GREENVILLE, N.C. – East Carolina’s offensive and defensive units each turned in separate dominant performances at times during the Pirates’ third and final preseason intrasquad scrimmage Friday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
ECU’s offense, which shined during the latter half of the action, accounted for two touchdowns and a pair of field goals while tallying 427 total yards on 73 snaps – an average of 5.8 per play.
Defensively, the Pirates penetrated the backfield early and often, racking up 13 tackles for lost yardage (-49) and six sacks. Additionally, freshman linebacker Eric Doctor picked off a Mason Garcia pass and returned it 40 yards for a score. ECU also forced six punts and two missed three-pointers, one on a block by Myles Berry.
“This one was a little bit different from our last couple of scrimmages in that we did not have a script for what happened on the field, we just put the ball down, kicked off and played a game simulation so the officials really controlled everything,” head coach Mike Houston said. “Whatever situations came up, we played them out. It was a continuous scrimmage, but one that was more like a true game simulation.
“It was good to get back out there and have a full contact practice. I thought it was pretty much an evenly matched scrimmage. There were some big plays on both sides and some busts for both sides.”
In limited action, starting quarterback Holton Ahlers completed seven-of-nine tosses for 102 yards in just three possessions before turning things over the Alex Flinn and Garcia, who combined on a 15-of-22, 190-yard passing effort over the remaining 10 drives.
Flinn engineered a scoring drive that was capped by a 12-yard run by Keaton Mitchell, while Garcia connected with Jonathan Johnson on a 31-yard TD strike. Patrick Nations and Owen Daffer each drilled field goals from 37 and 35 yards out, respectively, to close out the scoring. Preseason All-American Athletic Conference selection and Lou Groza Award candidate Jake Verity did not experience action during Friday’s tilt.
With the exception of Chase Hayden’s game-best 49-yarder, East Carolina’s defense held the Pirates’ rushing attack to 3.2 yards per carry after allowing 135 yards on 42 attempts. Damir FaisonDre’Shuwn Terry and Chris Willis tallied two TFLs each to spearhead the defensive pressure.
Other notable big plays included a 41-yard pass from Flinn to Terrance Copper Jr., a 38-yarder from Ahlers to C.J. Johnson and a 29-yard reception by Audie Omotosho (from Flinn).