always seems to be one game on the schedule that has the ability to
define a season. This year's defining game could take place Saturday at
Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium as East Carolina plays host to Rice.
Why is this possibly THE defining game of the season?
Win this game, as you should, and all of sudden you're 2-3, 1-1 in the
conference and right back into the mix of things heading into a
relatively easy part of the schedule. And not to mention, the players
start to believe in themselves! That's crucial.
Lose, and not only do you fall to a dismal 1-4 having once again helped
an opposing team snap one of the nation's longest current losing
streaks, you lose the casual fan for the rest of the season and the
Pirate Nation begins to start questioning everything surrounding the
program. Even, as ridiculous as it sounds, the hiring of head coach
But before you start to jump off the Pirate Ship, take a look at what's
ahead for ECU this weekend. The Pirates will face what I like to call
"Army West." The Rice Owls run a very similar offense to what the Army
Black Knights used to run. A run-oriented triple option wishbone
attack. ECU is a perfect 8-0 lifetime against the Black Knights and for
good reason. The triple option wishbone is only effective when you play
ahead on the scoreboard. If a team like Rice trails by more than two
touchdowns at any point in the football game it's lights out. Their
offense is very slow and methodical and is intended to wear down an
opposing defense. When they are forced to throw the football they are
far less effective.
Take a look at the Rice Owls in the national statistics (out of 117
Division One teams)
- 107th in total offense.
- 116th in passing offense at 86.7 yards per game.
- 30th in rushing offense at 189.67 yards per game.
- 96th in scoring at 19 points per game.
- 117th (dead last) in total defense giving up 522.33 yards per game.
- 116th in rushing defense.
- 99th in pass defense.
It's not too hard to see what the Pirates need to do to get a win
versus Rice. Contain the run! Play assignment football, score a couple
of touchdowns and ECU comes away with a victory. It's really that
The Pirates are an early five point favorite to win on Saturday and I
think they'll win by at least 14. ECU ran the ball up and down the
field against Southern Miss last weekend and at times played very good
defense. Five turnovers will beat you every time. So let's add "holding
on to the football" as another key to this Saturday's game against Rice.
Don't give up on the Pirates yet. There's still a lot of football left
on the schedule and a lot of very winnable games. Starting Saturday
against the lowly Owls of Rice.