Tuesday, October 16, 2018

"Defending National Champs" Coming to Greenville This Saturday

It’s Homecoming on the ECU campus as the Pirates welcome defending American Athletic Conference champion UCF to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday. After falling to Houston last week to open a three-game homestand, ECU hopes to improve its AAC home record in October to 5-4 when it meets the Knights in Greenville for the 10th time in series history. The Pirates will also be looking to post their 13th-straight Homecoming victory when they battle UCF.

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium
ECU’s all-time record at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium is 187-100 (.652). The Pirates opened the facility on Sept. 21, 1963, with a 20-10 win over Brian Piccolo and the Wake Forest Demon Deacons in front of 17,000 fans and celebrated the stadium’s 50th anniversary in 2013. Before a 2-5 record last year and 3-3 marks in both 2015 and 2016, ECU was 5-1 in 2014, 2013 and 2012 (15-3) and won a combined 10 of 12 home matchups in 2009 (6-1) and 2008 (4-1). Overall, ECU is in search of its 40th winning campaign at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this fall.

The arrival of new defensive coordinator David Blackwell has quickly resulted in impressively improved numbers for the Pirates so far this season. When comparing total yards per game allowed from 2017 (541.7) to 2018 (351.2), ECU’s improvement clip of 201.5 yards per game ranks first nationally. Of the Pirates opponents’ 82 offensive possessions this year, ECU’s defense has forced “three & outs” on 36 occasions (43.9 percent and 6.0 per game).

Since joining the AAC in 2014, the Pirates lead the league in passing yards per game over a combined four-plus-year period despite utilizing seven starting quarterbacks, three offensive coordinators and two head coaches. Trevon Brown currently stands sixth among all active FBS receivers in reception yards per game (66.5 ypg), while also ranking 8th in yards (2,329), 14th in TD grabs (18) and 19th in catches (151). Additionally, his 2,329 receiving yards tops all American Athletic Conference pass catchers heading into the UCF tilt. Along with serving as an FBS-best last week, Brown’s 13 receptions vs. Houston also marked a single-game high for an AAC receiver this season (and 5th-highest nationally). Lastly, his 153 yards against the Cougars ranks fourth among league WRs in 2018.