The Green Wave are back at the Superdome this week after a lackluster loss to Memphis last week, and unfortunately for them they face a much more complete team in East Carolina that sits at 6 and 4 with wins over Southern Miss, UTEP, Memphis, UAB, and Houston. 2 of their 4 losses come against BCS level opponents in South Carolina and North Carolina and the other 2 coming from UCF and Navy. The team is in their 3rd year under Ruffin McNeil who has posted 17 and 18 record so far. The pirates have won that last 4 against the Wave and lead the series 9 to 2 overall.
Points per Game: 28.2 (68th)
Yards per Game:396.8 (62nd)
Pass Yards per Game: 261.9 (44th)
Rush Yards per Game: 132.9 (95th)
Yards per Play: 5.4 (71st)
3rd Down Conversion %: 43.41% (42nd)
Avg. Time of Possession: 31:44 (24th)
Despite being relatively balanced on offense in terms of playcalling (36.4 pass, 35.4 rush), the Pirates prefer to air it out. Quarterback Shane Carden took over after week two from Rio Johnson and has played effectively, going 191 for 291 (65.6%) for 2,184 yards and a 16 to 7 TD/INT ratio.
At the skill positions ECU features 2 key players. At running back Vintavious Cooper has had a strong season running 162 times for 891 yards (3rd in C-USA) and 5 TDs. After Cooper is Michael Dobson who has 57 rushes for 169 yards (3.0) and a TD and Reggie Bullock has run 43 times for 188 yards and 2 TDs.
The other offensive threat is wide receiver Justin Hardy who has caught 62 balls for 820 yards (3rd in C-USA) and 9 TDs (2nd in C-USA). He currently averages 13.2 yards per reception, an impressive stat. Andrew Bodenheimer is second on the team with 27 receptions for 230 yards and a TD, and Danny Webster is 3rd on the team with 23 receptions for 223 yards and 3 TDs.
Just how well Tulane can bottle up these playmakers will determine their defensive success on Saturday. One area where Tulane might be able to make some plays is the pass rush, with ECU giving up 2.7 sacks per game, good for 102nd in the country. Their potent passing game is complimented well by their relatively successful rushing game, which is a big reason for their success in terms of time of possession.
Yards per Game: 407.8 (61st)
Pass Yards per Game: 251.4 (76th)
Rush Yards per Game: 156.3 (53rd)
Yards per Play: 5.8 (83rd)
3rd down Conversion %: 38.79% (49th)
The Pirates defense is pretty mediocre statistically but they have done a pretty good job keeping their team in the game. The team is lead in tackles by linebacker Jeremy Grove (62 tot., 33 solo) and defensive back Damon Magazu (62 tot., 30 solo). Defensive back Chip Thompson leads the team with 3 interceptions and he also has a fumble return for a TD. Defensive end/linebacker Derrell Johnson leads the team with 3 sacks.
Tulane needs to rebound and get back to the offensive rhythm they had against UAB and Rice. Being at home might help the Wave out here, but if they continue to struggle with turnovers they may run into the same problems again. This is Ryan Griffin's last home game and he looks to go out on a high note.
East Carolina Preview
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