ECU-TEMPLE: Three answers
BY RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector
Friday, October 4, 2019
East Carolina showed some potential and had an early lead against Temple on Thursday night in a game broadcast by ESPN, but the favored Owls took control later in the game and won 27-17.
Here are three answers from a late night at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium:
1. Who scores first? ECU received the opening kickoff and produced the perfect start, showing balance with running and passing and cashing in a 14-yard touchdown pass from Holton Ahlers to C.J. Johnson for Johnson’s first-career TD. The drive spanned 12 plays and 4 minutes, 35 seconds, going 90 yards.
The drive featured three offside penalties by Temple, which was trying to jump the snap count but Ahlers and the Pirates did a good job scheming against the aggressive and eager Owls. It was 7-0 ECU at the 10:25 mark of the first quarter and the Pirates had momentum and the home fans backing them.
But Temple stayed tough, like usual, and used a 24-3 combined scoring advantage during the next two quarters to win.
2. How does the ECU offensive line hold up? It was difficult for the Pirates as many people expected. Temple finished with only three sacks, but 13 quarterback hurries made a major impact and had Ahlers throwing on the run a lot. He started 7-of-10 passing, but finished with a final stat line of 19-for-39 for 229 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.
“The running game and some of the things we are doing in the passing game, we looked like what we want to look like and that shows some of the things we are capable of,” Pirate coach Mike Houston said. “We were just not consistent, offensively, after the first quarter. That is no one person’s fault.”
Temple end Dana Levine, who did not start but played a lot, had one sack and three hurries.
3. Are there any defensive or special teams touchdowns? Temple almost got a fluky defensive touchdown for the final play of the game after ECU laterals, but it was ruled that the Pirates’ offensive progress was stopped.
Isaiah Wright did have a 55-yard kickoff return when it was 10-10 during the second quarter, which sparked the Owls and set up Re’Mahn Davis’ go-ahead touchdown run with 3:21 until halftime.
The only turnover of the game was created by ECU, exclusively by thriving senior defensive end Kendall Futrell. He forced a strip-sack and recovered the ball himself for a big play on the first drive of the third quarter, but the Pirate offense was not able to capitalize on the momentum swing when Temple was leading 17-10.
Contact Ronnie Woodward at firstname.lastname@example.org, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.