Missed opportunities and turnovers directly led to ECU’s 33-23 loss against the South Carolina Gamecocks last night. With that being said, that game is already behind the Pirates. Ruffin McNeill has instilled his 24-hour rule for the team meaning this loss must be off their minds in a day's time.
It’s a good thing too, because ECU has arguably a tougher matchup next week when it travels to Blacksburg for a showdown with the Virginia Tech Hokies. The same unranked Virginia Tech Hokies that just defeated Urban Meyer’s No. 8 ranked Ohio State team 35-21 yesterday. Needless to say the Pirates have their work cut out for them.
ECU neglected their chance to put USC in a 14-0 hole to start the game last night – a direct result of red-zone inefficiency. This inefficiency comes full circle when thinking about the fact that ECU quarterback Shane Carden didn’t throw his first touchdown until the fourth quarter. Regardless of the loss and the struggles Carden believes this loss helped the team learn about themselves.
“We have to score touchdowns when we play teams like (South Carolina) field goals won’t cut it next week,” said Carden. “This game taught us our offense is good enough to play with anyone. We always talk about it, but we figured out tonight it’s true. We just have to be better in the red-zone and things would’ve been different.”
Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer has always had ECU’s number on offense. The Pirate historically haven’t moved the ball well against Bud Foster's blitz-happy Hokie defense.
On the defensive side of things, ECU did as well as they could against South Carolina with what they had. The loss to the Gamecocks brought to light the void that losing defensive tackles Terry Williams and Terrell Stanley left up front. USC, especially junior running back Mike Davis (101 yards), chalked up an impressive performance on the ground finishing with 175 total yards.
ECU junior outside linebacker Montese Overton played like a man possessed in the first half amassing seven tackles (6 solo) and one big quarterback hurry-up to end a drive. Despite the loss, Overton mentioned the loss is a definite building block for this team moving forward.
“This was a learning experience we can take into practice tomorrow,” said Overton. “This gives us confidence (almost beating a ranked team on the road). We will watch the film and work on all of it this week in practice.”