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Holtz says crowd a factor for Pirates

By By PETER WILLIAMS Staff Writer
Drawing a crowd to a tailgate party is one thing.
Getting the fans in the stands is something else, and Saturday Pirate head coach Skip Holtz had just that.
Holtz will need that support just as much this Saturday as they host Southern Mississippi (1-1) in a 6 p.m. game.
Saturday’s game will be the conference opener for both the Pirates and the Golden Eagles and the stakes are high. ECU handed USM a 20-17 overtime defeat last year, but the Eagles went on to win the east division championship in Conference USA. ECU got the runner-up spot.
The Pirate win in Mississippi came on the toe of Ben Hartman, the same Pirate whose field goal with no time left on the clock gave ECU the win last week over the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Holtz said there is no question Hartman has the talent.
One shining star for the Pirates this year has been quarterback Patrick Pinkney. He started the season tied for second in the ECU depth chart and in his first NCAA start he earned offensive player of the week in Conference USA. Pinkney threw for 406 yards and three touchdowns and managed to miss breaking the all-time school passing record by just nine yards.
But Holtz said Pinkney can’t be expected to do it alone.
Three Pirate players are listed as questionable for the USM game. J.J. Milbrook and Brandon Setzer have knee problems and J.R. Kraemer injured his thumb. Offensive guard Doug Polochak is not expected to play because of a shoulder injury, but defensive tackle Jay Ross is probable with a knee injury.