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ECU will kick off the 2016 season against Western Carolina

To begin the 2016 season, ECU will host the Western Carolina Catamounts on Sept. 3 at 6 p.m. and is looking to make a statement after struggling through the 2015 season

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will be the setting for the Pirates' season opener against in-state opponent Western Carolina, which will kickoff at 6 p.m. and air on ESPN 3.

The Pirates and the Catamounts have a storied history that dates back to 1936. The game on Sept. 3 will be the first between the two schools since 1981 when East Carolina routed the Catamounts 42-6. The win gave the Pirates their 17th series victory against WCU, bringing their overall record against the Catamounts to 17-13. 

ECU is coming off the heels of a season that was anti-climactic at best. For the first time in three years, the Pirates failed to reach a bowl game and finished a disappointing 5-7. Soon after, head coach Ruffin McNeil was let go, which gave way to ECU hiring Scottie Montgomery.

Something to look forward to in this year's game is the fact that ECU has won their last four season openers by a combined score of 167-78. All openers over the past four years have been played in Dowdy-Ficklen.

This is one of four non-conference games for the Pirates. ECU will host WCU and NC State back to back weeks, then head to South Carolina and Virginia Tech on consecutive weekends.

ECU is looking to make a statement against WCU, as it will be the first game under new head coach Scottie Montgomery. This will be the team's first chance to wow an eager Pirate Nation that is looking for nothing less than a bowl-caliber season. 

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