger deal is it gives us a recruiting platform right here in the state,” Montgomery said of the UNC win. “We played against a lot of guys (on Saturday) that were four-star guys, three-star guys from our state. We get that recognition now of being able to go on the field and compete with a team like UNC.”

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

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

ECU

September 22, 2018

Q: You had 90 receiving yards and a touchdown against North Carolina on Sept. 8, earning the game ball after the Pirates’ 41-19 win. What did you do with the ball?

A: I’m giving it to my son (5-year-old Quey), and it’s unbelievable just to be able to say that I can give that to my…

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September 21, 2018

Raymond James Stadium is set to host two primetime football games in the coming days, beginning Saturday when East Carolina plays at 3-0 South Florida at 8 p.m.

USF stages its home games at the stadium in Tampa more known as the venue for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.…

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

September 20, 2018

Basketball schedules released by East Carolina and the American Athletic Conference this week have East Carolina hosting three men’s-women’s doubleheaders in Minges Coliseum, including two to begin the season.

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September 19, 2018

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September 19, 2018

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September 19, 2018

It has been two weeks since East Carolina has played a football game, and the Pirates spent most of those days in Orlando, Fla., to avoid the direct impact of Hurricane Florence.

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September 19, 2018

Temple made a big jump in the American Athletic Conference football beat writer rankings, and East Carolina also moved up a spot to eighth this week.

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September 18, 2018

East Carolina’s football team had a rare opportunity to be unified and fully concentrated on watching South Florida play at Illinois last Saturday, a game that ended with the Bulls rallying for 18 points in the fourth quarter for a 25-19 win and 3-0 start to their season.

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September 18, 2018

A win at a Pac-12 opponent, a shutout and then a record-setting outing on offense.

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September 17, 2018

The use of FaceTime on phones has been invaluable for the East Carolina football team, which avoided the direct hit of Hurricane Florence when it left for Orlando, Fla., last Wednesday but in many ways still is dealing with the aftermath.

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