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Turnovers a factor for Pirates

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East Carolina safety Da'Andre Beverly makes a catch during a drill before Saturday's scrimmage.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Of all the statistics that doomed East Carolina’s football team in 2017, and on defense in particular, a glaring disparity was that ECU scored 31 points off turnovers and opponents finished with 121.

Third-year head coach Scottie Montgomery has stressed for ECU defenders to be more aggressive in going after interceptions this season, and the Pirates grabbed two on Saturday during a preseason scrimmage in addition to pouncing on a fumble.

Defensive coordinator David Blackwell, who is in his first season leading the Pirates’ defense, is hoping for an attacking mindset, and the unit was set up that way Saturday.

“We are a hard defense to run against, just because of how we play and the way we align,” Blackwell said. “If we can generate pressure on the quarterback and make plays on balls in the air then we have the chance to be pretty salty.”

The Pirates had 50 rushes for 106 yards in the scrimmage, which will be followed by another scrimmage this Saturday. The team was off Monday and will return to the practice field today.

ECU ranked last in the country a year ago in total defense, scoring defense and pass efficiency defense.

Blackwell said there were a few passes Saturday during first-team action that were frustrating to watch on an otherwise productive day by his group. Sophomore quarterback Reid Herring finished 16-of-26 for 265 passing yards and three touchdowns.

“We let them get off the hook a couple times with our first-team defense, and Reid made some nice throws on third-and-long,” Blackwell said. “On third-and-10 and third-and-11, we have to be able to get off the field. We had a chance to really have a great day defensively, but I thought it just ended up being a good day.

“I was pleased with us, but I really thought that if we finished the second half the way we did the first half then it would have been an outstanding performance.”

Linebacker Aaron Ramseur had a pass breakup and fumble force to go with a team-high eight tackles. He is set to be a starter and team leader along with fellow sophomore starting linebacker Bruce Bivens.

Another key player, hybrid defensive end Kendall Futrell, recorded a sack. Backup end Nate Harvey totaled four sacks.

Freshman Nolan Johnson, who is battling with Davondre Robinson to start at free safety in an important position to watch this preseason, excelled with six tackles.

“I feel like everybody has something to work on, but we are ready and are ready to play another team,” Ramseur said. “We are prepared and we know the plays we are running. Coach has been calling a lot of good plays that we feel comfortable with and we can attack.”

Contact Ronnie Woodward at rwoodward@reflector.com, 252-329-9592 and follow @RonnieW11 on Twitter.

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ECU

November 21, 2018

It is a question to which only people deeply rooted in the East Carolina football program can provide the best answers: Who is Tyler Snead?

“Obviously he is not the biggest kid, but he is going to work hard,” ECU starting quarterback Holton Ahlers said.

Snead is a Pirate freshman…

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November 21, 2018

East Carolina’s basketball team is seeking another win tonight, but with limited turnovers.

ECU (3-2) began a busy week Monday night with a 69-64 victory over Texas-Rio Grande Valley despite ECU giving away 26 turnovers. It came a few days after the Pirates had 21 turnovers in a loss at…

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November 19, 2018

Regional opponents for East Carolina basketball gave way to a visit Monday night from a school located at the southern tip of Texas just above the U.S.-Mexico border.

ECU withstood the unfamiliar test, taking control of the game against Texas-Rio Grande Valley during the first 12 minutes in Minges…

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November 19, 2018

The Cincinnati Bearcats do not have much time to sulk after losing their marquee game of the college football season, and head coach Luke Fickell was mindful of that on Monday morning, just four days in advance of his team’s home kickoff against East Carolina on Black Friday.

The Bearcats (9-…

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November 19, 2018

East Carolina football was back to practice Monday morning, one day earlier than usual because the Pirates play on Friday this week instead of Saturday.

ECU (3-7, 1-6 American Athletic Conference) also is back to playing the role of underdog. Cincinnati (9-2, 5-2) is listed as an 18-point favorite…

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November 19, 2018

A couple entertaining runs by star-in-the-making freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers quickly guided East Carolina to 100 and then 150 rushing yards Saturday night versus Connecticut in ECU’s final home football game of the season.

Then 150 became 200 and 200 to 300 and 300 to 400.

By the end…

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November 18, 2018

There was little that was easy or routine about the East Carolina women’s basketball team’s win over energetic Kennesaw State on Sunday night in Minges Coliseum for a 4-0 start to the season, even though the final score appeared lopsided as a 68-56 victory for the Pirates.

The second…

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November 18, 2018

A rather uneventful weekend of college football played out in North Carolina, but stay tuned because key Atlantic Coast Conference matchups await with North Carolina hosting N.C. State and Wake Forest traveling to Duke.

The Blue Devils will enter as the best team in the state. Here are The…

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November 18, 2018

These three questions appeared in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section previewing the Connecticut at East Carolina football game for ECU’s senior day. The favored Pirates cruised to a 55-21 win.

Here and the answers and more insight:

1. Which East Carolina running back gets the…

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November 18, 2018

East Carolina’s women’s basketball team is off to a 3-0 start under interim head coach Chad Killinger, but Killinger is not ready to take all of the credit.

It has been a group effort, Killinger said, with three players already averaging in double-figure scoring and assistant coaches…

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