ARTICLE OF THE DAY

Hungry for Turnovers
by Brian North
9/27/05


You have heard the old phrase before, "that team had more turnovers than a french bakery." Well, it looks like East Carolina's defense is getting a taste for the fruity pastry version on the football field.

The Pirate defense has forced nine turnovers in three games. That includes seven interceptions (Zach Baker leads the way with three picks), and two fumble recoveries. If ECU continues that rate over the next eight games, that would project to 33 turnovers, 10 more than the Bucs forced last year (12 picks and 11 fumble recoveries in 2004). Add in the Pirate's offensive death grip on the pigskin (three fumbles lost, one interception), and that projects to a turnover margin of +18 for the year. That's a far cry from last year's -4 which ranked 8th in Conference USA.

Usually turnover margin has a direct correlation to winning. But so far ECU's +5 has only led to one win. So what's the problem? Two things; turning those turnovers into points, and special teams. ECU has had one breakdown in the kicking game once in each contest. All three miscues have led to opponents' touchdowns: a Duke kickoff return, a Wake Forest blocked punt, and a WVU punt return.

If ECU continues to be ball hawks on defense, and continues to hold onto the ball on offense, then look for the Pirates to start putting more wins on the board. And for Pirate players and fans, that would taste better than any french pastry.

Brian North
bnorth@wcti12.com