Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Pirates Seek to Close Out 2017 Season With Win at Memphis

ECU will officially close out the 2017 season when it faces Memphis in an American Athletic Conference contest at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Pirates will try to finish league play in the same manner it started (win at UConn) when they square off against the West Division champion Tigers. Memphis has won six straight, including a 66-45 decision over SMU last week. ECU, which posted a 48-20 triumph over Cincinnati in its last outing, will also look to capture back-to-back victories for the second time in the Scottie Montgomery era.

Last Meeting

Sophomore Shane Carden passed for 308 yards and five touchdowns while the Pirate defense limited Memphis to only 148 total yards in the first three quarters as ECU posted a 41-7 Conference USA victory over the Tigers

Players to Watch

Gardner Minshew – in November, the junior quarterback tops all passers nationally in completions, stands fourth in passing yards and eighth in touchdowns
Austin Barnes – extended his streak of recording at least one punt of 50-plus yards to all 11 games this season; in all, 17 of his 50 punts in 2017 have traveled that distance and he’s placed 16 inside opponents’ 20-yard line
Darius Pinnix – has led ECU in rushing in three of the last six games; career-best 93 yards at UCF included a personal-long run of 57-yards in the first quarter (which remains ECU’s longest rush from scrimmage this season)

What the Coaches are Saying

ECU Coach Scotty Montgomery
“Memphis is a very, very talented football team that’s also coached well. We’ve been against speed before and this team is a fast team as well. This is probably the most skilled football team. We talk about speed a whole lot; this team has done a good job. Coach [Mike] Norvell has done a good job putting together a team that is skilled on offense. When you look at what [Riley] Ferguson is able to do with his arm, he extends plays and he has probably one of the more exciting players at receiver [Anthony] Miller. On tape he can stretch the field with speed, run exceptional routes, catch the quicks and make people miss. So we’ll have our hands full with him and we’re looking forward to the challenge." 
“They’ve done a really good job on defense of making sure that their offense always has the chance to keep the pressure on the team that they’re playing against. I think throughout the year you can see that they are playing with fewer returners on defense than they are on offense and they are continuing to get better. I see coach working both sides of the ball to play new people. But this is a football team that has played well, played with skill and will continue to get better. This is a team that you look at and from a skill standpoint, you have to get to this level to be able to compete for championships in this league and they’ve done a really, really good job at it.”

Worth Mentioning

In addition to 11 contests against the Tigers, ECU has visited Memphis on four other occasions for participation in the annual Liberty Bowl.
1994 St. Jude Liberty Bowl; Illinois 30, ECU 0 (Dec. 31, 1994)
1995 St. Jude Liberty Bowl; ECU 19, Stanford 13 (Dec. 30, 1995)
2009 AutoZone Liberty Bowl; Kentucky 25, ECU 19 (Jan. 2, 2009)
2010 AutoZone Liberty Bowl; Arkansas 20, ECU 17/OT (Jan. 2, 2010)