Scouting the Opponent: East Carolina

Points aplenty should be scored on Friday afternoon when SMU visits East Carolina in a Conference USA clash of 6-5 teams. The Pirates are dead last in the country in scoring defense, giving up over 43 points per game, but they're also potent on offense, ranking near the top of nation with their passing game. Get the details on what to expect from East Carolina.

East Carolina hasn't been good on defense, but the Pirates (6-5, 5-2 C-USA East) have compensated with an offense that ranks among the nation's best in passing yardage and points scored.

When you examine East Carolina's statistics, the first thing that jumps out at you (other than the shocking amount of points they've allowed) is the productivity of their quarterback, Dominique Davis, and his quintet of leading receivers: Dwayne Harris, Lance Lewis, Jonathan Williams, Michael Bowman, and Andrew Bodenheimer.

Davis, who started three games for Boston College back in 2008, moved on to East Carolina this year from the JUCO ranks and won the starting nod over three other candidates.

And Davis certainly was the right choice as the starter, having completed 325 of 507 passes for 3,385 yards and 34 TDs (tops in the nation) with 13 INT. He's also rushed for eight scores.

The ECU field general got the season started in a big way vs. Tulsa on Labor Day, completing a 33-yard pass to Justin Jones for the game-winning touchdown as time ran out. Davis tossed five TD passes (with only one interception) that afternoon.

With Davis under center, East Carolina is ranked sixth in the nation in passing and is No. 11 in points scored.

Jones, who has 17 catches and 4 TDs, is just one of several outstanding receivers for the Pirates. The leader of the pack is Dwayne Harris, a 6-foot-0, 205-pound senior. Last year, Harris hauled in 83 receptions for 978 yards and he's equaled that number already this fall (83 receptions, 998 yards, 10 TDs). Williams is also the top ground-gainer for the Pirates, having picked up 759 yards on 139 carries (5.5 ypc) with 8 touchdowns.

It's really no surprise that the Pirates have struggled mightily on defense, considering that they entered the year with only two returning starters: cornerbacks Emanuel Davis and Travis Simmons.

ECU has allowed more than 40 points in eight games - including 62 last week vs. Rice and 76 to Navy - but the Pirates held Marshall to 10 last month.

The appropriately-named Dustin Lineback, a 5-foot-11, 223-pound senior linebacker, has a team-best 97 tackles and is third on the squad with six TFL. Justin Dixon, the leader in sacks (with 3), is out for the year due to injury. Bradley Jacobs has three of the Pirates' nine picks and ranks third on the team with 67 stops.


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