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Pinnix sees Ahlers effect

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East Carolina's Holton Ahlers (12) runs as Darius Pinnix looks to block during the Pirates' win against North Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Sept. 8, 2018.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Friday, September 14, 2018

There was a play last Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium when a North Carolina safety was staring at an East Carolina backfield with two guys totaling 463 pounds on a third-and-3 play near midfield.

The UNC safety keyed on the wrong player during the read option, chasing after 6-foot-3, 236-pound freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers as 227-pound backup running back Darius Pinnix zoomed by untouched for a 48-yard touchdown run.

It was the only score of the third quarter and it gave the Pirates, who ended up winning 41-19, a 28-19 lead with 10:13 remaining in the period. The play also was a great example of how Ahlers can put stress on a defense even when he doesn’t have the ball.

“It’s always great to have a running quarterback because the defense doesn’t have to worry about just the running back with the ball, but they have to worry about the quarterback running the ball too,” Pinnix said. “He is big factor and is a great kid. He is still learning and he is going to be a great player for sure.”

ECU is not playing its game this weekend at Virginia Tech because of Hurricane Florence.

Ahlers ran eight times for 36 yards and scored two of the Pirates’ four rushing touchdowns versus the Tar Heels. Starting RB Anthony Scott had 17 carries for 73 yards and a touchdown, Pinnix five for 65 yards and a TD and Hussein Howe 15 rushes for 50 yards.

In total, ECU rushed for 220 yards on 49 carries. It marked only the third time under coach Scottie Montgomery that the Pirates reached 200 rushing yards in a game.

Their best rushing total in 2017 was 187 in a 63-21 loss at Central Florida.

Ahlers, who did not play Week 1 in an upset loss to North Carolina A&T, served as a nice complement to starting QB Reid Herring against UNC. Herring is more a traditional passer and he finished 19-of-32 for 290 yards and a touchdown.

A key to the big victory was that East Carolina also did not turn the ball over.

“When Holton is in there, the impact of him helps the inside running game and when Reid is in there and he’s throwing ball well to the outside and to the receivers, that also helps the run game,” offensive coordinator Tony Petersen said. “Both of those quarterbacks have their way of helping our running game with their play.”

The Pirates have used all three of their QBs through two games.

Herring, a sophomore, had to leave the A&T game for one play because of a hard hit, and redshirt freshman Kingsley Ifedi came in to complete a 5-yard pass. When the same thing happened against the Heels, ECU instead turned to Ahlers.

The true freshman from D.H. Conley High School can play in up to four games this season and still redshirt. Like against UNC, the depth chart for the canceled game against the Hokies had Herring backed up by Ifedi and Ahlers as third-string.

“Kingsley had a great camp and has had great practices,” Montgomery said. “I think he is progressing toward being a better player and right now he is the backup quarterback and Holton is kind of the jack of all trades.”

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

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ECU

November 17, 2018

These three questions appeared in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section previewing the Connecticut at East Carolina football game for ECU’s senior day.

Check back after the 7 p.m. game (on CBS Sports Network) for the answers and more insight.

1. Which East Carolina running back…

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November 17, 2018

East Carolina and Connecticut are both starving for a football win, and one of the clubs is bound to achieve that feeling tonight inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Both teams are 0-6 in American Athletic Conference play. The Pirates (2-7 overall) have three games remaining and they are favored over the…

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November 17, 2018

Q: You are an emotional guy. Who else on the team gets really hyped and loud before games?

A: I definitely have to say D’Ante Smith and probably Matt Morgan on the offensive line. Matt is like my hype man. But as a whole (team), there really are guys across the board who get into it and get…

093018ECUFootball-14.jpg

November 16, 2018

East Carolina basketball was frigid from the field on Friday night at Georgia Tech, suffering a 79.54 setback to the Yellow Jackets after the Pirates shot a paltry 35.6 percent from the floor.

ECU (2-2) saw its record evened after a pathetic 2-for-17 showing from three-point range to go with a 10-…

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November 16, 2018

Southern Miss athletics director Jon Gilbert is potentially emerging as a lead candidate in East Carolina’s search for a new AD, although Southern Miss athletics spokesman Jack Duggan said Friday afternoon that he was not aware of Gilbert leaving for another job.

Multiple sources have…

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November 16, 2018

East Carolina’s basketball team scrimmaged Atlantic Coast Conference opponents Wake Forest and N.C. State during the preseason.

Tonight’s game at ACC member Georgia Tech will count toward the Pirates’ win-loss record.

ECU (2-1), which has one win ever against an ACC team when it…

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November 15, 2018

Coaches Scottie Montgomery and Randy Edsall sound similar at this point in the college football season.

Montgomery and the Pirates will be looking to stop a five-game losing streak when 1-9 Connecticut visits Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for a 7 p.m. kickoff Saturday. ECU is 2-7 this year, giving…

SMU UConn Football

November 15, 2018

Two important elements to Saturday night’s East Carolina football game are that the struggling Pirates (2-7) are favored against Connecticut (1-9), and that it is senior day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

ECU has been the underdog in all but two games this season. It was nearly a two-touchdown…

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November 14, 2018

With East Carolina football still seeking its first American Athletic Conference win of the season and many fans in Pirate Nation upset with the results by third-year coach Scottie Montgomery and the Pirates, ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton released a statement late Wednesday afternoon saying that an…

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November 14, 2018

The score was tied only briefly Wednesday night in Minges Coliseum for women’s basketball action.

East Carolina and Grand Canyon were deadlocked, 24-24, for exactly 12 seconds before ECU produced a game-changing rally late in the second quarter and the Pirates stayed in front the rest of the…

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