Published 1:05 pm Saturday, November 29, 2008
By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — There’s a chalkboard inside one of East Carolina’s meeting rooms that lists every offensive goal that the Pirates have for a contest.
Amass 400 yards of total offense. Rush for more than 185 yards. Convert 45 percent of their third down attempts. Control time of possession. Score 35 points per game. Score on all red-zone attempts. Make at least eight “big” plays.
The Pirates usually accomplish two or three of the goals per game.
Friday, they accomplished every one of them.
ECU, which entered the game averaging 12 points per game over the last month, scored on nine of its 10 offensive possessions and scored a season-high 53 points in a 32-point victory over UTEP at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Friday.
The Pirates know they’ll face an electric offense in next weekend’s Conference USA Championship game.
They won’t know until later today whether it’s Houston, Tulsa or Rice, but on Friday, East Carolina spent the afternoon fine tuning its own offense in preparation for what looks like a conference championship shootout.
00020000073C0000050D736,The Pirates racked up a season-best 475 yards of total offense — their previous best (387 yards) came in a 19-16 win over Marshall — as they scored more than 30 points for the first time all year.
Behind a career day from senior running back Brandon Simmons (111 yards on 27 carries with three rushing touchdowns, along with one touchdown reception) the Pirates rushed for 231 yards. It was just the third time this season that East Carolina had rushed for more than 200 yards in a contest.
East Carolina moved the ball at will against UTEP, converting 12-of-18 third down attempts, and controlling the ball for 38 minutes and 46 seconds as ECU kept UTEP’s high-octane offense on the sideline for most of the afternoon.
The Pirates offense was so efficient, that for the first time in more than 25 years, East Carolina did not have to punt the football. The last time ECU accomplished that feat was on Sept. 3, 1983 against Florida State.