Scouting Report: East Carolina

Navy (4-3) travels to Greenville, N.C., to face the East Carolina Pirates (5-3, 4-1) who have endured a somewhat streaky season. The Pirates are still in the postseason hunt in a roller coaster of a season that has seen the Pirates win a game and lose the next for the first six games.

Navy (4-3) travels to Greenville, N.C., to face the East Carolina Pirates (5-3, 4-1) who have endured a somewhat streaky season. The Pirates are still in the postseason hunt in a roller coaster of a season that has seen the Pirates win a game and lose the next for the first six games. Not until their two most recent games against Memphis (41-7) and UAB (42-35) have the Pirates posted consecutive wins. The Pirates are currently sitting third in the C-USA behind Central Florida and Tulsa. Last week in Birmingham, Ala., against UAB, junior running back Vintavious Cooper racked up a career high 172 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns on 26 carries. The Pirates trailed the Blazers 14-13 at halftime and scored on their first four second half possessions to get the win. ECU outgained the Blazers 600-401 total yards of offense. ECU quarterback Shane Carden set a career-high 386 yards passing and two touchdown passes in the contest.

East Carolina is led by quarterback Shane Carden who has completed 141 for 219 pass attempts for 1685 yards passing and 11 touchdown passes. The sophomore has scored four times with his legs and thrown five interceptions through the season.

The Pirates have a plethora of experience at the guard positions with Will Simmons who leads the offense with 20 consecutive starts, and Jordan Davis at left guard with 15 straight starts. At left tackle Adhem Elsawi has 15 starts for an offense that averages 3.5 yards per carry and 117.5 rushing yards per game.

East Carolina enters the game with a potent spread offense that includes eight receivers with at least ten receptions or more. Justin Hardy has been sensational for the Pirates with team-highs in receptions (51), touchdowns (8), and receiving yards (749). The sophomore has also fared well returning punts for East Carolina, averaging 9 yards per return.

Senior receiver Andrew Bodenheimer is Carden's second favorite target with 22 receptions for 186 yards with one score. Justin Jones plays a hybrid tight end/receiver position and is a big presence at 6-8, 258 pounds. The junior has 16 catches for 221 yards and is second on the team with 3 touchdowns. Sophomore receiver Reese Wiggins is also a potent threat with 18 catches for 139 yards receiving.

Junior running back Vintavious Cooper has been outstanding thus far averaging 5.7 yards per carry with 630 yards rushing and 3 scores. Michael Dobson is second on the team with 165 yards rushing on 56 carries with a score. The junior running back is also a potent receiving threat and is tied for third on the team with 18 catches for 150 yards receiving.

The Pirates utilize a 4-3 defense led by sophomore inside linebacker Jeremy Grove who leads the team with 55 tackles, including 3½ for a loss, and 2 forced fumbles. Grove set an ECU school record as a freshman with 122 tackles a year ago. Senior linebacker Daniel Drake will mix in with junior Kyle Tudor on the inside. Tudor is currently third on the team with 41 tackles and has started six games for the Pirates this year.

Outside linebacker Derrell Johnson leads ECU with 31 consecutive starts. The junior linebacker has been a force in the Pirate's front seven with 30 tackles, a sack, and a team-highs in tackles for a loss (5½) and quarterback hurries (6). The Pirates have had trouble finding someone who could stick at the other outside linebacker position. Gabriel Woullard has started the last three games and has impressed with 24 tackles, 3 for a loss, and a team high 2½ sacks.

Defensive end Lee Pegues has seen playing time at both end and nose tackle. The junior currently leads the defensive line with 25 tackles and 4½ tackles for a loss. Opposite Pegues, senior Michael Brooks and sophomore Chrishon Rose combine for 35 tackles, including two for a loss for the Pirates.

Nose tackle Terry Williams has done well clogging up the middle for the Pirates. In his last three starts, the redshirt sophomore has posted 11 tackles, 2 for a loss, and the first three pass breakups of his career against UAB.

Strong safety Chip Thompson leads the Pirates with two interceptions. The junior had a fumble returned 45 yards for a score against Appalachian State. Free safety Damon Magazu is second on the team with 48 stops and 2 passes defended, and has started 20 consecutive games for the Pirates.

Junior cornerback Adonis Armstrong has been sensational in pass defense with 33 tackles, an interception, and a team-high 12 passes defended. Opposite Armstrong, is senior Leonard Paulk who has improved as the season continued. Paulk, who had posted six tackles through the first five games, has since tallied 13 in the last two matchups--including a career-high eight tackles against UAB.

Redshirt freshman Montese Overton had a 16-yard fumble returned for a touchdown against Southern Miss. The outside linebacker has contributed well for the Pirates with 27 tackles, 3½ for a loss, and a sack.

Junior college transfer Lance Ray and senior Derrick Harris have handled most kick return duties for the Pirates. Ray returned a kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown in the 35-13 victory over Appalachian State. Harris has a long return of 25 yards.

Sophomore Warren Harvey has performed well in his first year as the starting place kicker. It took him a while to get going, missing his first three field goal attempts. However, Harvey has since been superb hitting 10 for 14 from field goal range, with a long of 54 yards against Southern Miss.

Junior Trent Tignor has booted four punts of 50 yards or more this season and pinned opponents inside their 20-yard line ten times.

The Mids will have to play sound defensive football against a Pirate team that enjoys a significant home field advantage. East Carolina has led the Conference USA in attendance over the last three years. The Pirates have won four consecutive home games.

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