East Carolina has a staggering schedule this year that will surely test the grit of new players and coaches. The game on Sept.10 will be the first of three grueling games the Pirates will have against out-of-conference teams. The opponent will be the NC State Wolfpack and the location will be Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
ECU has been handling their business against ACC teams the past couple of years. Last year, in a rainy day at home, the Pirates used the ground-and-pound attack lead by junior quarterback James Summers who ran for 169 yards on 21 attempts to lead the Pirates to a 35-28 victory againstVirginia Tech. The year before, ECU set a record by routing the North Carolina by a score of 70-41; a game in which former Pirate quarterback Shane Carden threw for a monstrous 438 yards.
The trend for the Pirates is that they can handle their own against ACC teams at home, however the means by which they achieve their success seems to change with the personnel they have available. The game against UNC saw Carden put on a clinic utilizing an "air-raid" style of offense that was pass-heavy. The very next year, it was the running game that led the Pirates to victory.
Whats the solution this year? The answer as of now is not completely clear. It will depend on the penchants of new head coach Scottie Montgomery, who typically likes a balanced attack. If this is how he handles business, he will blend the two dynamics that guided the Pirates to huge victories in 2014 and 2015. However, if one thing is clear, it is that ECU has a strong will to win and will use this drive to give a victory to Pirate Nation.