Phillip Nelson (Jim Dedmon/USA Today)

The Pirates return home Saturday and play the SMU Mustangs at noon

As Thanksgiving approaches and the season starts to wind down, ECU returns to Dowdy-Ficklen to face SMU for another Saturday matinee.

Following a 45-24 road loss to Tulsa last weekend, East Carolina  returns to Dowdy-Ficklen for their fifth noon game of the season.

A huge factor in this game will be the performance of the defense against a high tempo SMU offense. During his weekly press conference, head coach Scottie Montgomery talked about how SMU has an explosive offensive unit that utilizes an up tempo pace. For ECU, they're going to need a big game from LB Dayon Pratt and DB DaShaun Amos.

Another looming question headed into tomorrow is the quarterback situation, and whether or not we will see Philip Nelson or Gardner Minshew under center to start the game. In last week's loss, Minshew threw for over 300 yards and one touchdown.

In Nelson's defense, he has had some very good games this season, and has a leadership quality that Minshew does not. Also to Nelson's credit, he has dealt with a struggling offensive line. 

ECU is also looking to avoid going on another losing streak. When ECU loses, it seems that they lose multiple games in a row, and it is important that they find their mojo and win in front of the Dowdy-Ficklen crowd.

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