Coming off a bye week, East Carolina (5-6 3-4 AAC) looked to end a three game losing streak and remain on the path to bowl eligibility. The Pirates sent out quarterback Blake Kemp to start the game and his career night led ECU to its first victory in three weeks beating Central Florida (0-11 0-7 AAC) 44-7.
James Summers has started the past two games for ECU, but the offense was unable to produce points with Summers under center. Head coach Ruffin McNeill announced that the Pirates would go back to the two quarterback system over the bye week. But because of a career night from Kemp, McNeill stuck with his starter till the game became out of reach. Kemp finished the game with 465 yards and four touchdowns, both are career highs. Kemp's 465-yards passing puts him at second for the most passing yards in school history
Isaiah Jones benefited the most from Kemp’s productive night. Jones led all receivers with 14 receptions, 179 yards and two touchdowns. Before tonight, Jones hasn’t caught a touchdown since the October, 10th game against Brigham Young. Trevon Brown and Brandon Bishop also found the endzone for the Pirates.
Since the season opener against Towson, running back Chris Hairston has not rushed for over 100 yards. Tonight Hairston rushed for 137 yards on 14 carries. His 9.8 yard per carry average was his best of the season. In the second quarter, Hairston scored a touchdown on a 39-yard run, his longest of the night.
The ability to both pass and rush against the Knights defense allowed the Pirates to have a season high 605 yards of total offense. 316 of those yards came from Hairston and Jones.
UCF, however, continued its struggles offensively. Quarterback Justin Holman was coming off his best performance off the season but was unable to build off of that game. The Knights quarterback led his team to a scoring drive on its first possession of the game, but that was the only points of the night for UCF. Holman ended the night with only 110-yards with an interception.
Holman’s problems may be a cause of the Pirates defense performing its best game of the season. The ECU defense let up a season low 232 yards against the Knights. Cornerback Corey Seargent took part in the strong defensive night, recording his first interception of the season. The interception was one of three turnovers caused by the ECU defense.