Hurricane Warning

Barring a miracle of epic proportions, East Carolina's short, 2-game win streak over the Miami Hurricanes will come to a screeching halt on Saturday.

In 1996, ECU made the trek to the Orange Bowl, and knocked out Miami Miami's starting QB on the way to a 31-6 pasting of the Hurricanes in front of a national television audience. Without their starting play-caller, the Canes' offense was ineffective and the Marcus Crandall-led Pirates rolled. It was the Pirates' first win over the ‘Canes in nine tries, and set the tone for a new wave of confidence in the football program's growth, and direction. The Pirates finished that season at 8-3 including a 50-29 beating of archrival NC State in Charlotte. Unfortunately, no bowl invite was forthcoming.

Three years later the Pirates again upended Miami in a dramatic 27-23 come-from-behind victory by the Pirates. Down 21- 3 at the half, ECU rallied for the victory. Once again, a national audience witnessed the unlikely turn of events. Of course, that was 1999, the year that Hurricane Floyd pummeled the eastern part of the state, prompting a relocation of that game from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to NC State's Carter-Finley. The game was played only a week after ECU dismantled Lou Holtz's South Carolina Gamecocks.

Forced to remain in Columbia for a week because of the flooding in Greenville, the 1999 Pirate squad became national media darlings. The win over then ninth-ranked Miami provided much needed emotional lift, and a brief respite for many suffering the residual effects of Floyd. That Pirate team finished the year with a 9-3 mark, and a loss to TCU in the Mobile Alabama Bowl.

This time around, an ECU team that has lost its first two games this season by 37 points, and 41 points to Cincinnati and West Virginia respectively will be lucky to keep the margin of loss to less than 50 on Saturday.

Second-ranked Miami received a wake-up call this past Saturday when they had to scramble from 23 points down to beat in-state foe Florida. No doubt the Hurricanes will look to score more first-place votes by dismantling an undermanned ECU team on national TV. Sorry, no hope for any miracles this time around for the Pirates.

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