ECU-GARDNER-WEBB: Three answers
By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Saturday, September 7, 2019
East Carolina routed Gardner-Webb 48-9 on Saturday night in ECU’s first home game of the season. The Pirates are 1-1 heading into an important road trip to Navy.
Here are three answers from ECU’s win against overmatched Gardner-Webb:
1. Who scores ECU's first touchdown? Quarterback Holton Ahlers was the favorite going into the night, and it indeed was Ahlers.
The sophomore star QB cashed in a 7-yard touchdown run as part of his 10 carries for 78 yards in the game. The touchdown on the first drive was ECU’s first since a 71-yard pass from Ahlers to Mydreon Vines on Nov. 23, 2018, at Cincinnati. In addition to two rushing scores each by Ahlers and Darius Pinnix, backup QB Reid Herring also ran a 10-yard touchdown during the fourth quarter to create the final 48-9 score.
2. How is the atmosphere? It was better than the final few home games of 2018, although the amount of empty purple seats in the middle three sections on the north side of the stadium was underwhelming. The attendance of 34,118 still is far from a sellout of 51,000, but the environment was a step in the right direction for first-year coach Mike Houston, first-year athletics director Jon Gilbert and the new-look Pirates. Fans at least were pretty locked in to the game and players noticed.
“Any time you get a first win and especially under a new coaching staff, it’s big,” Ahlers said. “We were in front of our fans and we wanted them to come out. ... They were loud, so we appreciated that.”
3. Who leads the Pirates in rushing yards? Pinnix easily had the best game of his career. He totaled 134 yards on 21 carries, adding 38 yards on three receptions. In the first drive alone, ECU handed the ball to its junior starting running back on the first two plays and then threw a swing pass to him to weave in the open field for a gain of 24 yards. It was in the fourth quarter when freshman Demetrius Mauney stepped up and looked aggressive and explosive, finishing with 13 carries for 107 yards to make a statement to be Pinnix’s main backup.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at email@example.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.