ECU football preview
HOUSTON (4-1, 0-0 AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE) AT EAST CAROLINA (2-3, 0-2 AAC)
LAST TIME OUT ON THE FIELD
East Carolina was annihilated by Temple (3-3, 2-0 AAC) in Philadelphia, 49-6, as it mustered up just 12 first downs and 196 total yards. The Pirates found themselves down 35-3 at the half and allowed 470 total yards during the contest. Although ECU used seven rushers, three of them were Pirate quarterbacks. The signal callers collectively ran for 40 yards, leaving the four running backs to just 36 yards.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- What will happen with Holton Ahlers? The true freshman has now played in four games, meaning to retain a year of eligibility he must be redshirted, making him ineligible for the remainder of this season. Ahlers is second on the team in rushing yards and leads the team in rushing touchdowns but hasn’t shown he can throw the ball well enough at this level yet. ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery has a tough decision to make, but with a struggling and injured Reid Herring, and Kingsley Ifedi seemingly on the back burner, Ahlers looks set to keep playing this year, as well as possibly see more action or even start this week.
- Will the Cougars continue their high-scoring ways? Houston has yet to score less than 40 points in any of its games this season. Even in its loss to Texas Tech, the Cougars scored 49 points, their second-highest total of the season. Aside from that loss, Houston has put up point totals of 45, 45, 70 and 41. With its high-powered offense coming to Greenville, Houston looks set to keep its 40-point streak going.
- Can ECU’s defense answer the bell? Many ECU defensive players have a chance to play a key role in slowing Houston’s roll. Linebacker Bruce Bivens led the ECU defense last week with 10 tackles, while defensive back Davondre Robinson had nine, defensive tackle Alex Turner had eight and both linebacker Ray Tillman and defensive end Nate Harvey each had seven. Bivens has 24 tackles, 4.5 for a loss, on the season, Robinson has 29 tackles, with a 0.5 tackle for a loss on the season, Turner has 24 tackles, seven coming for a loss, Tillman has 15 tackles, with one coming as a loss, and Harvey has 30 tackles, with 14 for a loss. These tackles have also been put on opposing QBs, so if these role players can continue to record tackles, they will not only add needed defensive pressure, but with also disrupt plays and force more miscues from the Cougars.