East Carolina football coach Mike Houston sensed in the hours leading up to Saturday night his team was going to play well at South Florida.

Proof of those thoughts came to fruition quickly in ECU making a field goal on its opening drive, followed by a touchdown on each of its next three possessions for a 24-7 lead in the early minutes of the second quarter. Complementary football helped with the Pirate defense recovering a fumble early in the same quarter and forcing a turnover on downs later in the second on a fourth-and-5 incomplete pass by the Bulls to keep them trailing 24-7.

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