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September 28, 2013

ECU Pounds UNC 55-31

CHAPEL HILL, N.C - Shane Carden passed for three touchdowns and ran for three more as East Carolina exorcised a 38 year drought by beating North Carolina 55-31 in Kenan Stadium on Saturday.

Carden passed for 376 yards on 32 of 47 passing against only one interception. He found Justin Hardy three and half minutes into the contest on a 6 yard touchdown then Lance Ray got open for another with 3:06 left in the first quarter.

"This was for Pirate Nation," said Carden after the game, "We know what it means to Greenville and this school and it's awesome."

UNC got on the scoreboard on a Thomas Moore 21 yard field goal to cut the lead to 14-3 a minute into the second quarter.

Carden's one yard keeper gave the Pirates a 21-3 cushion at the 10:05 mark in the second quarter.

Carolina struck back on an end around pass from Quinshad Davis to T.J.Thorpe good for 32 yards and a touchdown to make the score 21-10, East Carolina before Carden finished off a drive for his second rushing touchdown of the first half as the Pirates took a commanding 28-10 lead into intermission.

Carden passed for 202 yards in the first half alone, going 19 of 28 through the air while Vintavious Cooper ran for 92 yards in the first two quarters on the way to 186 yards for the day and another 70 catching the football out of the backfield.

ECU running back Chris Hairston got into the act early in the third on a 3-yard touchdown and Warren Harvey's PAT made the score 35-10.

UNC scored twice in nine plays as Bryn Renner found Nic Platt on a 23 yard strike to cap a 5 play 50 yard drive to cut the ECU lead to 42-24. Then on a 4 play 81 yard drive, Renner lobbed a bomb to Davis for another score. Thomas Moore's PAT sliced ECU's lead to 14 with just under 14 minutes to go in the contest.

Cooper led the Pirates in receptions with eight while steady Justin Hardy extended his nation's leading streak of at least four catches to 19 straight games. Lance Ray put in maybe his best game as a receiver at ECU with five catches for 84 yards and two touchdowns.

"I'm glad we won, in-state games are big and I wanted to win for the kids," said fourth year head coach Ruffin McNeill, "Larry's got a high octain offense and Bryn is one of the top quarterbacks around. I'm proud of our defense for making some early stops. They've got talented athletes and we knew we'd have our hands full. I thought (Offensive Coordinator) Lincoln (Riley) did a great job of blending the offense. We talked about how good teams don't beat themselves. Shane, Tay Cooper and the offense played a great game. I'll probably give the game ball to my dad."

Bryn Renner went 28 for 46 for 366 yards and three touchdowns in the loss for UNC but was sacked three times while Carden avoided being sacked all day. A.J. Blue ran for 75 yards to lead North Carolina and also had six catches for 56 yards. Quinshad Davis caught five passes for 111 yards and a touchdown.

But Warren Harvey proved big for East Carolina in nailing a pair of field goals from 32 and 29 yards out to push the Pirates to a 48-31 cushion inside the nine minute mark.

Then on fourth and one after a timeout, ECU went for it and Carden threw a 48-yard connection to Lance Ray with 3:33 left to seal the deal at 55-31 for ECU's first win in Chapel Hill in 38 years.

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