ECU Beats Tulsa in Homecoming Game

ECU beat Tulsa in the Homecoming game at Dowdy-Ficklen stadium 30-17 going 2-1 in conference play.

Ranked seventh in the nation in offense, the East Carolina (4-3 2-1 AAC) defense pitched a shutout against one of the best offenses. Dane Evans saw pressure all game getting sacked four times and hurried nine more times. The defense held the high octane offense in check to earn ECU a 30-17 victory.

Blake Kemp started the game for the Pirates and led the Pirates on a scoring drive in the second quarter that ended in a FG. Kemp completed eight of his twelve passes for 78 yards, but was replaced by James Summers on the second drive in the second quarter.

“There’s not really a script,” said Kemp. “We just go with whatever coach tells us to do and when he says to go in we are ready to go in.”

Summers did not initially find success throwing an interception on the first dive he started. The next series though, Summers led the to a touchdown completing a twelve yard pass to running back Chris Hairston.

Tulsa (3-3 0-2 AAC) quarterback Dane Evans also struggled, but unlike Summers, Evans continued to play poorly throughout the game. Evans only completed 19 of 48 passes and did not throw his first touchdown till the end of the fourth quarter. His biggest mistake came on the first drive of the series.

After marching down the field fluently on the first offensive drive for the Golden Hurricanes, Evans threw a fatal interception to ECU senior cornerback Josh Hawkins. The former high school running back then returned to his roots, directing traffic and following his blocks en route to a 100-yard interception return for a touchdown.

“That was my first pick six of my college career,” said Hawkins. “I read the quarterback well, he threw it and I just made a play on it. I’m glad my guys helped me make that pick-six finally come true for me.”

The ECU secondary from start to finish kept the high powered pass attack of Tulsa in check. American Athletic Conference leading receiver Keyarris Garrett only had 70-yards receiving for Tulsa, 47 of them coming on Tulsa’s final play of the game. Coming into the game Tulsa averaged 367.8 yards per game through the air, but only came up with 288 yards passing against ECU.

“We came out and we really wanted to punch them,” said senior linebacker Zeek Bigger. “If they were going to come through the middle punish whoever was coming through the middle. Wide receivers don’t like to be punched. That was something we had to do. I had one on the fourth play of the game and everybody else just responded to that. The game of football and defense you just have to be strong and physical. We did that today”

Bigger and the Pirates pass rush on the Tulsa quarterback also contributed to stopping the pass attack. Evans was sacked four times and also hurried nine times. Senior linebacker Montese Overton and Bigger both had one and a half sacks. Yiannis Bowden did not record a sack for the Pirate defense but did hurry the quarterback three times.

For the seniors, this game was their last homecoming and were proud of the way each other played. And although the offense struggled at times against Tulsa, the Pirates were happy with a good overall performance and a team victory.

“The guys played really well,” said Hawkins. “There’s always screws and some blots that you can tighten up and that’s definitely what we are going to do this upcoming game as we prepare for Temple. But I’m just proud of the guys, proud of the defense, proud of the offense.”


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