Blog: ECU overcomes mistakes, runs away from Ohio in Beef O'Brady's Bowl, 37-20
Posted December 23, 2013
FINAL: ECU 37, Ohio 20: East Carolina was just 3-for-6 in the red zone, committed nine penalties and gave up over 400 yards of offense, but put up over 550 yards of their own and rallied in the fourth quarter Monday to beat Ohio in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl, 37-20.
The win snaps a four-game bowl losing streak for the Pirates and gives them 10 wins for just the second time in program history.
Also in the game, Shane Carden passed Dominique Davis for the most passing yards in a season by an ECU QB (Old record - 3,967). Carden finished with 4,139 yards on the year and now sits third all-time in the school in passing yards for a career (Pinkney and Garrard).
Justin Hardy became the all-time ECU leader in career receiving yards (Old record was 3,001 – Dwayne Harris). Hardy finished with 3,047 yards for his career.
Vintavious Cooper ran for a career-high 198 yards and two TDs in the win. He became just the third ECU running back to have two 1,000-yard rushing seasons (Carlester Crumpler 1972-73, Junior Smith 1993-94).
1:55 4th: ECU 37, Ohio 20: East Carolina running back Vintavious Cooper put the punctuation on the game with a 22-yard TD run to give the Pirates a 3-score lead with under two minutes to play.
It is Cooper's second TD of the game as he has run for a career-high 198 yards.
3:40 4th: ECU 31, Ohio 20: The ECU defense intercepted Tyler Tettleton for the second time of the fourth quarter and the third time of the game as this game appears to be all but over in favor of the Pirates.
7:29 4th: ECU 31, Ohio 20: ECU used a little razzle dazzle as a throw back pass to Cam Worthy resulted in a TD pass across the field to Shane Carden who out-toughed two defenders for the score and ECU's lead is up to 11 points.
9:45 4th: ECU 24, Ohio 20: ECU benefited from two big Ohio penalties to move into Bobcats territory then Vintavious Cooper found the endzone on a 31-yard run to give the Pirates the lead.
The run gives Cooper 157 yards on 19 carries on the day as he made a man miss in the open field and got a big block from WR Justin Hardy downfield on the score.
11:08 4th: Ohio 20, ECU 17: Ohio recovered an onside kick after their field goal and put the pressure on ECU, but a missed 45-yard field goal attempt by Josiah Yazdani kept the Pirates within 3.
The miss was Yazdani's first of the year.
13:34 4th: Ohio 20, ECU 17: Following the missed ECU field goal, Ohio worked their way down field and took the lead for the first time today on a 28-yard field goal.
:37 3rd: ECU 17, Ohio 17: Another penalty forced ECU into a 3rd and long that led to a 4th and short inside the 15 for the third time on the day. This time they elected to kick and Warren Harvey missed the 29-yard attempt wide right.
ECU has made it inside the 15 three times today just to walk away with zero points. They also have seven penalties for 55 yards.
6:47 3rd: ECU 17, Ohio 17: After the teams traded punts to start the half, Ohio went on a long, 16-play drive that ate up nearly seven minutes but stalled out in the red zone and a field goal has tied the game at 17.
HALF: ECU 17, Ohio 14: Ohio attempted a drive at the end of the half, but came up short as ECU will take a 17-14 lead into half.
At the half, ECU has 365 yards of total offense including 166 yards rushing. They have been hurt, however, by six penalties, a blown coverage and two missed fourth down attempts.
Ohio has 223 yards, 80 of which came on one play in the second quarter.
1:01 2nd: ECU 17, Ohio 14: After getting the ball back, ECU went on a 9-play, 58-yard drive that resulted in a 42-yard Warren Harvey field goal as the Pirates are back in front, 17-14.
6:43 2nd: ECU 14, Ohio 14: For the second time today, ECU was denied on a fourth and short in the red zone as Ohio has taken over with all the momentum of a tied game.
9:54 2nd: ECU 14, Ohio 14: A blown coverage by ECU led to a 1-play, 80-yard TD drive for Ohio and the game is tied at 14 early in the second quarter.
10:10 2nd: ECU 14, Ohio 7: East Carolina drove into Ohio territory yet again, but two penalties in three plays halted the drive as they were forced to punt from midfield.
ECU now has 5 accepted penalties for 35 yards in the first half.
14:39 2nd: ECU 14, Ohio 7: Ohio used a trick play to get deep into ECU territory and then spread the field wide on a 17-yard touchdown by Daz'mond Patterson as Ohio has cut ECU's lead in half.
:27 1st: ECU 14, Ohio 0: East Carolina quarterback Shane Carden eclipsed Daminique Davis for most passing yards in a season on that drive that ended in a 2-yard Breon Allen TD run.
7:03 1st: ECU 7, Ohio 0: East Carolina got the ball back quick and marched down the field but a fourth-down gamble in the red zone failed as Ohio will take over at the 15.
On the drive, Justin Hardy eclipsed the 3,000-yard mark for career receiving yards, becoming the school's all-time leader.
On the drive before, Vintavious Cooper went over 1,000 yards for the second time in his career becoming just the third ECU back to do so joining Junior Smith and Carlester Crumpler.
10:45 1st: ECU 7, Ohio 0: East Carolina wasted little time turning the Ohio turnover into points as a 34-yard run by Vintavious Cooper set up a 2-yard TD pass on a fade to the corner from Shane Carden to Cam Worthy.
12:36 1st: ECU 0, Ohio 0: East Carolina will take over on their own 45 as Michael Dobson intercepted Tyler Tettleton around midfield. It was the first pick of Dobson's career.
14:37 1st: ECU 0, Ohio 0: ECU went three and out on their opening drive gaining nine yards on three pass attempts and then moving backwards five on a penalty.
15:00 1st: ECU vs. Ohio: East Carolina will don the black jerseys and helmets as they look to snap a four-game bowl losing streak. Ohio will war white with silver trim and green helmets.
East Carolina won the toss and elected to receive in their final game as a member of C-USA.
The East Carolina Pirates will try to end their postseason woes as they take on the Ohio University Bobcats in the Beef'O'Brady's Bowl at Tropicana Field (2 p.m. ESPN/620 The Buzz).
East Carolina was defeated, 59-28, by Marshall in its regular-season finale. The loss prevented the Pirates from making a trip to the Conference USA Championship game and left them with a 9-3 overall record. Coach Ruffin McNeill led his alma mater to wins over North Carolina and NC State which marked the first time the school has notched victories over both of its instate rivals in the same campaign.
"I'm proud of the way we have been resilient all year long," McNeill said. "This team has faced a lot of adversity and they just kept bouncing back. This team has done some special things."
ECU has qualified for a bowl game in seven of the last eight years, but has lost four straight and six of its last seven bowl games. The Pirates suffered a 43-34 setback to Louisiana in the New Orleans Bowl in 2012.
The Bobcats coasted to a 45-14 win over ULM last December in the Independence Bowl to improve to 2-5 all-time in bowl games. Coach Frank Solich's squad ended a three-game losing streak with a 51-23 rout of Massachusetts on Nov. 29 at Peden Stadium. With the victory, Ohio climbed back to the .500 mark in Mid- American Conference play and to a 7-5 overall record. The Bobcats took on two of the C-USA's top programs in September and managed to dispatch both North Texas and Marshall at home.
This will be the third meeting in history between ECU and Ohio. The Pirates won both previous encounters, the most recent of which took place in 1998.
ECU, which will be joining the American Athletic Conference next season, will be a competitor in the tougher league due to its unstoppable offensive attack. The Pirates' averages of 40.4 points and 331.5 passing yards per game rank 10th nationally.
"They are a very fast paced team, just like Marshall," said Ohio senior linebacker Keith Moore. "They run around 90 or 100 plays a game. We've made it our job to hurry up to the ball and get back to the line of scrimmage for the next play."
Junior quarterback Shane Carden was named the C-USA's Most Valuable Player after amassing a league-best 3,886 yards, connecting on an FBS-best 71 percent of his throws. Carden connected with 10 different Pirates for touchdown passes this year and threw for 32 scores to go along with 10 rushing TDs.
Carden's success under center this season has come in large part due to the stellar play of junior wideout Justin Hardy, who has caught three or more passes in all 35 games of his career. The star wide receiver was a First-Team All-C-USA selection for the second year in a row after he set school records with 105 receptions and 1,218 receiving yards. Freshman Isaiah Jones also plays a big role in the passing game, tallying 556 yards and five TDs on 54 catches. Despite ECU's pass heavy attack, senior tailback Vintavious Cooper enters the bowl game just five yards shy of the 1,000-yard mark and is tied for third in the conference with 11 rushing scores.
Jones had a breakout performance at Marshall, finishing with 123 yards on nine catches. Carden had his worst outing of the season as he was picked off three times and failed to throw any touchdown passes. The Pirates' defensive unit also had a forgettable performance. The Thundering Herd racked up 539 yards of total offense with 267 yards and five TDs coming on the ground.
ECU still finished the regular season atop the C-USA leaderboard in rushing defense at 117.5 ypg. McNeill's defense has a pair of standout senior leaders in linebacker Derrell Johnson and defensive back Damon Magazu. Johnson registered a team-high 79 total stops including 13.5 tackles for loss, 7.5 sacks and a forced fumble. Magazu recorded 75 tackles and picked off four passes.
Johnson and Magazu will try to contain Ohio's senior tandem of Tyler Tettleton and Beau Blankenship. In his third year as the full-time starter under center, Tettleton passed for 2,623 yards and 20 TDs with nine interceptions. The senior quarterback was sacked only 12 times after being taken down 49 times over the previous two seasons.
Tettleton spearheaded the charge for the Bobcats in their season-ending victory over the Minutemen with 243 yards and two scores on 18-of-27 efficiency. Blankenship, who rushed for 1,604 yards and 15 TDs as a junior, picked up 124 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries. Although he was one of the MAC's elite tailbacks in 2012, Blankenship has 844 rushing yards on the season entering his final collegiate game. Senior wide receiver Donte Foster is pacing the team with 63 catches, 858 yards and six TDs. Chase Cochran and Matt Waters are tied for second on the squad with 32 receptions each.
Ohio was in the middle of the pack in its conference offensively with averages of 28 points and 374.8 total yards per outing. The Bobcats' special teams unit was one of the most dynamic in the league though, as kick returner Devin Bass and punt returner Travis Carrie were both All-MAC First Team selections.
Defensively, Solich's unit has been sporadic. Prior to taking down UMass, the Bobcats were outscored, 123-16, during a three-game losing streak. None of their wins in MAC play came over opponents with winning records. They allowed an average of 26.7 points per game and 4.4 yards per carry on the season. Ohio's foes achieved 19.8 first downs per game, which is the third lowest average among MAC schools. Sophomore linebacker Ben Russell was an anchor for the unit with 82 total tackles and freshman defensive end Tarell Basham registered eight total sacks.
The Bobcats underachieved in conference play for the second straight season after making a trip to the 2011 MAC Championship. Ohio really struggles if it fails to establish the run, which could be difficult to accomplish against the Pirates' usually sturdy rush defense. Although ECU just lost to a Marshall team that Ohio defeated earlier in the year, the Pirates have been much more impressive overall. ECU will end its bowl game woes as long as it protects the ball.