Continuing its struggles from last week’s game against Temple, the East Carolina (4-5 2-2 AAC)offense was held scoreless for the fifth straight quarter at the end of the third. ECU starting quarterback James Summers struggled to get anything going for the offense in the first half. In the second half he missed on all nine pass attempts and was replaced by Blake Kemp at the end of the third quarter.
For the first time since its week three game at Navy, the Pirates starting quarterback was not replaced in the first half. The starting quarterback Summers eventually was replaced in the third quarter after a sluggish start in the second half. Kemp could not spark the Pirate offense, throwing an interception on his first play of the game.
Unlike the Pirates, Connecticut’s (4-5 2-3 AAC) offense had its best performance of the season. The Huskies starting quarterback Bryant Sherriffs helped his team to its highest point total of the season with 31 points. The x-factor for the Connecticut offense was starting running back Arkeel Newsome. Newsome ran for a career high 179 yards on 25 carries and also rushed for two touchdowns. His longest run came on a 90-yard scamper to the end zone to give the Huskies a 24-6 cushion.
Turnovers plagued the Pirates in Storrs, turning the ball over four times. Summers was the first to give the Huskies the ball on an underthrown pass to tight end Bryce Williams. Kemp was then responsible for the next three turnovers.
Despite a poor offensive performance, ECU ran the ball for 203 yards. Hairston ran for 66 yards but was injured twice in the game, which gave Marquez Grayson his more opportunities in his first game this season. In his season debut, Grayson averaged almost 10 yards per carry and totaled 87 yards on nine carries. Summers coming into the game averaged just over eight yards per rush but finished the night with under two yards per carry.
Isaiah Jones was the only threat through the air for the Pirates. Of the 137 total passing yards, Jones had 85 of them on nine receptions. The inside receiver also has recorded a catch in 32 straight games. The last game Jones did not record a reception was in 2013 against Virginia Tech, he did not play in that game.
Special teams remained to be an issue for ECU. After DaShawn Benton’s 32-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Pirates placekicker Davis Plowman was blocked on his extra point attempt. The block extra point attempt was his first missed extra point. Quay Johnson was the first to receive punts for the Pirates, but coughed up, and recovered, the ball on his first punt return of the game. Trevon Brown relieved Johnson of his punt return duties but the results remained the same. In the third quarter Brown also muffed the punt, but was recovered by ECU.
ECU snapped its offensive scoreless streak in the fourth quarter on a two-yard rushing touchdown by Kemp. The scoring drive was set-up on a 44-yard dash from Grayson. On the next drive, Connecticut countered with a three-yard touchdown rush from Shirreffs, bringing the score to 31-13 with 4:29 remaining in the game.