ECU Ends Losing Streak

ECU ends its two game losing streak with a 35-28 win over Virginia Tech.

Greenville, NC-- Quickly going down 14-0, East Carolina (2-2 0-1 AAC) bounced back to score 28 unanswered points against Virginia Tech (2-2 0-0 ACC). The offense was led by starting quarterback Blake Kemp, taken over in a breakout game for his backup James Summers and the two were a big part in ECU’s 35-28 victory over the Hokies.

Turning the ball over twice in first two series, Kemp led ECU on two scoring drives to tie the game at 14. The first score off a 3-yard run and then an 11-yard pass to Trevon Brown the next series. Then at the start of the second quarter Summers relieved Kemp and played the rest of the game.

Rushing the ball for 169 yards, Summers sparked the ECU running attack in a game with messy weather conditions. Summers also rushed for two touchdowns, one of those coming off a 41-yard scamper. The JUCO transfer also connected on a 29-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah Jones.

The game plan for ECU was to start Summers at the start of the second quarter. Head Coach Ruffin McNeill had planned to use Summers but the weather conditions and good play kept him in the game. But even though Summers played most of the game, ECU gained momentum on two Kemp touchdowns.

“Kemp got us going and he opened it up for me,” said Summers. “They haven’t seen a rushing quarterback and I thought I could use it to my advantage and I did.”

After two games without a 100-yard rusher, Summers was able to spark a running attack that hasn’t seen success the past two weeks. Although the Pirates had success running, Chris Hairston was unable to get going, rushing for 20 yards on 15 carries. But Summers was happy with the blocking from his running back.

“Chris is a good blocker,” said Summers. “You know he can run the ball, he ran the ball for over 100 yards the first game. But he made a lot of key blocks tonight too.”

Along with a break out game from Summers, Brown was a new offensive tool for the Pirates in his first game of the 2015 season. Brown finished the game with 44 yards on four catches and also scored on a 11-yard pass from Kemp.

While a running game is key in a rainy game, the special teams also needed to play well. Punter Worth Gregory pinned Virginia Tech inside the 20 three times on five punts. All three of those punts came in the fourth quarter and Virginia Tech started three of four drives in the fourth quarter inside its own 10.

“Worth is one of our leaders on our special teams and he can boom it, I’ve seen him boom it 80 plus,” said McNeill. “But for him to pin them down, that was big.”

Virginia Tech also had a quarterback that was capable of taking off and running. Brenden Motley rushed for 92 yards. Despite giving up 14 points early, the Hokies did not score until the 3:37 mark in the third quarter.

“We knew coming in that he was a running quarterback,” said senior linebacker Zeek Bigger. “We saw film of him against Purdue that he likes to take off running. But we made sure he understood it wasn’t going to happen like that and we were going to pop him and give him some hits. It helped us a lot.”

The Pirates have now won its last five games against ACC opponents but McNeill is focused on the American Athletic Conference. The competition in the American has gotten better according to McNeill and hopes for the Pirates continue making competitive plays.

“This conference every week you have to make competitive plays,” said McNeill. “We’ll have to be really good at that each week. I was proud of them today.”

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