Jimmy Williams (© James Guillroy/USA Today)

Dropping their last three, ECU is now in the "dread" zone and looking for answers

Greenville N.C. -- After being on the road the past two weeks, the East Carolina Pirates returned home to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium where they dropped their first conference game of the year to Central Florida

It has a been a very rough two weeks for East Carolina. The Pirates dropped two and a row on the road, then came back to Greenville, and lost in disappointing fashion to the Golden Knights of Central Florida 47-29.

Trouble continues to surround ECU's special teams. After the Pirates scored the first touchdown of the game on a Philip Nelson touchdown to Orlando native Deondre Farrier, the Knights ran back the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. Later, following a safety, ECU kicked the ball out of bounds, which gave UCF great field position that the later led to a Golden Knights' touchdown. 

All week, East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery was stressing that special teams needed the most improvement, and that a lot of work was being put into fixing the all around performance of the unit. Whether it was the addition of new people in new positions or the wear and tear of playing offensive and defensive starters, ECU is still struggling tremendously on special teams.

The red zone also proved to still be a huge problem for ECU.  After a 50-yard completion to Jimmy Williams, Deondre Farrier fumbled in the end zone and UCF recovered. Later in the third quarter, ECU failed to reach the end zone from the one-yard line, as James Summers was stuffed three consecutive times. 

Philip Nelson and Corey Seargent also got hurt, and did not return, which was no help. Seargent went down early in the first quarter, while Nelson took a huge hit, which was flagged for targeting in the third quarter.. Gardner Minshew finished the game at quarterback. 

If this game tells us anything, it is that ECU still has many questions that need to be answered, and coach Montgomery needs to find those answers soon.

The Pirates have now dropped three in a row.


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