Fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill has to be happy with the fast start from his team against Virginia Tech. Not just happy with the points, but happy with the way his team came out in a hostile environment and took it to their opposition on national television.
From a notoriety standpoint the win over the Hokies was huge for ECU as a football program. It was the program’s first win against a ranked opponent since defeating No. 18 Houston in the 2009 Conference USA Championship. It’s even more impressive when thinking about the fact that ECU’s last road win over a ranked team was at No. 12 Miami (Fla.) in 1996.
Make it three consecutive wins against ACC opponents for McNeill and his staff in two seasons. The Pirates defeated North Carolina and N.C. State last season. The program can extend its streak to four games this weekend in its home matchup with the Tar Heels, but like the win over the Hokies it won’t come easy.
Non-conference victories like the ones ECU has been picking up could affect the decision of 2015 and 2016 recruits alike that will be choosing a school in the near future. It’s safe to argue the biggest impact of these wins comes on the recruiting front.
Here are reactions from some of ECU’s 2015 commits about last weekend’s game:
Kettle Run (Nokesville, Va.) defensive end Abu Kai Kai:
“I had my family and friends over,” said Kai Kai. “We enjoyed watching the game. I was so hype when it was 21-0 during the first part of the game I was jumping, screaming and dancing with my friends. It was a blessing that I got offered by a great school like ECU. Them beating an ACC team tells you ECU is capable of beating any team in any conference, I strongly believe that. I can't wait to be a part of ECU.”
Cardinal Gibbons (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) safety C.J. Maybin:
“I just got home from football practice and after I showered I remembered that ECU was playing VT so I found the channel,” said Maybin. “I saw the score was 21-0. My father was the first to react by saying ‘what in the world is going on with VT’ and I replied with nothing, the Pirates came to play.”
Mundy’s Mill (Jonesboro, Ga.) offensive guard Darius Anderson:
“ECU did a good job minus the mental mistakes (13 penalties),” said Anderson. “But that just shows you that hard work will pay off. I was out and about so I watched it live from my iPhone so I wouldn’t miss it.”
Shawnee (OK) quarterback John Jacobs:
“The game was great to watch,” said Jacobs. “I think ECU really showed they can hang with anyone in the country.”