Pirates keep bowl hopes alive

Published 11:55 pm Saturday, November 19, 2011

East Carolina quarterback Dominique Davis (4) throws a pass during a game earlier this year. On Saturday, Davis threw four TD passes as the Pirates topped Central Florida 38-31. (AP Photo)

GREENVILLE — East Carolina can still dream of going to a bowl game thanks to a goal-line interception by safety Damon Magazu with less than a minute left in the game that sealed the Pirates 38-31 victory Saturday against Conference USA rival Central Florida.

With 8:20 left to play in the fourth quarter, the Pirates (5-6, 4-3) took a 31-24 lead after quarterback Dominique Davis connected with Reese Wiggins on a 10-yard fade route.

Davis threw four touchdown passes on the day and tallied 203 passing yards while rushing 12 times for 73 yards.

Wiggins had six receptions for 123 yards and two scores, including an 84-yard TD reception in the third.

After the second Wiggins TD, the game was far from over as Central Florida (4-7, 2-5) was able to force ECU running back Zico Pasut to fumble and recovered it at the Pirates’ 14-yard line. One play late, Blake Bortles found J.J. Worton in the end zone to tie the game at 31 with 3:49 showing on the clock.

The Knights newfound momentum would not last long as the Pirates answered on their next drive when Torrance Hunt ripped off a 56-yard touchdown run to put his team up 38-31 with 2:10 remaining in the game.

Hunt would finish the game racking up 100 yards even on nine carries.

Also needing a win to keep their bowl hopes alive, the Knights (4-7, 2-5) threatened when Rannell Hall retuned the ensuing kickoff 72 yards to the East Carolina 14. But UCF could not cash in on the good field position as Magazu picked off a Bortles’ pass and picked up the spirit of the Pirates’ seniors who were playing their final game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“It means a lot to get a win for the seniors,” Magazu said. “They put so much work into this program I just wanted to send them off right.”

The Pirates will look to clinch bowl eligibility next week when they play at Marshall.

After trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, ECU was able to tie the game up with a Davis TD pass to Justin Jones, and then took a 10-7 lead into the second quarter after a 36-yard field goal by Michael Barbour.

The Pirates went up 17-7 when Davis found Justin Hardy in the end zone early in the second quarter.

The Knights would go on a 10-0 run to tie the game up going into halftime.

Bortles and Jeff Godfrey both alternated at QB for Central Florida. Bortles hit on nine of his 17 attempts for 98 yards two TDs and one interception, while Godfrey went 9-for-13 for 100 yards and one TD.

Josh Reese, Adam Nissley and J.J. Worton each recorded TD passes, while Latavius Murray ran for one.