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November 13, 2013

Riding The Momentum

Pirate head coach Ruffin McNeill delivers his final communication to the press until the post game. Ruff talks on this week's UAB prep, what senior day means to him and much more. Also catch PI-TV premium defensive updates from ECU defensive coordinator Rick Smith along with senior linebackers Kyle Tudor and Derrell Johnson in this UAB Senior Week edition of The Last Word.

GREENVILLE, N.C. - The last time East Carolina took on UAB, it was at Birmingham's Legion Field. ECU took a seven point lead into the fourth quarter, were down by one and ultimately came back in the end to win 42-35.

No doubt Ruffin McNeill wants to avoid that close of a call when the Blazers invade historic Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium this weekend.

It's Senior Day in Greenville and that's big to Coach Ruff who has experienced being a Pirate as a player,
student and a coach. The Pirates hope to continue what is now a three game win streak. ECU has won 5 of their last 6 contests coming into the UAB game.

East Carolina will need to defend well to avoid a close game or a potential loss. The Blazers are averaging 26.7 points per game. The Pirates enter Saturday's game averaging right at 39 points a contest. UAB ranks sixth in total offense at 399.7 yards a game. The Pirates are at 445 which is second in Conference USA behind Marshall's 493.7 offensive yards per game.

On the ground, UAB churns up 190 yards a game while throwing for 210 yards per contest. They rank third in punt returns at 14.0 while making 14 of 20 field goals for the season. Their red zone offense ranks fourth in Conference USA at 88.5 percent.

The Blazers have two solid running backs who rank in the top six in the league, led by Jordan Howard, a big freshman bruiser, who is averaging 96.6 yards per outing. Darrin Reaves is an All CUSA performer from last season who averages 86.2 rushing yards a game. Put those two together and it doesn't take long to realize that stopping the running game will be of the utmost importance.

UAB's Austin Brown is the fifth leading pass efficiency quarterback in C-USA. Jamarcus Nelson is his prime receiver along with Jamari Staples. Nelson ranks fifth in kick return average(25.2), fourth in all purpose yardage with 131 yards per game. He is fifth in scoring at nearly 7 points per game with Reaves right behind him at 6.7.

Game time is 2 pm EST. on Saturday from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium where Adam Witten and Kevin Miller will call the action with Billy Weaver reporting from the sideline this week for WITN-TV 7. You can catch The Voice, Jeff Charles and Kevin Monroe along with Marty Feurer on the sideline for the Pirate IMG Sports Radio Network.

Be sure to check out out and join us for more after the game with PI First Photos, PI-TV Postgame Interviews and much more here on PirateIllustrated.com, powered by Rivals.com and Yahoo!Sports.

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