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Another marquee, unique matchup for AAC

Navy UCF Football

Central Florida wide receiver Dredrick Snelson (5) celebrates in the end zone after scoring a 34-yard receiving touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Navy, Saturday, Nov. 10, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

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By Nathan Summers
The Daily Reflector

Monday, November 12, 2018

It remains to be seen whether or not the premier team in the American Athletic Conference will again be undefeated and knocking on the door of the College Football Playoff at season’s end, but Central Florida already is very much in the public eye of college football.

Everything will be on the line in prime time on Saturday when the 9-0 Knights host fellow East Division heavyweight Cincinnati (9-1, 5-1).

For the first time, the sport’s biggest traveling roadshow is coming to the their town, as ESPN’s College Game Day is headed to Orlando for the 8 p.m. showdown.

“They understand the opportunity we have this Saturday, but I think they also understand that all that matters is how we prepare each and every day this week, and that will take us to kickoff,” first-year UCF head coach Josh Heupel said during Monday’s weekly AAC coaches teleconference of his team, which scored a tight 35-24 victory last Saturday over struggling Navy.

Heupel said that while the hype surrounding his team is what the Knights strive for, he knows his players will have to block it out as much as possible this week.

Coming to town for the festivities is arguably the hottest other team in the American, as the Bearcats are fresh from upending suddenly struggling South Florida, dealing the Bulls their third straight loss after a 7-0 start.

On the line for Cincy and second-year coach Luke Fickell is the chance to throw a wrench into the works of the conference and forge a tie in the East Division with the Knights. Doing that would mean becoming the first team since 2016 to beat UCF.

“It’s the first time a lot of these guys have been on a stage like this, and we’ve got to be able to control our emotions again and handle the situation, the scene, and what it’s all about is getting to game time and 8 o’clock and being at our best, not throughout all the other hype stuff that’s going to be done throughout this entire week,” Fickell said.

No overlooking

A battle of AAC basement dwellers is on tap in Greenville this week when Connecticut travels to East Carolina with both teams still in search of their first conference win.

There is little doubt that each of the teams will think this game is its best chance to get that win and might have been eyeing this contest, but UConn head coach Randy Edsall said his Huskies (1-9, 0-6) are in no position to look past any team on the schedule to get to another one.

In fact, he laughed aloud when asked if that was a possibility.

“We’re not good enough to look ahead,” Edsall said. “We’re good enough to try and get better each and every day, and that’s all we do. This week just happens to be we have East Carolina, and we’ll prepare the best we can and go down there and try to get a win. ... We never try to look ahead or anything along those lines. That’s for fans to do and for media to do.”

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

April 20, 2019

East Carolina made another strong statement on Saturday as the American Athletic Conference baseball leader, this time beginning at 9 a.m. at Clark-LeClair Stadium and then during the afternoon hours in sunny and better hitting conditions in front of 3,655 fans.

The bullpen was key for the Pirates…

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April 19, 2019

East Carolina pitcher Jake Agnos and coach Cliff Godwin had a heated exchange on the pitcher’s mound during the ninth inning Thursday night at Clark-LeClair Stadium, which turned into a more calm and productive conversation between the pair a few minutes later after ECU completed a 5-1 win…

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April 18, 2019

Jeff Hoffman wowed plenty of professional baseball scouts at East Carolina from 2012 to 2014 before he was selected as the ninth overall pick in the 2014 Major League Baseball draft.

It was Jake Agnos’ turn at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Thursday, when about 30 scouts were packed into their…

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April 18, 2019

A pre­mier matchup on the pitcher’s mound should high­light Game 1 of the Con­necti­cut-East Carolina base­ball se­ries, which be­gins to­day at 6:30 p.m. and ends Satur­day at Clark-LeClair Sta­dium.

Jake Ag­nos has been the ace for the…

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April 17, 2019

When Cincinnati eliminated East Carolina in the first round of the American Athletic Conference women’s tennis tournament on Wednesday in Orlando, Fla., it marked the Pirates’ first loss since Jan. 23 and ended their season.

The Bearcats won 4-1 and advanced as the No. 10 seed to play…

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April 16, 2019

East Carolina smashed a couple of home runs in a five-run first inning at Elon on Tuesday night, then added another in the eighth en route to a 9-4 rout of the Phoenix in non-conference baseball action.

Hot-hitting Spencer Brickhouse opened the scoring by bashing his ninth homer of the season, a…

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April 16, 2019

When East Carolina linebacker Aaron Ramseur showed up late for the first team meeting of spring practice, he and the rest of the Pirate football team got an early idea of how much things were about to change under new head coach Mike Houston.

When he arrived late for the 7 a.m. meeting, Ramseur,…

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April 16, 2019

How student-athletes spend their monthly scholarship money, their freedoms when living off campus and East Carolina University’s facilities all are factors as the school plans to implement an athletic-specific dining area in the future.

ECU student-athletes who are on full…

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April 15, 2019

East Carolina baseball coach Cliff Godwin heard during the Pirates’ weekend series at No. 1 UCLA that it felt like an NCAA super regional.

The Bruins swept ECU with all three games decided by three runs or less, only strengthening their resume as college baseball’s best team but…

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April 15, 2019

Coach Mike Houston said after Saturday’s spring Purple-Gold Game that today will be a big day for he and his staff to evaluate the entire East Carolina football roster, keeping in mind that more players will be added to the mix for preseason camp.

Cuts will likely be made and the very early…

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