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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

AAC notes: Navy coach appreciates Houston's style

Navy Football
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Navy head coach Ken Niumatalolo stretches with his team during a workout Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, in Annapolis, Md. (AP Photo/Tommy Gilligan)

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BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Navy 12th-year football coach Ken Niumatalolo did not give away too many details about his team's bye week during the American Athletic Conference coaches teleconference Monday, but he did have plenty of praise for East Carolina first-year coach Mike Houston.

ECU and Navy will meet Saturday at 3:30 p.m. in Annapolis, Md., to begin AAC play for both squads.

The Pirates lost 34-6 at N.C. State in Week 1 and easily gave Houston his first win at ECU last Saturday with a 48-9 rout of Gardner-Webb, a Football Championship Subdivision team. Navy hasn't played since a 45-7 home win over Holy Cross, also an FCS opponent, on Aug. 31.

"We got a lot of work in and even rested a little bit, but we started our preparation for ECU, and I have a lot of respect for coach Houston and he's a really good football coach who has won everywhere he has been," Niumatalolo said.

The Pirates' victory over Gardner-Webb gave Houston an 81-26 career record.

Niumatalolo said he is plenty familiar with Houston's style and lauded ECU's entire coaching staff as the Midshipmen are preparing to host the Pirates.

"His teams have always been tough, hard-nosed teams, and you watch them during their first two games and they are very athletic," Niumatalolo said. "We're not really sure how much of their plans they put out in that game (against Gardner-Webb) or if they kept things close to the vest, but I've been impressed. ... It's going to be a tough game for us, athletically, because they have always been really athletic and coach Houston is known for being a tough coach.

"I know he is changing that culture to get his guys physically ready to go. You could see that in both of their games, because they were a physical team and running to the ball on defense."

ECU notes, Holgorsen

It was announced Monday that the Pirates' next home game, Sept. 21 against William & Mary, will kick off at 6 p.m. and be available to stream on ESPN3. ECU's win over Gardner-Webb was the same.

The time determination means that four of the Pirates' first six games this year will kick off at 6 p.m. or later. The Oct. 3 matchup against Temple, on a Thursday in Greenville, is at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on the main ESPN network.

Pirate starting running back Darius Pinnix earned a spot on the AAC honor roll after rushing 21 times for 134 yards and two touchdowns versus Gardner-Webb. His previous career-high for rushing yards was 93 at UCF in 2017.

In addition to Houston getting his first win with the Pirates, another American coach got his initial victory at his new school in Dana Holgorsen, whose Houston Cougars beat Prairie View 37-17 on Saturday.

"It was good to get that first win and move on," Holgorsen said. "We made some improvements from Week 1 to Week 2, but not nearly as many as we need to beat Washington State here this Friday night. ... They have been doing the same thing there for about eight years now."

Texas three-step

SMU is 2-0 thanks to big gains by running back Xavier Jones and steady play by quarterback Shane Buechele, who was an offseason transfer from the Texas Longhorns.

The Mustangs beat North Texas 49-27 to begin a three-week stretch of all-Texas games. SMU hosts Texas State this week and then travels to Big 12 member TCU.

"When we play TCU one week from Saturday, it will be two games already (North Texas, TCU) against teams in the Dallas-Fort Worth area," SMU coach Sonny Dykes said. "No. 1, it just makes sense from a scheduling standpoint because it's easy to travel and they are good matchups. ... There is a little bit of bragging rights and things for recruiting."

SMU closed as a 3.5-point favorite against North Texas, but the Mustangs led 21-0 at the end of the first quarter and Jones finished with 127 yards and three touchdowns to earn AAC offensive player of the week. The league's top defensive honor also went to SMU senior safety Patrick Nelson, who had seven tackles, two sacks an an interception.

"I felt like going in, we needed to run the football, and I think our offensive line is improving and played better last week," Dykes said. "Xavier had a couple big runs for us that were a big difference in the game. He has six touchdowns on the year, so he is off to a fast start so far."

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

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ECU

September 14, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Navy cruised to a 2-0 record in a frustrating day Saturday for East Carolina football, which lost 42-10 to the Midshipmen for ECU to drop to 1-2 overall and 0-1 in the American Athletic Conference in coach Mike Houston’s first season with the Pirates.

Here are three…

East Carolina Navy Football-4

September 14, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Add quarterback Malcolm Perry prominently to the list of Navy football players to enjoy spinning, shaking, shedding and sizzling the East Carolina football defense.

In a series that began in 2006 and has been dictated by the Midshipmen and their punishing and methodical…

East Carolina Navy Football

September 14, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Among the improbable things for a disastrous day by the East Carolina football team Saturday was that Navy quarterback Malcolm Perry passed for more yards than Holton Ahlers.

Perry and a stingy Navy defense led the charge in the Midshipmen's 42-10 rout of the Pirates in the…

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September 14, 2019

Here are three Navy players to keep an eye on as East Carolina heads to Annapolis, Md., to face the Midshipmen in American Athletic Conference action:

Malcolm Perry

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Navy Football Preview

September 14, 2019

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A: I would say Twitter. It’s more active, everybody is on Twitter. I like Instagram, too, but I like Twitter more.

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A: I will say Kickback Jacks. I like Kickback Jacks. I love their spinach…

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September 14, 2019

These three questions appeared in our Pirate Gameday section to preview East Carolina versus Navy in football. 

The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. on the CBS Sports Network. Check back after the game for the answers:

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September 14, 2019

Mike Houston didn't celebrate too long after his first victory as East Carolina's football coach, partly because he knew what was ahead in this week's trip trip to Navy.

ECU (1-1) and Navy (1-0) play their respective first American Athletic Conference game of the season today in a 3:30 p.m. kickoff…

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September 13, 2019

Navy football coach Ken Niumatalolo said earlier this week that he wants to see more passes this year from quarterback Malcolm Perry.

East Carolina defensive coordinator Bob Trott is not putting too much stock into any new Navy mindset and is still planning to mainly see running plays Saturday when…

Navy Football

September 12, 2019

East Carolina first-year athletics director Jon Gilbert said he noticed even before kickoff last Saturday night at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium that slow concessions could be an issue that could increase as the night progressed for ECU’s first home football game of the season, so he put a priority…

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September 12, 2019

East Carolina’s football team heads north on Saturday to play Navy, which has beaten the Pirates in three straight meetings and holds a 5-1 all-time advantage in the series.

It will be the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams and coach Mike Houston’s league debut with the…

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