Wilson leads Pirates’ sweep of C-USA honors

Published 11:11 pm Tuesday, September 16, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
Former Northside High School star C.J. Wilson was selected as Conference USA’s Defensive Player-of-the-Week on Monday, after logging eight tackles, three tackles-for-a-loss and a sack in No. 15 East Carolina’s 28-24 win over Tulane on Saturday.
It was the first time in his career that Wilson has claimed the weekly honor.
He was joined by teammates Patrick Pinkney, the Offensive Player-of-the-Week and Quentin Cotton, the Special Teams Player-of-the-Week, in sweeping Conference USA’s top three weekly awards.
Wilson also blocked a field goal attempt in the second quarter that was picked up by Cotton and returned 44 yards for a touchdown, and he was part of a Pirates defense that held the Green Wave to just 76 rushing yards.
East Carolina became the first team in three seasons to complete a sweep of the weekly awards. The last was SMU on Oct. 10, 2005.
Pinkney earns his second offensive player-of-the-week honor in three weeks after guiding the Pirates to a come-from-behind 28-24 win at Tulane. He led ECU on a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter, completing 3-of-4 passes for 64 yards and rushing four times for 21 yards, finishing with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Jamar Bryant with 1:41 remaining.
For the game, Pinkney completed 22-of-32 passes for a season-high 260 yards with two touchdowns.
Nine of his 22 completions went for 10 or more yards, including touchdown strikes of 51 and 24 yards. Pinkney completed 11 consecutive passes in the second and third quarters of the game.
Cotton’s blocked field goal return was his first collegiate touchdown.
It was ECU’s second blocked kick return for a score this season, following T.J. Lee’s game-winning blocked punt return against No. 17 Virginia Tech. The return for a score was ECU’s 38th non-offensive touchdown in the past 10 seasons. On defense, Cotton also added two tackles, one sack and an interception before suffering a season-ending knee injury late in the first half.
Injuries taking a toll on ECU
By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — East Carolina’s 28-24 victory over Tulane in its Conference USA opener has come with a hefty price tag.
On Monday, Pirates’ coach Skip Holtz announced that senior linebacker Quentin Cotton and offensive lineman Stanley Bryant suffered major knee injuries in the win over the Green Wave.
Cotton is out for the season, while Bryant will be out for a significant period of time with his leg injury.
Cotton was hurt in the second quarter during a goal line stand in the 28-24 come-from-behind win over the Green Wave.
Before being injured, Cotton had recorded an interception, a sack, two tackles and returned a blocked field goal 44 yards for a touchdown.
The senior has started 21 games in his career, including all three this season. He finishes the 2008 campaign with 15 tackles, 1. 5 sacks and two interceptions.
Holtz also announced that wide receiver T.J. Lee (foot), defensive tackle Khalif Mitchell (toe), Bell (back), Chambliss (knee) and cornerback Leon Best (ankle) did not practice Sunday. Lee and Mitchell are listed as questionable versus the Wolfpack, while Bell, Chambliss and Best are expected to be healthy for Saturday’s contest.
The two major injuries to Cotton and Bryant will force the Pirates to do some shuffling around among the offensive line and linebackers.
Right tackle D.J. Scott will be shifted to left tackle this week against North Carolina State, while Terence Campbell will make his first start in two years at the right tackle slot.
Holtz said that he wasn’t too worried about the offensive line situation because of the amount of depth and experience at that position. However, the loss of Cotton could be huge, since the Pirates have only played four linebackers all season.
Nick Johnson is slated to make his first career start next week in place of Cotton.