ECU football preview

Published 12:49 pm Friday, November 23, 2018



East Carolina won its first conference game of the year on its seventh try as it racked up 657 total yards, 415 coming on the ground, in a 55-21 rout at home against Connecticut on Senior Day. True freshman walk-on Tyler Snead caught three TDs (two in the first half) to pace a back-and-forth battle, before the Pirates shut out the Huskies in the second half. His dominating presence in back-to-back weeks has now earned him a full scholarship going forward in his next seasons, according to ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery. Wide receiver Trevon Brown eclipsed the 1,000-yard receiving mark for the second consecutive season, as he recorded four grabs and a score. Nate Harvey had three sacks in the game, breaking the American Athletic Conference single season tackles-for-loss record, previously held by Houston’s Ed Oliver. ECU finally put together a game where its offense and defense looked to be working together for 60 minutes, but it’ll still have to play better if it wants to compete with the nine-win Cincinnati team tonight.



  1. How will ECU’s depth at running back hold up with Darius Pinnix out? ECU started Pinnix against UConn and he provided the opening statement in the run game. He plowed into linemen, taking them with him to pick up a few extra yards on many of his carries. However, he is out this week with an ankle injury after leaving last Saturday’s game and immediately being placed in a boot before he even went into the locker room for evaluation. Being a running back down, the Pirates won’t turn to Anthony Scott, their starter from the beginning of the year. Hussein Howe will get the nod, while Trace Christian, who had more than 100 yards against UConn, will be thrown to the back burner as the No. 3 option. Howe creates a threat in the passing game that Scott doesn’t, so with ECU taking on a stingy Bearcat defense, the Pirates need weapons such as Howe to utilize both the rush and pass attacks.


  1. Will the Pirates be able to move the ball against the stout Cincinnati defense? The Bearcats rank 10th in the FBS in total defense as they hold opponents to an average of 290.9 yards per game and give up just 4.6 yards per play. They also only give up 3.3 yards per carry on the ground and have allowed less than one TD per game this year (7 through 11 games). Although the Pirates ran for an astounding 415 yards in their last game, they came in averaging 114.1 rush yards per game and played against the worst rush defense in the FBS. The Bearcats are a lock-down defense that really tests its opponents to be near perfect and makes them pay if they turn the ball over.


  1. Can ECU slow down Michael Warren II? The Bearcats’ offense focuses around Warren II, who already has 1,163 yards on the ground this season. He has also rushed for more than 100 yards in six of 11 games, with his most coming two weeks ago against South Florida on Nov. 10. He rushed 28 times for 151 yards in a demolishing of a team that started this season 7-0. Cincinnati quarterback Desmond Ridder uses Warren II in the run-pass-option a lot, and the offense as a whole, so when he’s not taking a hand off, he’s used in the passing game. Warren II is more efficient than any ECU running back in the run-pass combination and he leads Cincinnati whether they must take to the air in a competitive battle or run out the clock and keep possession.