PIRATE FOOTBALL TONIGHT: ECU @ UConn – 7 PM ON ESPNU

Pirates Football

GREENVILLE, N.C. (ECU Media Relations) – East Carolina will make its first-ever trip to Connecticut where it will battle the Huskies in an American Athletic Conference matchup at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on Friday beginning at 7 p.m.

The Pirates will try to bounce back from a 24-14 home league setback suffered against No. 22 Temple last week, while at the same time, attempt to extend its AAC road win streak to two straight when they meet UConn. The Huskies, who opened the 2015 campaign with a 2-0 mark, will enter the contest having dropped five of their last six contests – including recent back-to-back divisional losses to USF and Cincinnati. ECU, which is playing for the ninth consecutive week, are the owners of a 1-3 overall road record this season.

East Carolina Records and Streaks

  • Qualified for 10 bowl appearances since 2000 (three-straight, eight of the last nine years) …
  • Has won 26 of the last 31 games when scoring 30 or more points …
  • Has lost 15-straight games when scoring 20 or less points (19-14 vs. UCF in ’09/last win) …
  • Has won 18 of the last 19 games when gaining 200 or more rushing yards …
  • Has won 26 of the last 27 games when leading at the half …
  • Has won 10 of the last 18 regular season road games …
  • Has won two of the last three American Athletic Conference road games …
  • Has won six of the last eight games played in the month of October …
  • Has converted 21 of its last 22 redzone appearances into points …

The Series
East Carolina leads 1-0 … The Pirates scored 10 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to break a 21-21 deadlock in the first-ever meeting between the two programs a year ago at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Navy & BYU – Common 2015 Opponents So Far
Both ECU and Connecticut have each faced Navy and BYU this year with similar results – a combined 0-4 … The Pirates faced Navy in Annapolis on Sept. 19 and fell 45-21, and a week later, the Huskies lost to the Midshipmen 28-18 in East Hartford … On the flipside, UConn traveled to Provo on Oct. 3 where it dropped a 30-13 decision to BYU … Seven days later, ECU made the long trip before coming up short in a 45-38 shootout to the Cougars.

Non-Saturday Mayhem
East Carolina is 18-22 in non-Saturday games since 2000, when it became a regular “alternative” to the game’s scheduling staple … Oddly, the Pirates have fared better on the road – compiling a 12-10 record compared to a 6-12 slate in Greenville … In terms of days (including bowls), ECU is 4-0 on Sundays, 1-1 on Mondays, 2-1 on Tuesdays, 0-3 on Wednesdays, 6-11 on Thursdays (1-2 in 2014, 0-1 in 2015) and 5-6 on Fridays (1-0 in 2014) … Under Ruffin McNeill, ECU is 7-7 when deviating from the normal Saturday routine … While the Pirates have split four Friday matchups since 2010, East Carolina has won two of the last three (wins over Marshall/’12 and Tulsa/’14) … Overall, the Pirates will try to snap a two-game weekday skid when they meet the Huskies Friday.

Formidable Setbacks
ECU’s four losses this year have been against teams that currently sport a combined record of 24-4 (.847): Florida (6-1), Navy (5-1), BYU (6-2), Temple (7-0).

The American – Year Two
ECU has posted a 77-44 (.636) all-time mark against current members of the American Conference … The Pirates currently own series records against Memphis (15-6), Cincinnati (12-6), Tulane (11-3), UCF (9-4), Temple (8-5), Tulsa (8-5), Houston (7-5), SMU (4-2) Connecticut (1-0), Navy (1-4) and USF (1-4).

The Pirate Nation – 7.8 Million Strong
East Carolina has always been able to claim plenty of hometown support, even more so when playing at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium during the fall – establishing itself as a conference attendance leader on an annual basis … In all, a total of 7,857,749 fans have seen the Pirates in action since 1963, and in the last seven-plus years, ECU has averaged 45,682 (2,055,686/45 regular season games) … Since the completion of a 7,000-seat expansion project in 2010 that pushed Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium’s capacity to 50,000, the Pirates have drawn 1,586,463 fans – recently cracking the 1.5 million mark when 50,514 watched ECU down Virginia Tech on Sept. 26 … ECU set back-to-back school records in total attendance and season average attendance in 2011, breaking ’10 marks (297,987/49,665) with 300,069 and 50,012 figures that year.
NOTE: ECU’s student ticket allotment of 15,000 ranks ninth nationally, trailing only Texas A&M (31,000), Ohio State (28,333), Penn State (21,500), Florida (19,500), Alabama (17,500), Texas (17,000), Florida State (16,000) and Georgia (16,000).

Attendance Leaders
In addition to departing Conference USA as a six-time attendance champion – 2008 (42,016), 2009 (41,742), 2010 (49,665), 2011 (50,012), 2012 (47,013) and 2013 (43,985), as well as topping the American Athletic Conference during its first year of membership, East Carolina has also led all non-AQ BCS conference (now referred to as the “Group of Five”) members in attendance the last three seasons and currently stand third after the first eight weeks of play … Overall, ECU ranks 56th nationally in average attendance (43,427) and 57th in capacity percentage (86.85) so far in 2015.
NOTE: The 40,712, 50,514 and 43,065 figures announced for the Pirates’ first three contests this season marked the 11th, 12th and 13th-straight home games that East Carolina had surpassed 40K in attendance before the run was snapped on Oct. 22 when 39,417 watched ECU fall to Temple on a Thursday night.

Analyzing The 2015 Schedule
East Carolina’s 2015 schedule consists of games against two conference champions (UCF and Cincinnati/American co-champs), six bowl participants (Florida, Navy, Virginia Tech, BYU, UCF, Cincinnati) and four programs either currently ranked or earning votes in the two major Top 25 polls – Florida (11/12), Temple (21/22), BYU (RV) and Navy (RV). Collectively, the Pirates’ opponents have gotten off to an 46-41 “start” thus far this season.

Effective Damage Control
After Navy (2), Virginia Tech (2) and SMU (2) collectively converted all six East Carolina turnovers into points (four TDs, two FGs), the Pirate defense has done some impressive damage control in their last three games … Despite gaining a combined six takeaways against ECU, BYU (field goal), Tulsa and Temple only managed to score three points.

Limiting Ground Movement
With a pair of double-digit totals serving as bookends, East Carolina’s recent efforts slowing opponent running attacks has rekindled a few memories of the Pirates’ notable performance a year ago (2014) which included a No. 11 national rank after allowing just 111.8 yards per game.

Other Ways To Create Havoc, Limit Pass Success
The Pirates have been credited with 13 quarterback pressures (i.e. hurries) against Tulsa (9) and Temple (4) in back-to-back games … ECU’s total against the Golden Hurricane were the most since harassing NC State’s Russell Wilson 11 times during the Pirates’ 33-27 win over the Wolfpack at Dowdy-Stadium on Oct. 16, 2010 … East Carolina has also knocked down 20 passes in its last four games (14 in first four) … ECU’s pressure and coverage has helped lower opponent pass production.

A Perfect Defensive Denominator
Since taking over the ECU program in 2010, Ruffin McNeill is 10-0 when the Pirates score a defensive touchdown (1/2010, 0/2011, 3/2012, 3/2013, 2/2014 and 1/2015) … Most recently, Josh Hawkins contributed a 100-yard “pick-six” against Tulsa on Oct. 17.

Zay’s Streak
Junior IR Isaiah Jones has caught at least one pass in 31-straight games heading into the Connecticut contest … The streak, which began with a two-catch, 27-yard effort vs. North Carolina on Sept. 28, 2013, currently ranks 13th among active receivers … His 10-catch, 106-yard effort vs. Temple last week represented the sixth double-digit reception outing and eighth triple-digit yard total of his East Carolina career … A closer look at Jones’ all-time personal doubles and triples count.

The Pirates’ Double-Option
Junior East Carolina quarterbacks Blake Kemp and James Summers have each contributed in their own unique way over so far this season … A closer look:

  • Blake Kemp (4-2/starter) – Currently ranks 6th in completion percentage and 16th in completions per game, while also standing among the FBS’ top 30 in passing yards with 1,828 and in the top 50 in TD throws (11) … Of his two relief appearances, effort at BYU stood out with a career-high 371 air yards and two touchdowns … Completed 77.8 percent of his throws (28-of-36) and engineered two fourth-quarter TD drives operating in the “two-minute drill” (85 yards/1:52, 63 yards/2:36) to erase a 17-point deficit and put the Pirates in a position to even game with 4:01 left.
  • James Summers (0-2/starter) – Posted the second-highest single-game positional rushing total in school history (169 yards, most by a Pirate QB since 1979) and threw his first career TD pass coming off the bench vs. Virginia Tech

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