banner
ECU

ECU picked to win C-USA East Division

Posted July 17, 2013

East Carolina Pirates wide receiver Justin Hardy (2). East Carolina defeats Memphis 41-7 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville North Carolina. (Photos By Anthony Barham)

— Coming off its sixth bowl appearance in the last seven years, East Carolina has been tabbed the Conference USA East Division favorites by the league’s 14 head coaches on Wednesday.

The Pirates picked up 11 of 14 first place votes for a total of 95 points to finish ahead of Marshall (82) and Middle Tennessee (70), both of which also garnered first place votes. Defending C-USA champion Tulsa was chosen unanimously as the preseason favorite to win the West Division accumulating 98 total points. Rice (76) and new conference member Louisiana Tech (72) came in second and third, respectively.

The league’s ninth annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West divisions, will be held Saturday, December 7.

ECU, who turned in an 8-5 overall record and a 7-1 C-USA mark (co-divisional champs), return 16 of 22 positional starters with eight on each side of the ball. The Pirates also return 76 percent of their rushing yards, 88 percent of their passing yards and 81.8 percent of their turnover production.

Of the 16 returnees, Vintavious Cooper (RB), Justin Hardy (WR), Derrell Johnson (LB) and Will Simmons (OL) all garnered preseason first-team accolades. The quartet of honorees also earned preseason all-league accolades by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview Magazine, while being named to the Biletnikoff Award (top receiver), Butkus Award (top linebacker) and Outland Trophy (top interior lineman) Watch Lists.

Hardy (All-Purpose Player-of-the-Year nominee) and Johnson (top 40 linebackers at the FBS level nominee) also garnered College Football Performance Awards (CFPA) Watch List honors.

Cooper, the 2012 C-USA Newcomer-of-the-Year, took home second-team all-conference honors last fall after a dazzling debut season in ECU's backfield. He appeared in all 13 games, starting the last eight ,and authored four 100-yard rushing games (151/UTEP, 172/UAB, 121/Navy, 140/UH), which is ranked as the second-highest total in C-USA. The Homerville, Ga. native booked three-straight triple-digit rushing efforts (vs. Blazers, Midshipmen and Cougars), the first by a Pirate since 2003 (Marvin Townes), and became the 12th player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season (1,049). The senior running back scored eight total TDs (7 rush, 1 pass), standing second on the team with Shane Carden behind Justin Hardy (11).

A key component in the Pirates' potent passing attack in 2012, Hardy was a first-team all-conference selection after ranking among the national FBS leaders in receptions per game (21st/6.77 rpg), total receiving yards (23rd/1,105) and reception yards per game (31st/85.0 ypg). The Vanceboro, N.C. native became just the fourth receiver in school history to reach 1,000 reception yards (1,105) in a single season, which ranks third all-time at ECU. He also ranked among the C-USA leaders in receptions per game (2nd), 100-yard receiving games (2nd), receiving yards per game (3rd), all-purpose yards (7th), all-purpose yards (7th/1,280) and scoring TDs (8th).

Last year Johnson led all ECU defenders in sacks, tackles for lost yardage, fumble recoveries and quarterback pressures on his way to second-team all-league accolades. He stood among the league's top 10 with 7.0 sacks and netted 11.0 overall stops behind the line of scrimmage while starting all 13 contests. In addition, the Baltimore prep product was credited with a pair of fumble recoveries, keyed a pass rush with eight pressures and logged 62 total tackles - 27 solo.

Simmons earned all-conference honors a year ago after starting all 13 games at right guard and was a vital member of an offensive line that helped produce five 100-yard rushing performances and four 300-yard passing contests. Additionally he was part of three games where ECU produced 550 or more yards of total offense (600/UAB, 550/UH, 555/MAR). The Ahoskie, N.C. native also helped pave the way for a season-high 245 yards rushing against the Cougars in 2012, while playing a pivotal role for an offensive unit that provided pass protection for Carden's single-game passing record of 439 yards against Marshall and Cooper's 1,049-yard rushing season.

4 Comments

Please to add a comment.

Oldest First
View all
  • maadkowz Jul 17, 2013

    Based on the weakness of the conference they're in, anything less than an appearance in the conference championship game should be considered a disappointment this year.

  • VT1994Hokie Jul 17, 2013

    All of those starters coming back is really strong. ECU always scares me when VT plays them. We're playing at ECU this year too.

  • vance203 Jul 17, 2013

    Look at what's left in the conference. I'd pick them to win too! Now watch them finish below .500 for the season.

  • wjuliang Jul 17, 2013

    Sweet.

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Tonight at 7:00 on METV 50.2

  • PGA Golf: Quicken Loans National

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Tomorrow at 6:30 pm on METV 50.2

  • PGA Golf: Quicken Loans National

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Sunday at 5:00 pm on METV 50.2

  • PGA Tour Special: PGA Tour 2015: Playing with a Purpose

    Saturday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA Golf: WGC – Bridgestone Invitational

    Saturday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA Golf: WGC – Bridgestone Invitational

    Sunday at 2:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Tonight at 6:50 on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MiLB: Durham Bulls vs. Gwinnett Braves

    Tomorrow at 6:20 pm on Buzz Sports Radio

  • MLB: Washington Nationals at NY Mets

    Tomorrow at 7:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Washington Nationals at NY Mets

    Sunday at 8:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Paul Lawrie (EURO)
Leader in BOLD/CAPS
MatchHScore
QUESNE v Lewis181 up
Hend v SINGH181 up
Kieffer v HOEY172 and 1
BROBERG v Finch172 and 1
RAMSAY v Kapur181 up
Carlsson v MOLINARI145 and 4
FITZPATRICK v Dredge146 and 4
UIHLEIN v Wilson182 up
WOOD v Kruger145 and 4
CAMPILLO v Daly182 up
Jacquelin v BENSON172 and 1
HAVRET v Horsey145 and 4
LEVY v Foster182 up
MADSEN v Quiros163 and 2
HATTON v Fichardt154 and 3
Rock v LUNDBERG173 and 1
Wall v DOAK181 up
Wattel v LAWRIE145 and 4
AIKEN v Jamieson163 and 2
DODT v Fisher191 up
CANIZARES v Bjerregaard127 and 6
Fraser v KARLSSON163 and 2
Bourdy v COLSAERTS172 and 1
FISHER, JR. v Olesen182 up
HOWELL v Brooks191 up
Pieters v DRYSDALE191 up
APHIBARNRAT v Ormsby191 up
Johnston v STORM181 up
MORRISON v Edberg172 and 1
CARLSSON v Crespi172 and 1
WARREN v Bland181 up
Aguilar v ZANOTTI181 up
View Full Leaderboard
Madeira Islands (EURO)
PosNameScoreThru
1A. Hortal-9
2N. Elvira-8
3tR. Fox-7
3tS. Gros-7
5tA. Hartoe-6
5tS. Henry-6
5tR. Kakko-6
5tS. Manley-6
5tP. Oriol-6
5tC. Paisley-6
View Full Leaderboard
 
ATP Scoreboard
Thursday, Jul. 30
BB&T Atlanta Open (ATP)
Second Round
(3) J. Sock66 3    
D. Kudla78 6    
(8) B. Becker5 3    
D. Sela7 6    
(6) S. Johnson4 2    
R. Berankis6 6    
(1) J. Isner77 79    
R. Stepanek63 67    
 
bet-at-home Open (ATP)
Second Round
(5) P. Cuevas6 4 6   
J. Janowicz3 6 2   
(4) A. Seppi4 6 6   
F. Mayer6 2 3   
(1) R. Nadal6 77    
J. Vesely4 62    
S. Bolelli6 65 6   
J. Munar1 77 4   
 
Suisse Open Gstaad (ATP)
Second Round
(7) P. Carreno Bu77 6    
R. Haase63 4    
(3) D. Thiem6 6    
F. Delbonis3 4    
(6) J. Sousa66 6 77   
D. Istomin78 3 64   
(1) D. Goffin6 6    
H. Zeballos1 1    
 
WTA Scoreboard
Thursday, Jul. 30
Brasil Tennis Cup (WTA)
Quarterfinals
(3) A. Beck6 6    
G. Ce3 3    
M. Torro-Flor64 4    
A. Sevastova77 6    
(4) T. Pereira6 7    
(7) L. Siegemund3 5    
(5) B. Mattek-San77 4 6   
T. Martincova62 6 1   
 
Baku Cup (WTA)
Second Round
O. Savchuk5 4    
P. Tig7 6    
E. Rodina6 6    
O. Korashvili1 1    
(7) V. Diatchenko4 65    
K. Flipkens6 77    
(2) K. Knapp6 6    
A. Kontaveit1 0