MIAMI — East Carolina started fast, disappeared for a while and then finished with a bang against Florida International on Saturday night in Miami.
The Pirates became bowl eligible with a 34-13 victory over the host Panthers, but it wasn’t as easy as the score suggested. FIU was within striking distance in the third quarter after an Austin Taylor field goal pulled the Panthers to within a score, 21-13, and it came after some valiant defensive play stalled ECU late in the first half and well into the second.
But with 8 minutes, 7 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, ECU quarterback Shane Carden flipped the ball to tailback Vintavious Cooper, who handed off to receiver Justin Hardy on an end-around, and the junior who had long since amassed 100 yards and a touchdown sent a 35-yard laser to a wide-open Isaiah Jones to give ECU some breathing room at 28-13.
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