Sunday, September 21, 2014

East Carolina Earns First National Ranking Since 2008 After 3-1 Start

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Following a convincing 70-41 victory over then No. 25 North Carolina Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, East Carolina finds itself nationally-ranked for the first time since 2008 after being tabbed No. 23 in the Associated Press and No. 24 in the USA Today/Amway Coaches Polls Sunday afternoon.

The Pirates, who have gotten off to a 3-1 start under fifth-year head coach Ruffin McNeill, own consecutive wins over top-25 opponents after downing 17th-ranked Virginia Tech on Sept. 13 before knocking off the Tar Heels. The triumph over North Carolina, which was highlighted by a school-record 789-yard offensive performance, also marked ECU's fourth-straight against an Atlantic Coast Conference member dating back to last year.

The return to the national polls marks a first for East Carolina since 2008 when the Pirates broke in at No. 14 on Sept. 7 after defeating No. 17 Virginia Tech and No. 8 West Virginia to open the season. ECU fell to No. 15 and No. 23 in successive weeks before exiting the poll following a home loss to Houston on Sept. 27.

The Pirates also made AP appearances in 1976 (No. 20/Oct. 19), 1983 (ranked three weeks/No. 20 in final poll), 1991 (ranked eight weeks/program-high No. 9 in final poll) and 1999 (ranked 11 weeks/No. 20 on Dec. 5).

After a bye week, East Carolina will host SMU for its inaugural American Athletic Conference contest on Oct. 4. A kickoff time and television broadcast information is expected to be released by conference officials later this week.

Courtesy of ECU Media Services