Syracuse Passes BY ECU

That is not the headline we armchair QB's expected to see this morning. Maybe "Syracuse Pounds ECU" or "ECU Overcomes Syracuse Ground Game", but not this one.

I tip my hat to Syracuse. They are a team that supposedly has to rely on the run to set up the pass, but they disproved that theory.

On Saturday, Syracuse rallied behind a quarterback, Troy Nunes, who has been booed throughout the year, including when he ran into the huddle on the first possession Saturday. And they continue to win for a coach that has heard the boo-birds for a couple of years now and whose head is always rumored to be on the chopping block despite an 83-38-1 record, a couple of Big East titles, a BCS bowl, and probably 7+ bowl trips in 10 years. Heck, if a football team in this state ever experiences that much success under a coach, he would be nominated for governor.

In a nutshell, ECU was prepared to stop the run, which they did. But in doing so the Pirates were unable to stop the occasional pass, as Nunes had a career day of 17 completions for 296 yards & 4TD's might suggest.

How can we be caught so off guard? I truly don't know. After the Wake game, we heard that they surprised us with the no-huddle and spread offense. After this game, we hear that they won "left-handed" (according to Coach Logan) with the passing game. Over the years I have learned that to beat ECU, just change your game plan from the norm or put in a surprise starter at QB. Somehow we shall take care of the rest. Fellow Pirate fans will also painfully remember Memphis in 2000, UAB in 1999, or USM in 1996(?), and so on. Not that those teams, along with Wake & Syracuse, didn't outplay us, because they did. But it does raise a red flag, and if it doesn't, maybe it should.

In closing, hopefully this loss, coupled with UNC's win over rival NC State, will put ECU back in the hungry underdog mode that typically keeps us more focused for big games. Because no matter what the coaches, media, or fans might say, the next one is a BIG one. We obviously don't have the scheduling privilege of competing with our closest neighbors on an annual basis, so these contests are at a premium in terms of bragging rights, recruiting, and the resulting team emotional state. For twenty years it has belonged to UNC. Only our team and coaching staff can change that. I'll see them, and hopefully you, in Chapel Hill.

PS - Please allow me to solicit your prayer for back judge Gerry Bram, who suffered a heart-attack during the 4th quarter Saturday, and his family. I am hoping for his quick recovery to good health, and I hope to see him in the black & white stripes again soon.

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