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AAC: Dykes breaks down game-ending play

E Carolina SMU Football

SMU wide receiver James Proche signals for after a first down after a catch during the second half against East Carolina in Dallas on Saturday.

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By RONNIE WOODWARD
The Daily Reflector

Monday, November 11, 2019

SMU quarterback Shane Buechele had options on the final offensive play Saturday to finish off a 59-51 win against East Carolina.

It was fourth-and-3 with 55 seconds remaining at the Pirate 39-yard line. ECU had already taken its final timeout, and SMU then called a timeout after shifting to a pooch punt formation, which Buechele had already done seven times this year.

The QB had complete freedom after the timeout, and SMU coach Sonny Dykes wanted his team to go for the first down to end the game, but Buechele also had room and a backup option to kick if he desired. He saw 1-on-1 coverage on star receiver James Proche and completed a 4-yard slant.

"(Buechele's punting ability) allows us to check into plays if we get a certain look or matchup we like," Dykes said Monday during the American Athletic Conference coaches teleconference. "We were a little late getting the call in, so we decided to take a timeout and had a couple different things called depending on the look and what we got. We had an opportunity to throw James a slant and executed it well. It was well covered, but Shane made a good throw and James made a good play.

"At that stage of the game against East Carolina, we hadn't gotten a lot of stops and they had a lot of momentum. Our guys were a little worn down, so we felt like it was worth taking the risk."

ECU scored four touchdowns and kicked one field goal on its five offensive possessions after halftime.

To guard against the punt, ECU had receiver/return man Tyler Snead in a free safety position, where he also was able to go back and field a potential Buechele punt deep inside in Pirate territory.

"We were playing man-free coverage with (Snead) as the post safety, so if they dropped the quarterback back then we were going to drop him back," Houston said after the game. "We were prepared for him to pooch kick it and try to field it and get some field position."

Snead no snub

The American gave its offensive player of the week award to an ECU player for the first time this season when Snead earned the honor.

The redshirt freshman from Raleigh had 240 receiving yards at SMU. His 19 receptions were the most by any player in the country this season.

"He has some natural confidence in himself, and he may not be the biggest guy in the world, but he makes himself play much bigger than his stature," Houston said Monday. "I love the way he competes. He had a great Saturday, but he would rather have a win than any kind of award. ... He's a team guy."

Pirate quarterback Holton Ahlers, who last week was not named to the AAC honor roll despite a school-record 535 passing yards, made the honor roll Monday thanks to a school-record six touchdown passes in addition to 498 yards versus the Mustangs. He completed 32-of-42 passes.

Snead's 19 catches were the most by a Pirate since Zay Jones' 22 at South Carolina in 2016.

Tulsa's upset

East Carolina and Tulsa have been similar this season in showing promise at times while trying to achieve a breakthrough victory in the AAC.

Tulsa captured that moment last Friday night, beating UCF 34-31 for the biggest upset in a league game this season.

"Central Florida is a great team, and I think we have a really special group here," Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. "Our record doesn't show it, but it's a group that has continued to get better every week."

In addition to a triple-overtime loss for the Golden Hurricane (3-7, 1-5 American) at ranked SMU, three other Tulsa games have been decided by three points or less.

For all the success UCF has enjoyed in recent years, Tulsa has been a problem for the Knights. This year’s victory gave the Hurricane an 8-3 all-time lead in the series, highlighted by a 5-0 home record.

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ECU

November 12, 2019

East Carolina basketball's road-heavy start to the season continues tonight against Appalachian State.

It is the first in-state opponent for ECU, which beat Virginia Military Institute a week ago and then lost Friday night at Navy, 62-57. App. State also is 1-1.

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Ninety-four points, zero wins.

East Carolina’s football team was dealt that harsh reality in its first two games of November, scoring 43 in a three-point loss to Cincinnati at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and then on Saturday producing even more points — 51 — but also allowing more in a…

E Carolina SMU Football

November 11, 2019

SMU quarterback Shane Buechele had options on the final offensive play Saturday to finish off a 59-51 win against East Carolina.

It was fourth-and-3 with 55 seconds remaining at the Pirate 39-yard line. ECU had already taken its final timeout, and SMU then called a timeout after shifting to a pooch…

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November 11, 2019

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DALLAS

Tucked in a super clean and sometimes sleepy nook in Dallas is the campus at SMU, a private school that has stirred to life this fall behind a nationally ranked football team that provides excitement for its tidy, polite fan base with a fun-to-watch, prolific offense and an outside-the-box…

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November 09, 2019

DALLAS — East Carolina competed for four quarters against a ranked team for the second straight week, yet a similar feeling and still winless this season in the American Athletic Conference after a 59-51 defeat to No. 23 SMU.

Here are three answers from the game:

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November 09, 2019

DALLAS — Tyler Snead, all 5-foot-7 and 167 pounds of him, chased and nearly grabbed NCAA history Saturday afternoon at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in East Carolina football's 59-51 loss at SMU.

Snead’s 19 receptions were four shy of tying the single-game national record and three away from…

E Carolina SMU Football

November 09, 2019

DALLAS — SMU continued its banner football season, giving some of its longtime fans more memories of the 1980s with an offense that produced droves of points and yards again at Gerald J. Ford Stadium.

East Carolina was great on offense Saturday as well, gaining more yards than its nationally-…

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November 09, 2019

Seth LeDay's jumper with 14 seconds to play in the second half on Friday night pulled the East Carolina basketball team within a point of Navy, but when the Pirates fouled in the final minute, the Midshipmen made their free throws to preserve a 62-57 win in the Veteran's Classic in Annapolis.

The…

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November 09, 2019

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