GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina continues American Athletic Conference play Saturday afternoon, traveling down to Boca Raton and the FAU Stadium for an encounter with South Florida. Kickoff is slated for 2:30 p.m. and the contest will stream live via ESPN+ with Ted Emrich (play-by-play) and Taylor McHargue (analyst) on the call.

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The game was originally scheduled to be held at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, but the effects of Hurricane Ian forced school officials to seek an alternate location.

The Pirates (2-2, 0-1 AAC) lost a tough 23-20 double-overtime decision to Navy last Saturday in their AAC opener. Isaiah Winstead notched his second-straight 100-yard receiving effort, racking up 143 yards on 11 catches with a touchdown. Ryan Jones also hauled in a touchdown grab for the third-straight game. On the ground, Rahjai Harris collected a team-high 75 yards on 15 carries.

The Bulls (1-3, 0-0 AAC) suffered a 41-3 setback at Louisville last Saturday, averting the shutout with a Spencer Shrader 37-yard field goal. Jeff Scott is in his third season as head coach at South Florida.

East Carolina Records, Streaks and Trends

  • Has allowed only six fourth-quarter offensive touchdowns in the last 10 games dating back to the 2021 season
  • Has outscored its opponents 81-34 in the second half and overtime this season (+47 in points)
  • Has forced at least one turnover in 22 of the last 24 games (and in 33 of the last 36)
  • Stands sixth nationally in time of possession, averaging 35:00 per contest in 2022
  • Snapped more offensive plays than their four home opponents (281-257/+24)

The Series
South Florida leads East Carolina 9-3 all-time in a series which dates back to 2002. The 2003 and 2004 meetings were league contests while both programs were members of Conference USA, while the last eight matchups (2014-2021) have served as the Bulls’ and Pirates’ initial eight American Athletic Conference encounters. The Pirates are 2-3 against the Bulls in Tampa and 1-5 in Greenville.

Houston Against South Florida
In 2020, Mike Houston collected his first win against South Florida, 44-24, snapping a five-game losing streak in the series. Houston piggybacked that with a 29-14 victory in 2021, marking the first time in the series ECU has won consecutive outings over South Florida. During his earlier eight-year tenure as a NCAA Division II and FCS collegiate head coach (Lenoir-Rhyne, The Citadel and James Madison), he never squared off against USF.

Scott Against East Carolina
Despite the “relative” close proximity of the Clemson and East Carolina campuses, Saturday will only mark Jeff Scott’s third matchup against the Pirates. The Tigers are just one of three current ACC members to have never appeared on an ECU schedule (Boston College, Georgia Tech). The Pirates also did not compete against Presbyterian while Scott was a member of the Blue Hose staff in 2007.

Looking For More Loot
Heading into the South Florida game, East Carolina currently sits at a +2 margin in takeaways. The Pirates have forced six fumbles, recovering three, and picked off three passes for 43 return yards.

Against The American
In addition to its 21-44 league game mark, ECU is 86-82 (.512) all-time against 10 current members of the AAC.

Comparing 10-Year, Four-Game Results
East Carolina’s 23-20 double-overtime loss at home to Navy gave the Pirates a .500 or better record for the eighth time in the last 10 years and the third 2-2 ledger in Mike Houston’s four-year tenure. A victory over South Florida would push ECU to 3-2 on the season for the third time in the last four campaigns, but a loss would be the fifth time since 2016 the squad would be sitting under .500.

Triple-Digit Magic
Keaton Mitchell (124/CIN, 103/TEM in 2020; 135/MAR, 125/CSU, 222/TLN, 146/TEM in 2021 and 160/ODU, 185/CAM in 2022) has eight career 100-yard rushing games entering the South Florida contest. Mitchell posted his fourth 100-yard ground game in 2021 against Temple while his running mate Rahjai Harris tallied his fourth (22-100) versus South Florida (10/28/21), marking the first time since 2003 that ECU featured teammates with at least four each (Marvin Townes/5, Art Brown/4). Individually, Dominique Lindsay posted five in 2009 for the most recent single-season best. Currently, Mitchell is tied for eighth in the Pirate annals, reaching the century mark on eight occasions.

Among Top Passing Units In American History
Since joining the AAC in 2014, the Pirates stand second in passing yards over a combined eight-plus year period despite utilizing nine starting quarterbacks, four offensive coordinators and three head coaches: 1. Memphis (31,020), 2. East Carolina (29,340), 3. SMU (27,154), 4. UCF (26,893), 5. Cincinnati (26,758), 6. Houston (26,659), 7.Tulsa (25,486), 8. Temple (22,981), 9. South Florida (20,877), 10. Tulane (18,945) and 11. Navy (8,305). However, the Pirates top the league in completions (2,475) and attempts (4,083). ECU has also accounted for a conference-high 19 400-yard passing games and surpassed the 300-yard mark on 50 occasions during the 94-game span. The top two receivers in NCAA FBS history by career receptions – Zay Jones (399 from 2013-16) and Justin Hardy (387 from 2011-2014) – are former ECU players.

2022 Pirate Graduates
QB Holton Ahlers, ILB Chance Bates, ILB Myles Berry, WR Maceo Donald, OL Hampton Ergle, WR Jarett Garner, TE Aaron Jarman, OL Ben Johnson, TE Ryan Jones, CB Damel Hickman, OL Bailey Malovic, TE D’Angelo McKinnie, DL Shaundre Mims, WR Andre Pegues, OL Justin Redd, DL Elijiah Robinson, ILB Xavier Smith, CB Aapri Washington, SAF Jireh Wilson, WR Isaiah Winstead each have earned their degrees heading into the 2022 season. SAF Jonathan Coleman II, SAF Shawn Dourseau, QB Alex Flinn. OL Noah Henderson, C Avery Jones, TE Joseph Samson and SAF Gerard Stringer are scheduled to receive their degrees during ECU Commencement in December of 2022.

11K-1K Club Membership
Ahlers is the lone active FBS quarterback who has passed for 11,000+ yards and rushed for over 1,000 for his (overall career) and one of two that is 10K/1K. He is also the only active FBS QB with over 12,000 total yards.

Up Next
Following Saturday’s bout with South Florida, East Carolina closes a quick two-game road swing Oct. 8 at Tulane.