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BATTLE FOR N.C.: Tar Heels to the top

South Carolina North Carolina football

North Carolina head coach Mack Brown, right, greets defensive lineman Aaron Crawford after Crawford sacked South Carolina Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Charlotte, N.C., Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. North Carolina won 24-20. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond)


The Daily Reflector

Monday, September 9, 2019

Matthew McConaughey ensured during the weekend that all of the college football world was aware that “Texas is back.”

But as Texas was in the final stages of a 45-38 home loss to LSU late Saturday night, it was 68-year-old Mack Brown — the former North Carolina coach during the 1990s who went on to win a national championship with Vince Young at Texas — who watched his new quarterback Sam Howell hit Dazz Newsome for the winning touchdown pass against Miami for a second straight “UNC is back” victory.

Until Brown and the Tar Heels lose, they are No. 1 in the Tar Heel State in college football. Here are updated rankings:

1. North Carolina

Record: 2-0.

Why No. 1? They were not dominating victories, but the Heels beat South Carolina, 24-20, in Charlotte and followed with a 28-25, last-minute win over Miami in Chapel Hill. Through two weeks, there is no denying North Carolina’s resume.

2. N.C. State

Record: 2-0.

Why No. 2? The Wolfpack’s defense has allowed six total points in two games against underdog opponents and freshman running back Zonovan Knight is another example of how Dave Doeren has thrived in in-state recruiting. After blanking Western Carolina, 41-0, State will kick off at noon on Saturday in a big game at West Virginia.

3. Appalachian State

Record: 2-0.

Why No. 3? Lots of points in Boone. App. State held off Charlotte, 56-41, and gets a bye week before one of the most important games in school history. The Mountaineers, who scored on an 87-yard touchdown run by Darrynton Evans on the first play against Charlotte, travel to North Carolina on Sept. 21.

4. Wake Forest

Record: 2-0.

Why No. 4? Wake Forest could put a quick stop to UNC’s momentum on Friday night. The Demon Deacons scored 38 points in Week 1, 41 in Week 2 (beating Rice 41-21) and will look for more scores against the Tar Heels. Wake’s last game versus UNC was in 2015, a 50-14 loss in Chapel Hill.

5. Duke

Record: 1-1.

Why No. 5? East Carolina and Duke each have one easy win against Football Championship Subdivision competition. This fifth spot will become clearer in a week after Duke travels to Middle Tennessee and ECU plays at Navy.

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.


September 19, 2019

Wednesday was publicly the day that East Carolina’s football representatives were done with talking about the loss to Navy last week.

The Pirates are fully focused on Saturday’s 6 p.m. home kickoff against William & Mary, which for defensive coordinator Bob Trott meant that he…


September 19, 2019

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September 19, 2019

East Carolina football's second home game of the season is against William & Mary at 6 p.m. for family weekend. It can be streamed on ESPN3 as the Pirates (2-1) are looking to even their record after a loss at Navy.

Check out below for beat writer Ronnie Woodward's three questions you need…


September 18, 2019

A fast and aggressive N.C. State women's soccer team quickly built an insurmountable lead against an injury-depleted East Carolina squad on Wednesday night, erasing the chance for a Pirate upset in front of an energetic crowd packed into Johnson Stadium, the fifth-largest ever at the venue for…


September 18, 2019

Senior middle blocker Toya Osuegbu hit a program single-match record .833 percentage to lift East Carolina volleyball to a 3-1 win (25-17, 25-23, 23-25, 25-17) over N.C. Central on Tuesday night in Minges Coliseum for the Pirates’ fifth straight victory.

Osuegbu finished with 10 kills and no…


September 18, 2019

After grinding as a third-teamer during spring practice and preseason camp and serving a two-game suspension to begin his senior season, East Carolina cornerback Colby Gore has positioned himself again as a starter, and the Pirates want to keep it that way.

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September 18, 2019

A concern for East Carolina athletics officials as they are still trying to rejuvenate the Pirates' fan base and get fans back to fill Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is a decline in Student Pirate Club membership.

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September 17, 2019

Quarterback Holton Ahlers and senior running back Hussein Howe are set to lead the East Carolina football offense in Saturday's game against William & Mary.

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September 17, 2019

Former East Carolina football head coach Scottie Montgomery, who was fired by ECU last December and is offensive coordinator at Maryland, played a big role in the Terrapins' 2-0 start to the season and No. 21 national ranking.

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September 16, 2019

Without giving much detail on the specifics of the injury, East Carolina football coach Mike Houston said Monday that starting running back Darius Pinnix got hurt while rushing for a career-high 134 yards against Gardner-Webb during Week 2 of the season.

Pinnix traveled with the Pirates to Navy on…

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