Magazu revisits game-clinching interception

Damon Magazu burst onto the scene at ECU when he hauled in the game-winning interception against N.C. State his freshman year in 2010. He talked to IES about what he still remembers about it.

It's third and 12 at the East Carolina 17 yard line. The Pirates are clinging to a 33-27 lead in overtime in front of a record crowd at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. North Carolina State quarterback Russell Wilson is calling signals at the line of scrimmage, trying to lead the Wolfpack to a game-winning score.

And from there, you know the rest.

Wilson stepped up into a clean pocket and heaved a pass towards the end-zone that freshman Damon Magazu jumped in front of for his signature game-sealing interception. Thus, adding another thrilling chapter to the rivalry's storied history.

"I just remember the receiver was trying to fight over the top of our nickel-back and I read through the receiver to the quarterback and when I saw him throw, I went to go get it," said Magazu. "That's what I was coached to do. It was just a routine play, but it ended the game and we got a win against N.C. State."

Magazu is now a senior and one of the leaders of ECU's defense. Prior to last Saturday's senior day at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the 5-foot-11 strong safety from Charlotte listed that game and the Pirates' win in Chapel Hill earlier this season as his two favorite memories during his time at ECU.

His interception is not only meaningful because of the timing of it or who the opposing team was. Rather, it was also about the player that threw the pass and where he is now. Wilson has become a superstar in the National Football League with the Seattle Seahawks after spending four years at N.C. State and another at Wisconsin.

Magazu remembers how difficult it was to face Wilson even before his stardom.

"I think I had a couple missed tackles, he had a mean stiff-arm." said Magazu. "He got me a couple times so I think we're even … I'm always rooting for him, I like the way he prepares and the way he plays on the field and carries himself and he's a great leader as well. It's a good feeling to make a play against a great player like him."

ECU has a chance to make some more history if it was to win at Carter-Finley Stadium on Saturday afternoon. Never before has the program defeated both N.C. State and North Carolina in the same season.

Also, it would put them within one game of reaching the 10-win plateau. A mark the Pirates have only obtained once – 1991 (11-1); a season that culminated with ECU's last-minute win against N.C. State in the Peach Bowl.

"That would mean a lot," said Magazu, who has refused to think about the history at stake. "No past games, no past plays are going to help you win a game. If you start looking at outside things like that, that is when you start making mistakes and you end up losing.

"We got to focus on what's ahead on what's happening ahead rather than what's happened in the past and then once that happens, maybe we can talk about it."

Magazu is currently fourth on the team in tackles (56) and a team-best three interceptions. He has nine picks careers on his career.

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