BYH to the one who thinks that we are energy independent because of this president. The initiatives you speak of began...

Primetime awaits USF-ECU, and Bucs-Steelers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
1 of 2

Raymond James Stadium is shown lit up for the first time in this Aug. 11, 1998 photo. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Cincinnati South Florida Football

The Daily Reflector

Friday, 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.

The Bucs, who also are off to hot start at 2-0, will welcome in the Pittsburgh Steelers for Monday Night Football. There should be plenty of time Sunday for Raymond James to be completely switched from college to pro mode, but South Florida coach Charlie Strong said earlier this week the Bulls’ kickoff times are not as dependent on the NFL schedule as it might seem initially.

Like a lot of things in sports, Strong said television is a big factor.

“I think it has a lot to do with the conference and where we are slotted with ESPN to be on TV,” he said.

The USF-ECU matchup will be broadcast on ESPNews. The Bucs-Steelers game two nights later will kick off at 8:15 on the ESPN flagship network.

The American Athletic Conference has three Saturday games at 8 p.m. this week. In addition to the Pirates (1-1) at USF, ESPN3 will stream Texas Southern at Houston and South Alabama at Memphis.

Memphis, USF and Houston have a combined 7-2 record, which also likely makes it more enticing for ESPN to put those home teams in night action.

South Florida’s season opener was against Elon at 6 p.m. with an attendance of 31,217. It was a noon kickoff a week later for the Bulls at Raymond James, but also a better opponent in Georgia Tech, and the crowd bumped to 34,182.

Through only a few weeks of the college football season, frontrunner Central Florida is the only AAC squad with an average home attendance above 40,000 at 43,269. ECU (38,969) ranks second and USF (32,700) is third.

“This is the first 8 p.m. game for us (this season), so I don’t know how much effect it is going to have,” Strong said. “Fans are fans and they are still going to come to the game. With it being so late, I don’t think it is going to bother them for whoever is going to come out and watch us play.”

The Bulls’ first four games of this year are at an NFL venue. Three are at Raymond James, and they beat Illinois 25-19 last Saturday at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears.

For East Carolina, simply playing a game could provide a boost after its Week 3 matchup at Virginia Tech was canceled because of Hurricane Florence. The Pirates had one of their best performances of the Scottie Montgomery coaching era two weeks ago in a 41-19 rout of North Carolina.

The team has been in Orlando, Fla., for more than a week now and is set to travel to Tampa today.

“It is different territory, but it’s the same goal and the same mission and we are here for business only and that is to come out of South Florida with a ‘W,’” Pirate senior linebacker Cannon Gibbs said. “We’re just ready to get after it. … We are ready for Saturday evening and to be in that primetime atmosphere and a late-night game to compete at a high level.”

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


Humans of Greenville


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


December 16, 2018

Things only fell into place in spurts for the East Carolina women’s basketball team on Sunday afternoon, but the Pirates cashed in on those surges to upend South Carolina Upstate, 63-53 in Minges Coliseum.

The Pirates (7-2) build a big early lead but found themselves in a one-point battle by…


December 13, 2018

East Carolina’s Justice Gee dropped in a 3-pointer at the final buzzer and flexed her muscles at midcourt as not only her teammates rushed to her in celebration, but also more than 6,000 local school children in the Minges Coliseum stands shouted and cheered and danced and joined in the fun.…


December 13, 2018

East Carolina’s women’s basketball team will be looking to continue an unbeaten run in Education Day games when it hosts Liberty today at 11:30 a.m. in Minges Coliseum.

The contest will bring thousands of school children into Minges for the annual late-morning tip-off. ECU is 5-0 all-…


December 12, 2018

Dave Hart wants unity and success for East Carolina athletics as much as anyone, which is part of the reason why he is continuing in his role as special athletics adviser for ECU for another year.

Hart has been in the role since March 15, helping with a critical transition as the Pirates parted…


December 11, 2018

East Carolina basketball forward Jayden Gardner completed the final academic exam of his freshman fall semester on Tuesday, and now he can turn most of his attention to basketball, but that means more practices than games for him and the Pirates.

ECU (6-4) is near the middle of its oddest…


December 11, 2018

Two East Carolina football recruits are experiencing the unique blend of high school football glory and college football recruiting to the fullest extent this week, including the multi-talented Traveon Freshwater from Elizabeth City.

Freshwater and his teammates at Northeastern High will play in…


December 09, 2018

Jon Gilbert’s experience in athletics ranges from being an administrator at big-time Southeastern Conference schools Alabama and Tennessee to holding his first athletics director position last year at Southern Miss, a school that in many ways is similar to East Carolina and used to be a rival…


December 07, 2018

Pitt County East Carolina football recruits Jeremy Lewis of South Central and CJ Johnson of D.H. Conley doubled down on their commitments following the arrival of new head coach Mike Houston this week.

Attempts to reach Farmville Central’s Keziah Everett for comment were unsuccessful.



December 07, 2018

First-year East Carolina head football coach Mike Houston announced the addition of 10 members to his initial Pirates’ staff on Friday.

All have assumed their duties immediately.

Among the additions are eight coaches who were on Houston's staff at James Madison, five on the offensive side of…


December 07, 2018

The difference in total yards — 614 to 362 in favor of James Madison — tells a lot of the story of JMU’s 34-14 win over East Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to begin the 2017 season for both teams.

Coach Mike Houston, who posted a 37-6 record at JMU in three seasons before…

306 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 31
        Next Page»   Last Page»