GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina will open its 2021 “true” road schedule by visiting former Conference USA rival Marshall Saturday at 6 p.m. at Joan C. Edwards Stadium.
The Pirates and Thundering Herd share a series that has produced overtime matchups in three of the last six games – including the last two of three meetings that had a significant impact on the league’s divisional standings at the time.
The two programs have also split a pair of double overtime thrillers – 2001 (64-61 Marshall/ Mobile Bowl) and 2012 (65-59 East Carolina). ECU will wrap-up its four-game 2021 non-league slate next week by hosting FCS member Charleston Southern on September 25.
EAST CAROLINA RECORDS AND STREAKS
- Has converted all four 2021 redzone visits into points (and are 11 of 12 in the last 3 games) …
- Has forced at least one turnover in 10-straight game (and in 21 of the last 22) …
- Has netted six interceptions in the last four games …
- Has tallied a total of 26.0 TLFs and 6.0 sacks in its last four games …
- Has won 41 of the last 48 games when leading at the half (14-4 since 2015 …
- Has averaged 45.7 yards per punt so far in 2021 (highest two-game average since 2017) …
East Carolina leads 10-5 … Most recently, the Pirates have taken six of the last nine and eight of the last 12 matchups … The Herd owns the only neutral site victory after posting a thrilling 64-61 overtime win at the 2001 GMAC Bowl (Mobile, Ala.) … ECU has taken all seven contests in Greenville, while Marshall has taken four of seven meetings in Huntington.
EAST CAROLINA AGAINST CONFERENCE USA
ECU has compiled an all-time record of 47-41 (.534) against current members of Conference USA … The Pirates owns series marks against Southern Miss (12-27), Marshall (10-5), UAB (9-4), Louisiana Tech (4-2), Old Dominion (3-0), UTEP (3-1), Rice (2-2), Florida Atlantic (1-0), Florida International (1-0), Middle Tennessee (1-0) and North Texas (1-0) … If one would (or could) take out old nemesis Southern Miss, ECU would be able to claim an impressive 34-14 (.708) clip … The Pirates have never played “newer” members Charlotte, UTSA and Western Kentucky in the sport of football, but do have the 49ers scheduled for a home-and-home series beginning in 2024 (@Charlotte/’24, @Greenville/’25).
SPEAKING OF C-USA, YEAR-BY-YEAR
During its 17-year membership in Conference USA (1997-2013), ECU produced an all-time 78-50 (.609) league record and two championships … Overall, the Pirates completed C-USA action by winning 11 of the last 13, 27 of the last 37 and 36 of the last 49 league games.
AAC, NON-AAC STATISTICAL COMPARISONS
The Pirates have averaged 27.8 points, 138.1 rushing yards, 305.6 passing yards and 443.7 total yards in their 57 American Athletic Conference games since joining the league in 2014 … By comparison, ECU averages 29.1 points, 144.8 rushing yards, 309.0 passing yards and 453.8 total yards per game in 27 non-conference contests.
COMPARING 10-YEAR, TWO-GAME RESULTS
East Carolina’s 20-17 loss to South Carolina dropped the Pirates’ record to 0-2 for the second-straight year and for only the third time in the last 10 seasons … A victory over Marshall would give ECU a 1-2 ledger for the fourth-straight season, but a loss against the Herd would mark only the third time since 2004 that the Pirates will have opened the campaign at 0-3 (2017).
ON THE ROAD
Since becoming a conference member in 1997, East Carolina is 59-95 (.383) when playing away from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium … The Pirates have an 0-1 road slate in 2021 after falling to Appalachian State, 33-19, in the season opener … From a non-conference standpoint, ECU snapped a seven-game skid when it topped Old Dominion 24-21 on Sept. 28, 2019 but has only played two road non-AAC tilts since – falling 49-29 at Georgia State last Oct. 3 and in the aforementioned Appalachian State contest.
THE PIRATE NATION – NEARLY 9 MILLION STRONG
East Carolina has usually been able to claim plenty of hometown support when playing at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium – establishing itself among conference attendance leaders on a near annual basis … In all, a total of 8,946,282 fans have seen the Pirates in action since 1963, and since the completion of a 7,000-seat expansion project in 2010 (to push capacity to 50,000), the Pirates have drawn 2,674,996 fans.
SHUTOUT-FREE … 289 AND COUNTING
East Carolina will enter the Marshall contest with an active streak of 289 games of not suffering a shutout – a school record (previous mark was 110 set from ’71-’81) … The last time the Pirates were blanked was on Oct. 4, 1997 (56-0 at Syracuse) … ECU’s 289-game run currently ranks among the Top 10 nationally (Florida/1st).
CHARTING THE PIRATES MONTH-BY-MONTH
In all, East Carolina is 3-3-0 in August, 130-122-1 in September, 163-164-4 in October, 142-132-5 in November, 9-10-0 in December and 1-4-0 in January … The Pirates will visit Marshall on Sept. 18, a month in which East Carolina has won split its last eight contests since the 2018 campaign … On the road, ECU has won two of its last four (wins at Connecticut/2017, Old Dominion/2018), but has also dropped eight of the last 12 dating back to 2014 … Overall, the Pirates are 12-10 vs. in non-league affairs in Month 9 since that same 2014 campaign (1-5 vs. the AAC).
A STARTERS’ LOG
WR Tyler Snead (17 games) and ILB Xavier Smith (15) own the program’s longest starting streaks on offense and defense entering the Marshall contest.
2021 PIRATE GRADUATES (11)
OL Sean Bailey, ILB Bruce Bivens, WR Cam Burnette, TE Zech Byrd, RB/WR Maceo Donald, OL Bailey Malovic, WR Audie Omotosho, ILB Aaron Ramseur, SAF Warren Saba, WR Tyler Snead, P Jonn Young.
THE MIKE HOUSTON (GROUND) STAMP OF APPROVAL
East Carolina’s 1,564-yard rushing total in 2020 marked the program’s fourth-highest nine-game clip since 2000 … In addition, the Pirates posted five (5) 200-yard rushing contests a year ago as a team – most since 2007.
TRIPLE-DIGIT MAGIC … INDIVIDUALLY
Rahjai Harris (USF/115, Navy/172, TLS/118 in 2020) will enter the Marshall contest looking to become the first Pirates’ RB in eight years to post four career 100-yard rushing contests … Tay Cooper (8) last accomplished the feat by logging four each in 2012 and 2013 (after racking up 186 vs. North Carolina, 126 vs. UAB, 148 vs. NC State and 198 vs. Ohio in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl) … Dominique Lindsay posted five during ECU’s C-USA championship season in 2009 for the most recent single-season best.
DEFENSIVE LEADERSHIP STABILITY
From a clean record-keeping standpoint, it’s perhaps easier to say that East Carolina is one of the few FBS programs to employ four different defensive coordinators in the last five seasons … However, it would be more accurate to state the Pirates might be the only team to have used five-plus DCs since opening the 2017 campaign.
LIVING A PIRATES’ LIFE
After having its 11-game streak with at least one takeaway (longest since ’09) snapped during the ’20 season opener vs. UCF, East Carolina’s defense started a new run by generating at least one turnover in the final eighth-straight contests last year … In all, the Pirates will enter the Marshall clash having forced a TO in 10 consecutive games.
SWISS ARMY KNIFE & RECEPTION STREAKS
Slot receiver/return specialist Tyler Snead has averaged 121.5 all-purpose yards in his last seven games (244 vs. Temple alone) … On offense, Snead has caught at least one pass in 23 consecutive games (dating back to 2019) – tops on the unit … Outside receiver C.J. Johnson currently stands second with a reception in 13-straight outings.