GREENVILLE, N.C. – After surrendering 10 touchdowns and over 500 yards during last week’s initial scrimmage, East Carolina’s defense bounced back in strong fashion during the Pirates’ second spring instrasquad contest on Bagwell Field inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium late Friday afternoon.
The tilt consisted of nearly 50 plays and featured a heavy dose of situational work, including strikezone (35-yard line) and redzone (20) execution along with third down efficiency.
Defensively, ECU allowed just a pair of scores during the traditional phase of the scrimmage, forced a pair of turnovers, logged six tackles behind the line of scrimmage and trimmed the yardage total to only 267.
The Pirate offense used a pair of Gardner Minshew touchdown passes to Jimmy Williams, one coming during the redzone segment, and a 52-yard run by Hussein Howe to account for its scoring.
“We are starting to put together a lot of live reps,” head coach Scottie Montgomery said. “I thought we needed to play a lot more football this spring and that is exactly what we are doing and our guys are responding to it.
“Defensively we are starting to learn how to create some turnovers and offensively we are starting to be able to execute the scheme the way I want it done and the way that our coaching staff wants it done. It’s some great competition and now I feel like we are coming to an even ground as far as the competition is concerned.”
ECU rushed for 118 yards on 23 carries and passed for 149 on 24 attempts.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew shook off a slow one-for-five start by completing his last 10 throws to finish with an 11-of-15, 130-yard outing. He racked up a game-high eight first downs and connected with Williams on TD throws of 27 and two yards.
Reid Herring was accurate on his first four tosses of the day before turning in an overall four-of-eight, 19-yard effort.
The 52-yard scoring jaunt helped Howe lead all rushers with 74 yards on six carries, while Anthony Scott picked up 32 yards on five attempts.
Deondre Farrier topped all receivers with four grabs for 37 yards and Malik Gray matched Williams with a pair of receptions for 29 yards to headline a group of nine pass catchers who made 15 receptions for 149 yards.
Defensively, safety Xavier Smith led the Pirates with five tackles, including one which resulted in lost yardage. Inside linebacker Aaron Ramseur tallied four stops and accounted for a score with a 47-yard fumble return. For the second time in as many weeks, cornerback Travis Phillips netted a pass theft.
East Carolina will open its fourth week of spring work Monday with a session in pads beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Hight Field inside the Cliff Moore Practice Complex. The Pirates will follow with a practice on Wednesday before taking a week off in observance of the Easter Holidays.
SPRING SCRIMMAGE II STATISTICS
RUSHING: Hussein Howe (6-74, 1 TD), Anthony Scott (5-32), Derrell Scott (4-9), Devin Anderson (4-8), Gardner Minshew (2-1), Kingsley Ifedi (1-<-1>), Reid Herring (1-<-5>). Totals –– 23-118 (5.1 ypr), 1 TD.
PASSING: Gardner Minshew (15-11-0, 130 yards, 2 TD), Reid Herring (8-4-0, 19), Kingsley Ifedi (1-0-1, 0). Totals –– 24-15-1, 149 yards, 2 TD.
RECEIVING: Deondre Farrier (4-37), Jimmy Williams (2-29, 2 TD), Malik Gray (2-29), Michael Swift (2-10), Quay Johnson (1-16), Hussein Howe (1-11), Devin Anderson (1-6), Cam Marshmon (1-6), Anthony Scott (1-5). Totals –– 15-149, 2 TD
TACKLES: Xavier Smith 5 (1 TFL/-1), Aaron Ramseur 4 (1 TFL/-5, FR/47 yards), Tim Irvin 3, Mike Myers 3 (1 TFL/-2), Marcus Holton Jr. 3, Yiannis Bowden 3, Justin Brown 2 (1 TFL/-1), Taijh Alston 2, Corey Seargent 1, Jordan Williams 1, Colby Gore 1 (1 TFL/-3, 1 PD), Cannon Gibbs 1, Keyshawn Canady 1, Ray Tillman 1, Travis Phillips 1 (1 INT, 1 PD), Travon Simmons 1, Kenyon Taylor 1, Bobby Fulp 1, Ben Norris 1, (1 TFL/-2), Devon Sutton 1, Raequan Purvis 1, Shaun James 1
TOTAL OFFENSE/TOTAL DEFENSE: 47-267 (5.7 ypp)
INTERCEPTIONS: 1 (Travis Phillips/no return)
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS (full possessions only): 4-7 (57.1%) – Gardner Minshew (2-3), Reid Herring (2-4)
PENALTIES: 5 (3/OFFENSE – 2 holding, 1 false start; 2/DEFENSE – 1 offside, 1 personal foul)
QUARTERBACK FIRST DOWN/SCORING CHART (DRIVES):
Gardner Minshew – 8 first downs, 2 TD
Reid Herring – 3 first downs, 1 TD
TD – 4 (3 offense, 1 defense)
Hussein Howe 52-yard run
Jimmy Williams 27-yard pass from Gardner Minshew
Jimmy Williams 2-yard pass from Gardner Minshew
Aaron Ramseur 47-yard fumble return
EAST CAROLINA’S 2017 SPRING PRACTICE SCHEDULE
Next Workout: Monday, April 10 (4:30 p.m.-6:20 p.m.)
Remaining Workouts: April 12, April 19, April 21 and April 22 (Purple-Gold Game, 2:00 p.m.)