East Carolina piled up more than 560 yards of offense on the way to a 37-20 victory over Ohio in the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl on Monday afternoon. The Pirates started and finished strong in this one, though the game was in doubt well into the fourth quarter.
Shane Carden hit Cam Worthy for a five-yard score to get things started, Breon Allen added a rushing score late in the first quarter, and East Carolina had a 14-0 lead after the first 15 minutes. Ohio rallied with a couple of touchdowns in the second quarter to even things up, including an 80-yard strike from Derrius Vick to Donte Foster.
ECU ended that Ohio scoring run with a field goal, giving the Pirates a 17-14 edge headed into halftime.
The game bogged down a bit in the third quarter, with both offenses struggling to piece together scoring drives. Ohio grabbed its first lead of the day, 20-17, with a field goal early in the fourth, and then successfully converted an onside kick. The momentum had clearly shifted in Ohio's direction, but that possession ended in a missed field goal, and from there, things fell apart for the Bobcats.
The Pirates subsequently put together a 71-yard drive capped by a 31-yard touchdown run by Vintavious Cooper, then grabbed a two-score lead midway through the final quarter with this bit of trickery:
This time it was Worthy hitting Carden, and it was all the cushion that ECU would need.
Box Score Hero:
Cooper had a huge day on the ground, setting a new career-high with 198 rushing yards. He averaged 7.9 yards per carry and scored twice.
Coming in, neither team had received votes in the latest editions of the AP and Coaches polls. It's unlikely that winning this game will be enough to get ECU into the top 25.
But Did They Cover?
East Carolina was a 14 or 14.5-point favorite, depending on the sportsbook, but either way, the Pirates covered.
For More On This Game:
Head over to our MAC blog, Hustle Belt.