ECU looks to move past loss to N.C. State

Published 12:27 am Tuesday, September 23, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — After an upset of top-25 teams Virginia Tech and West Virginia to open the season, East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said his team must learn how to handle winning.
They responded with an important road win over Tulane as senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney engineered a touchdown drive in the final two minutes to give ECU a 24-21 win.
Two weeks later, the Pirates’ coach is wondering how his team will respond to being on the other end of the spectrum.
On Saturday, the Pirates squandered a late lead and fell to in-state rival N.C. State 30-24 in overtime. Now Holtz is waiting to see how his team will respond after suffering its first loss of the season.
Holtz is optimistic that his senior laden team won’t let one loss ruin its season.
“I don’t think winning any one game is the important aspect this early in the season,” Holtz said. “I think how you react to that win or loss is much more important, this early in the season, than the game itself. We lost the battle, but we have to make sure that we don’t lose the war. We have to turn and we have to go forward, those are our only choices.”
The Pirates returned to practice Sunday and Holtz said the team was feeling pretty blue.
Despite the somber mood of his players, Holtz said it’ time for the Pirates to move forward and put the heart-wrenching loss behind them.
From here on out, East Carolina refuses to look back, and will instead focus on their impending battle against Houston.
Pirates could find themselves in a shootout Saturday
By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — After losing to a one-win North Carolina State squad 30-24 in overtime this past weekend, East Carolina has another dangerous one-win team awaiting them on Saturday.
The Pirates will welcome high-scoring Houston into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday, and ECU coach Skip Holtz is expecting a shootout in the Pirates’ conference home-opener.
So far this season, the high-powered Cougars’ offense has averaged 36.2 points per game. They rank second in Conference USA in total offense, averaging just over 526 yards per contest.
Leading Houston’s high-scoring offense is sophomore quarterback Case Keenum, who leads Conference USA in total offense at 416 yards per game. The reigning C-USA Freshman of the Year has thrown for over 300 yards in all four games and has tossed 16 touchdowns on the season.
Despite losing their top two receivers from a year ago, the Cougars have plenty of talented targets for Keenum. Leading Houston’s receiving game are tight end Mark Hafner, who already has 30 catches and seven touchdowns on the season, and wideouts Tyron Carrier, Patrick Edwards and T.J. Castile.
To counter Houston’s offensive attack, the Pirates will try to get their own offense rolling.