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UCONN-ECU: Three answers

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Fans watch as the Marching Pirates preform before the game against Connecticut on Nov. 17, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, November 18, 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. The favored Pirates cruised to a 55-21 win.

Here and the answers and more insight:

1. Which East Carolina running back gets the most carries? Darius Pinnix, who started for the first time this season, led the way early among the backs before a hit to his lower leg during the second quarter knocked him out of the game. Little-used freshman bruiser Trace Christian took control during the second half and it was him finishing with a team-high 13 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown for the final touchdown of the night. Quarterback Holton Ahlers carried 12 times for 130 yards, extending his streak of eight straight games as the Pirates’ leading rusher. But the QB not having the most carries was the first time that happened during his four games as a starter.

ECU also could be without Pinnix for Friday’s matchup at Cincinnati’s and its strong defense.

“I was really upset when it happened because he had worked really hard. … We had an extensive package for him tonight, and we didn’t get to it,” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said of Pinnix and his injury. “I think he just has a sprain right now, but we’ll find out a little more (Sunday) and it’s a tight week.”

2. How many total yards for David Pindell? 159, which is well below his average. He had a season-low 3 rushing yards, one week after totaling 184. The talented UConn quarterback was precise early and guided the Huskies to a 21-14 lead behind three touchdown passes, but ECU halted his production in a hurry. That was especially true on the ground (sacks count against rushing total). Cornerback Colby Gore snatched away an interception from teammate Davondre Robinson for a key play, Nate Harvey totaled three of the Pirates’ four sacks and even rookie DB Damel Hickman’s interception was the final play of the game.

Pindell doesn’t have much help around him and he has to beat teams for UConn to win. The Pirates didn’t allow that to happen, especially in the second half.

3. Is this the weakest crowd of the season? It was, but at least seemed like a better student turnout than for the previous home game Nov. 3 in a loss to Memphis. Still, the “announced attendance” of 27,234 was a season-low and it gave East Carolina consecutive home games with crowds less than 30,000 for the first time since 2004. It was cold and excusable for people not to go see a game involving teams that came in with a combined 0-12 American Athletic Conference record, but it also was another sign of how many Pirate fans have mainly checked out this late in a fourth straight losing season.

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

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