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November 29, 2013

Bringing It On Home

HUNTINGTON, WV - Game day is here for the Pirates and Thundering Herd with an East Division title at stake. It is ECU's final regular season game in their final season in Conference USA before moving to the American Athletic Conference.

Today's high noon contest on CBS College Sports Network is essentially for all the marbles.

Which team will come out on top is anyone's guess. Marshall and East Carolina enter Friday's matchup as the two top offensive teams in the league. This game might have made for a better championship than a just the divisional title game.

Marshall(8-3/6-1) comes in on a hot streak after a 48-10 win over Florida Atlantic, currently riding a four game win streak.

East Carolina(9-2/6-1) has won five in a row. Only an overtime loss to Tulane on October 12 in New Orleans prevents it from being eight straight wins.

Both teams have pretty good defenses, as well. These two teams ran second and third in total defense in Conference USA this season behind Florida Atlantic. Second and fourth in scoring defense. ECU tops Conference USA against the run, allowing 104 yards a contest.

The one segment where Marshall ranks considerably higher than ECU defensively is pass defense where the Herd ranks second at 199 yards a game. ECU is allowing 243 a game which ranks 13th in the league.

Stopping Rakeem Cato or this week's Conference USA offensive player of the week, Shane Carden, is no easy task for any defense.

It all sets up as another very interesting matchup between two teams who are hungry for an opportunity at the 2013 C-USA Championship next week.

Over in the West Division, Rice(8-3/6-1) controls their destiny and can take home the West Division title with a win at home on Saturday against Tulane(7-4/5-2).

The Pirates own the overall series lead with ten wins and six losses. Last year, East Carolina took a 65-59 double-overtime victory over the Herd in Greenville.

If Rice wins on Saturday, the BCS ranking of the divisional winners will decide who hosts the Conference USA title game next Saturday since the two divisional winners will not have played each other during the regular season for a head to head tiebreaker. If the Pirates take care of business against Marshall, they will serve as hosts next week.

Sixty minutes of football remains...

It's the 809th game of football for East Carolina when they travel to Joan Edwards Stadium to take on Marshall in a 12 Noon matchup on CBS College Sports Network.




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