Pirates coast against Cougars

After losing in a route one week prior, ECU wins 48-28 against Houston to extend its conference record to 5-1 and become bowl-eligible.

The Pirates needed to play with a sense of urgency on Saturday and they did just that, sending a message to their fans and the rest of Conference USA that they are still a legitimate contender to win the East division.

The game was practically decided in the first half when the offense scored the game's first 28 points and, with the exception of a touchdown in the half's final seconds , the defense shut down the Cougar's powerful Air Raid spread offense.

The Houston defense had no answers for an ECU offense that was very balanced.

Shane Carden passed for 305 yards and four touchdowns, three of which going to wide receiver Danny Webster, while the Pirates as a team rushed for 245 yards with Vintavious Cooper leading the way with 140 yards and a touchdown. Cooper has now reached the century mark rushing in his last three games and has shown no sign of slowing down.

On the defensive side of the ball, defensive-end Derrell Johnson racked-up two sacks and linebacker Ty Holmes sealed the game with a fourth quarter interception-return for a touchdown.

The one concern coming out of this contest for ECU is the health of its star receiver Justin Hardy, who left the game in the second half with concussion-like symptoms.

With the win, the Pirates now are bowl-eligible after finishing one game short in 2011. That doesn't guarantee them an invitation to a bowl game but it is very likely with the Pirates having two remaining games and Conference USA only having three teams with winning records.

Next week, ECU has a bye week and then will close their season with games against Tulane, in New Orleans, and Marshall at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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