Pirates Wilson coming off career game
By By KEVIN TRAVIS, Sports Editor
GREENVILLE — C.J. Wilson certainly took advantage of his opportunity.
The sophomore defensive end for the East Carolina Pirates, who had been getting about 15 snaps per game, saw action on about 70 snaps in Saturday’s 37-35 win over the Houston Cougars.
Wilson, a former standout at Northside High School, saw extended playing time because of an injury to Marcus Hands.
The 6-4, 269-pounder had the best game of his young career. Wilson had career-highs with nine tackles and 2.5 quarterback sacks. He also had a blocked field goal against the defending Conference USA champions.
Besides causing havoc with Houston’s ground game and being a general nuisance to the Cougars’ quarterbacks, Wilson also came up big on special teams. He got a hand on T.J. Lawrence’s 49-yard field goal attempt. ECU’s Zack Slate recovered the ball and lumbered to the Houston 11, which helped lead to Brandon Simmons’ 1-yard touchdown run and a 20-14 lead for the Pirates.
While Wilson was happy to get the block, he was even more thrilled about the sacks. His 2.5 sacks led to 18 yards in loss for the Cougars.
Wilson, who now has 19 tackles on the year, leads the team with four sacks. It already matches his total from last year.
Wilson isn’t about to rest on his laurels.
Wilson and the Pirates (2-3, 1-1) will have to be at their best when the Central Florida Knights (3-1, 1-0) enter Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for a key C-USA game. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.
UCF’s Kevin Smith, who leads the nation in yards-per-game, has already run for 713 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Wilson had two tackles, including a sack, in last year’s 23-10 win over the Knights.
After two tough road games, Wilson is glad the Pirates are home this weekend.