Loading...
Bless Wellcome Middle School's heart. They are the best kept secret in the county. Great things are happening there and...

WOODWARD: Must-win for Montgomery in Raleigh

111818ECUfootball-10.jpg
1 of 2

East Carolina head football coach Scottie Montgomery motions from the sideline during the Pirates' win against Connecticut on Nov. 17 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

082517GMAG-top10-2.jpg
Loading…

By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Sunday, November 25, 2018

CINCINNATI

As East Carolina football seniors and other players were rightfully celebrating their runaway senior night win against Connecticut on Nov. 17, there also was an undertone of reality in the presence of a crucial two-game test to end ECU’s third season under coach Scottie Montgomery.

ECU stood with a 3-7 record at the time, needing a win against favored Cincinnati or N.C. State to finish better than the 3-9 mark the Pirates posted in 2016 and again in ‘17.

They failed the first test in a major way, suffering a 56-6 blowout to Cincinnati. Montgomery admitted the game was “out of hand” during the second quarter, and starting quarterback Holton Ahlers described the day as embarrassing.

What remains now is a must-win game for the team to get an elusive fourth win, and it should be a must-win for Montgomery with the Pirates. At the very least, the NCSU game needs to be more competitive than the rout by Cincinnati.

The Bearcats were a much better team and it served as another American Athletic Conference matchup on the road for ECU with the better coach on the opposing sideline.

Cincinnati left no doubt in a thorough performance, leading 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and 42-6 at halftime. The hosts had the luxury of not dressing out banged-up starting running back Michael Warren, who was able to join teammates in dancing and celebrating on the sideline during the second half.

Quarterback Desmond Ridder connected on four touchdown passes during the first half, then stood comfortably on the sideline after halftime.

UC’s defense was fast and ball-hawking, and its offense totaled 641 yards for the sixth-most yards ever allowed by a Pirate defense and the second-most in a road game.

In Luke Fickell’s second season leading the Bearcats, the former Ohio State defensive coordinator engineered a 10-2 regular season to have his team riding high despite a 4-8 record each of the previous two years.

The harsh reality at the end of this game came with comparing the 2017 result in the series, a routine 48-20 win for East Carolina in Greenville, to this season’s 56-6 decision for the Bearcats.

Like Temple and a few others in the AAC, Cincinnati is on the rise.

The Pirates are still stuck trying to find their identity and their niche in this league.

East Carolina does have a bright future in many ways, thanks mainly to the potential and talent of Ahlers, a freshman, leading a young core of a roster, but the current results on the field also are not settling well with fans. Tensions are super high in Greenville.

ECU Chancellor Cecil Staton has said publicly that Montgomery and the direction of the football program will be evaluated at season’s end.

The former Duke offensive coordinator could very much be facing a win-or-don’t-return afternoon in Raleigh.

Some history works in Montgomery’s favor. He has a 9-26 career record with three of those victories against lowly UConn, but he also is 1-0 against the Wolfpack and 1-0 versus North Carolina.

What happened to the Pirates on Black Friday in Cincinnati only added to the pressure Montgomery and the Pirates face to finish 4-8 instead of 3-9.

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

Loading…

Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

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

ECU

February 17, 2019

East Carolina softball’s four-game undefeated run through the Pirate Clash ended Sunday with the Pirates off to their best start to a season since beginning 8-0 in 2006.

After two walk-off wins Friday, Erin Poepping’s 10-strikeout performance from the circle Saturday night guided a…

042618ECUSoftball-5.jpg

February 17, 2019

The East Carolina basketball team in the puzzle-piece printed uniforms on Sunday afternoon showed again it is still missing some pieces.

The Pirates hit just one field goal in the opening eight minutes against Tulsa and trailed by as many as 17 points in the first half before storming back and…

020119ECUbasketball-8.JPG

February 17, 2019

Facing cold temperatures and an early deficit at Clark-LeClair Stadium, there were times Sunday when things could have gotten away from East Carolina’s baseball team.

The Pirates battled, however, and rallied during the middle and late innings to beat Radford 4-3 and complete an opening…

021619ECUbaseball-14.JPG

February 17, 2019

East Carolina basketball coaches have been hot on the recruiting trail, including for Boston 7-footer Charles Coleman who also is a target by Wake Forest, Duke and DePaul, as the Pirates have faced difficulties on the court for another season.

A 79-69 loss to Memphis on Wednesday night, a game in…

020719ECUbasketball-5.JPG

February 16, 2019

East Carolina was busy on indoor and outdoor tennis courts this weekend, highlighted by the ECU women winning both of their matches in Greenville for a four-match win streak.

The Pirates (4-2) took a 5-2 victory over James Madison at the River Birch Tennis Center, then swept Campbell at the ECU…

011319basketball-4.JPG

February 16, 2019

After serving as East Carolina baseball’s first starting pitcher of the season and hitting for himself as the designated hitter, Alec Burleson was thinking he would remain at DH or maybe play first base for Game 2 of Friday’s doubleheader versus Radford.

Instead, some conversations led…

021619ECUbaseball-7.JPG

February 15, 2019

A total of 21 runs by East Carolina powered the Pirates to a college baseball opening day sweep of Radford at Clark-LeClair Stadium on Friday.

Spencer Brickhouse’s go-ahead, two-run home run keyed a 6-2 win, then ECU used a 16-hit barrage for a 15-9 victory in Game 2 of the doubleheader…

021619ECUbaseball-12.JPG

February 15, 2019

CATCHER

Jake Washer, junior: Washer is back as East Carolina’s starting catcher after receiving Major League Baseball draft interest following his breakout sophomore season. In addition to showing power with six home runs and 40 RBIs a year ago, Washer posted a smooth .287 batting average.…

012619ECUbaseball-8.JPG

February 15, 2019

Equipped with All-American Bryant Packard ready to serve again as East Carolina’s leadoff man in the batting order and a stable of proven pitchers who battled during the preseason for lead rotation spots, ECU is ready to face an opponent and begin a new season.

Radford’s visit to Clark-…

021519ECUbaseball-2

February 15, 2019

WEEKEND ROTATION

FRIDAY

Alec Burleson, sophomore: Burleson will be a frequent player at designated hitter and first base in the lineup, but his main focus in the season opener versus Radford will be on the pitcher’s mound. The left-hander, who was the American Athletic Conference rookie…

021319ECUbaseball-6.JPG
261 stories in ECU. Viewing 1 through 10.
«First Page   «Previous Page        
Page 1 of 27
        Next Page»   Last Page»