The game will be played on December 19, 2001 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium, and will be televised nationally by ESPN2. Kickoff is set for 7:00 pm CST.
The GMAC Bowl (formerly the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl (2000) and Mobile Alabama Bowl (1999)) has featured Top 25 teams in both of their previous bowl games. During the exciting inaugural Mobile Alabama Bowl, East Carolina's Pirates (ranked 20th) lost to the TCU Horned Frogs, 28-14. The 2000 GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl brought TCU back to Mobile to compete against Southern Mississippi University. The game sold out Ladd-Peebles Stadium and set national viewing records at ESPN2. 1.35 million households watched as Mobile native, Jeff Kelly threw the winning touchdown in the last second of the game to defeat TCU 28-21, making the 2000 GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl the highest rated and most viewed College Bowl game in ESPN2 history. In addition, it was the 4th most viewed college football game and 11th most viewed program in ESPN2 history.
The East Carolina Pirates (overall 6-5/C-USA 5-2) feature two of the most exiting players in college football. Quarterback David Garrard and running back Leonard Henry make a one-two combination that few schools can boast. Henry ranks 9th in the nation in rushing yards per game (130.2). He is 9th in the nation in scoring offense totaling 9.82 points per game. He has the second highest touchdown total in C-USA history (29) and holds the C-USA single season rushing record with 1432 yards. Garrard, a Four year starter at quarterback has led ECU to three straight bowl appearances, two in the GMAC Bowl. Over his career at ECU, Garrard, has accounted for a total of 10,238 yards, 9,029 passing and 666 yards rushing. Garrard has virtually rewritten the records books at ECU, as he holds 28 school passing and total offensive records.
ECU's record is not indicative of the team that they will bring to Mobile for the GMAC Bowl. Late losses to Southern Mississippi and Louisville and a schedule that featured 6 bowl eligible teams speaks volumes about the toughness of this team and the players they will bring to Mobile. With three potential NFL first round draft picks in David Garrard, Leonard Henry, and Pernell Griffin, ECU should prove to be an exciting match for Marshall's Thundering Herd.
Tickets are still available for the 3rd Annual GMAC Bowl. To purchase tickets log on to www.gmacbowl.com, or call the office at 635-0011.