Pirates Outlast Frogs for Conference Win

The East Carolina Pirates (5-3, 4-0) were able to hold off a second half rally by the Horned Frogs of TCU (4-4, 2-2) 37-30 to take the lead in the C-USA Conference Race. The Pirates almost blew a 27-3 halftime lead before rising to the occasion and shutting down the Horned Frog offense when it counted. On the final play of the game.

The game started off a little shaky for ECU Senior Quarterback David Garrard. On the first series, Garrard fumbled the ball giving TCU the ball at the ECU 33. But the Horned Frogs were not able to punch it in and settled for a Nick Browne field goal to go ahead 3-0.

After Marvin Townes returned the kick-off for 30 yards, the Pirate offense kicked into gear. Garrard moved the team down the field and Leonard Henry capped off the drive with a 21-yard TD run. Kevin Miller missed the PAT. Pirates up 6-3. A few minutes later, Garrard hooks up with Richard Alston for a 51-yard TD strike to put the Pirates up 13-3.

With under a minute to go in the First Quarter, Garrard threw a screen pass to Art Brown for a 67-yard TD to raise the lead to 20-3. After 3 consecutive Incomplete passes, on 4th-and-10, Garrard hit Gold in Terrance Copper for the first down to keep the drive alive. Two plays later, Leonard Henry runs it in to give the Pirates a 27-3 lead going into halftime. At this point Garrard was 12-for-20 with 199 yards and Leonard Henry had 9 carries for 57 yards.

The second half belonged to TCU. On the final play of the First Half, TCU's QB Sean Stilley suffered a "high ankle sprain" and was unable to come out for the Second half. TCU Senior QB Casey Printers, who had been sidelined with a right shoulder injury in their game against Army, took control of the TCU offense. And How!!!

Printers took his team down the field, but was stopped on 4th and 5 at the ECU 8-yard line and turned the ball over on downs. On the first play from scrimmage, David Garrard was going down but tried to be a little too cute on the play by trying a lateral at his own 8-YARD-LINE. The lateral became a fumble and four plays later the Frogs punched in their first of four touchdowns on the night.

After a Kevin Miller Field Goal to put the Pirates up 30-9, TCU's LaTarence Dunbar fumbled the kickoff out of bounds and the Horned Frogs started their drive at the TCU 3-yard-line. Dunbar completed a 34 yard pass to make up for his mistake. On that play, ECU's Antwan Adams suffered a concussion but he seemed to look okay later in the game. Printers capped off a 17 play drive with a 6-yard TD pass to Dunbar to bring the Frogs within 14 on the last play of the 3rd Quarter.

To start the 4th quarter, TCU took a page out of the Steve Logan playbook. The Frogs kickoff became a short jump ball and the Frogs recovered the ball on the ECU 38. Four plays later the Pirate lead was only 7 after a TD run by Madison.

Anthony Adams picked off Printers for a 50 yard Interception return to set up the last ECU score and put the Pirates up 37-23.

Printers brought the Frogs back down the field going 6-for-11 for 82 yards, including a 16 yard pass on 4th and 10. Frogs within 7.

Again the Frogs execute a perfect onside kick and Printers starts to use his magic. On 4th & 1, he hits Madise for a 16-yd pass. On a 4th & 10, he hits Schobel for a 18-yd strike. The Frogs now are 1st and Goal at the 10. Printers goes to the air 4 straight times and the Pirate defense holds to seal the victory.

Leonard Henry rushed for 96 yards and 3 TD's. He just missed his 7th straight 100-yard rushing game, but did go over 1,000 yards for the season. He leads C-USA in rushing and is the first player since Scott Harley in 1996 to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. David Garrard threw for 221 yards and had 2 TD passes. His 58 career Touchdown passes match Marcus Crandell for the school record.

Let's just hope that I can leave my nitroglycerin at home for the rest of the season.

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