Road Weary No More
by Josh Spence

Winning college football games on the road is a tough thing to do.  East Carolina found out just how tough it is in a 27-24 loss to Memphis on Saturday.  However, road struggles are nothing new to these Pirates.  East Carolina got only one victory on the road in the two years under John Thompson.  A six point win at Army in 2003, against a team that went winless on the year.  Including the Army win, and the 2 road games prior to the SMU match-up this year, East Carolina had lost 18 of their last 20 road games. 

However, this year has been different.  In three road losses this year East Carolina has lost by an average of 6 points.  Pretty good considering the average margin of loss on the road under John Thompson was 27 points.  Of course, the Pirates also recorded their first road win in nearly two calendar years when they beat SMU 24-17.

For whatever reason, playing on the road doesn’t bother this team.  When asked about his teams’ response to playing on the road, Skip Holtz said it hasn’t really been a factor.  “I haven’t seen that deer in the headlights look when we go on the road”.  The blue collar approach that Holtz and his staff have instilled in the Pirates has carried over on the road, and the Pirates are becoming a complete football team. 

Obviously the ability to win on the road is a necessity for a good football team.  Under Skip Holtz the Pirates have improved in many aspects of the game, but none more than playing on the road.  With four games remaining in the 2005 season, it’s make or break time for the Pirates.  At 3-4, 2-2, the Pirates can finish strong or fall to the bottom of the conference where everyone expected them to be.  With the recent play of the team on the road, all signs point to a strong finish and if their lucky, the first bowl game in 3 years.

Josh Spence