What is the Rock Cooking?
by Brian North

East Carolina's football team has had its share of problems with Southern Miss through the years. The Pirates trail the Golden Eagles in the all time series 24-7, and have won only one of the last 10 meetings. In fact, in the 31 games between the two teams, USM has outscored ECU by an average of 10 points per game.

East Carolina has actually fared better in Hattiesburg, Mississippi winning five of their 15 games at the Rock. It's not a bright silver lining, but Skip Holtz is looking for anything positive as his team gets ready for this big Conference USA showdown. USM leads the East division with a 2-1 record, ECU is 2-2 and can still win their division and get into the league Championship game, but they have to beat a team they haven't had much success against.

Skip Holtz doesn't talk much about his famous father, but he did learn how to spin an opponents strengths to always seem like his team has an uphill battle to climb. He hasn't had to do much embellishing this week, but here are some of the points he brought up during his media press conference: "we are 0-2 on the road this season; we have lost to Southern Miss 84-17 combined over the last two years, 33-7 at home last year and 51-10 in Hattiesburg two years ago; they've been the best team on the Eastern side of our conference for the last couple of years; they have dominated us physically, up front on both sides of the ball, they out-athleted us, out toughed us, they know how to win; defense is the secret to their success."

Southern Miss' success can be directly traced to their head coach Jeff Bower. He has led the Golden Eagles since 1991 and he is 11-4 all time versus the Pirates. He seems to know how to game plan ECU no matter who the head coach is.

It seems like every college football team has a nemesis they always struggle against. For ECU its USM. But records, streaks, and trends are all made to broken. Maybe this is the year the Pirates smell victory at the Rock.
Brian North