Simply put, ECU outplayed UNC
Posted September 28, 2013
The weather may have been the only thing that was good in Chapel Hill for the light blue Saturday. The East Carolina Pirates have waited a long time for a game like they had in Kenan Stadium Saturday, and they couldn't have put together a much better one.
East Carolina hadn’t won in Chapel Hill since 1975 - and that was the only time they had done so before Saturday. There have been some close match-ups over the years - including a tie in 1979 - but none have ever featured the dominance, especially early, they showed Saturday.
The Pirates jumped out to a quick lead, scoring on their opening drive after a Shane Carden six-yard pass. Carden had two more passing touchdowns and three rushing on the day for a 398-yard, 6-touchdown performance.
It wasn’t just the fact that the Pirates offense was chugging along like a well-oiled machine, on the ground and in the air, but that the North Carolina defense was handing them extra yards on almost every other drive.
The Tar Heels had nine penalties for 94 yards - multiple times they were hit with pass interference calls. Add that to a number of missed tackles and it wasn’t the most brilliant defensive performance from the Heels.
To their credit, North Carolina’s offense did not stop pushing. Not after an early Bryn Renner interception set up a Pirate touchdown, not after continually accruing more penalty yards than rushing and not after coming out of the break with a quick three-and-out.
Renner made some big plays in the second half, connecting with Quinshad Davis on a 56-yard pass for a touchdown and ending the day with over 300 passing yards. But the early lead the Pirates grabbed was too much for the offense to overcome.
Defensively the penalties stopped for North Carolina, as did the touchdowns for ECU. In the fourth quarter the North Carolina D held ECU to two field goals on two drives. It was the first field goals the Pirates had to settle for all game. And though the Pirates were still 8-for-8 in the redzone on the day, and scored another touchdown late, it’s the small victories you look for in games like Saturday if you are the Tar Heels.
The game in Chapel Hill was ECU’s first road game on the year, making for quite a happy bus ride home.
North Carolina looks ahead to a road match-up with Virginia Tech and a home game against Miami with a lot to work on.
A 1-5 start for the team in blue, dismissed as a thought heading into the season, now looks to be quite possible.