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ECU-USF: Three questions

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East Carolina's Reid Herring enters the game for Holton Ahlers during the win against North Carolina on Sept. 8, 2018. (Molly Mathis/The Daily Reflector)

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Saturday, September 22, 2018

This ran in The Daily Reflector’s Pirate Gameday section Saturday morning to help preview East Carolina’s American Athletic Conference football opener at South Florida, which is 3-0 and sits just outside the Associated Press Top 25 rankings. 

The game starts at 8 p.m. on ESPNews.

THREE QUESTIONS

1. Will the East Carolina layoff play a role? One thought is that the Pirates had extra time to prepare for USF with their unexpected off week because of Hurricane Florence. But it also hasn’t been easy for ECU logistically with the team out of its comfort zone and in Florida for a week and a half. The Pirates’ situation might not even play into the flow of this game, but it will be something to watch, especially during the first half.

2. Is special teams a factor? USF is very dangerous in the return game, led by Terrence Horne, but is unsettled on field goals and punting. ECU has one of the best kickoff specialists in the country in Caleb Pratt and still a relatively new punter in Jonn Young. The Pirates have stressed special teams at practice this week, a sign that they are aware of its potential importance.

3. Will Holton Ahlers play? The talented true freshman sat out against North Carolina A&T, a loss, and then played a big part in the 41-19 rout of UNC. Ahlers can only play in four games this season and preserve his redshirt status to still be a freshman next year. Using him in this contest could be telling for the rest of the season.

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

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