Seek first conference championship since the 1976 season

Published 1:30 pm Tuesday, December 2, 2008

By By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
GREENVILLE — The Pirates are looking to end three decades of frustration.
It’s been 32 years since East Carolina last won a conference championship — they won the 1976 Southern Conference title — but this weekend, the Pirates (8-4, 6-2) will have an opportunity to end that dismal streak, as they travel to Oklahoma to take on Tulsa (10-2, 7-1) in the Fourth Annual Conference USA Championship Game.
It’s been a roller coaster season for the Pirates, who climbed as high as 14th in the nation after a 3-0 start that included wins over No. 17 Virginia Tech and No. 8 West Virginia.
But then injuries and adversity settled in, and the Pirates dropped three straight contests to fall to .500 on the year.
Since then, East Carolina has rattled off five victories in its last six contests to easily win Conference USA’s East Division.
In order to snap the 32-year championship skid, East Carolina will have to do something no team has been able to do this year: Beat Tulsa at home. The Golden Hurricane are 6-0 at H.A. Chapman Stadium this season.
The Golden Hurricane feature one of college football’s top offenses. Tulsa is averaging almost 50 points per game and 578 yards of total offense. It’s even better at home, where it has averaged 60.5 points per contest and more than 600 yards of offense.
Nonetheless, the Pirates are focused on winning the C-USA title.