A Lesson Worth Remembering

Like most of you, football has not been foremost on my mind lately, but life does go on; that said let's discuss the upcoming East Carolina -William & Mary football game. Rather, let's look back at the 1977 ECU-W&M game.

Saturday's game is ECU's second home game of the year and like its first with Wake Forest, pits the Pirates against a big underdog. Despite Steve Logan's remarks to the contrary, it was apparent that the heavily favored Pirates took the Deacons too lightly.

Currently ranked 19th in ESPN's Division 1-AA poll William & Mary comes into Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium with a record of 2-0. The Tribe has defeated the University of Massachusetts 31-10 and VMI 34-0. As if the Tribe's performance to date isn't reason enough for concern, those that have followed Pirate football may recall the disastrous results of an ECU-W&M game played many years ago.

The year was 1977 and the ECU football team was 8-2 headed into the final game of the season. The Pirates' two losses were by a combined 5 points (19-16 to USC and 9-7 to USL). Wins over NC State (28-23) and Duke (17-16) were the highlights of the season. All the high-flying Pirates had to do to secure a Peach Bowl berth was to defeat lowly William & Mary in the annual Oyster Bowl - it didn't happen.

The Pirates lost that game in Norfolk 21-17 and a chance to play in post season. East Carolina's frustration was vividly demonstrated when an ex-ECU coach left the sidelines in a vain attempt to tackle the Tribe's quarterback as he was running into the endzone.

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