Pirates, Hurricane face-off in C-USA title bout
Published 2:24 pm Saturday, December 6, 2008
By STEVE FRANKLIN, Sports Writer
The old adage goes: Defense wins championships.
East Carolina hopes that statement rings true.
This afternoon, the Pirates (8-4, 6-2), who boast the top-ranked defense in Conference USA, will face the daunting task of trying to slow one of the nation’s highest scoring offenses, as they travel to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane (10-2, 7-1) in the Fourth Annual Conference USA Championship Game.
Tulsa features an offense that leads the nation in total yards with 578.9 yards per game, and is second in scoring at 49.3 points per game. The Golden Hurricane is the only team in the country to rush for more than 3,000 yards and pass for better than 3,000 yards this season.
The Golden Hurricane has reached the end zone 81 times this season. Quarterback David Johnson leads the offense with 3,671 passing yards and 42 touchdown tosses. Running back Tarrion Adams has rushed for 1,220 yards and nine touchdowns, and wide receiver Brennan Marion (39 catches for 1,058 yards and eight touchdowns) leads the country with 27.1 yards per catch.
East Carolina’s stout defense will be challenged. The Pirates are allowing just 20.5 points per game and just over 320 yards per contest.
Johnson says the Pirates defense might be the best unit that Tulsa has faced all year.
Arkansas was the only team to rattle the Golden Hurricane’s offense all season, allowing Tulsa to score just 23 points in a 30-23 Razorbacks win.
On the other hand, the Pirates offense knows it will need to perform like it did last week if they want to win their first conference championship since 1976. ECU scored a season-high 53 points in a win over UTEP last Friday.
Today’s kickoff is at noon. The game will air on ESPN2.