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December 23, 2013

ECU Surges Past Ohio for 10th Win

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. - East Carolina stepped up in the fourth quarter to distance themselves from Ohio 37-21 in the 2013 Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl Monday afternoon at Tropicana Field.

The game's Most Valuable Player Vintavious Cooper didn't get the ball in the first few plays of the game, but once he did, the Homerville, Georgia senior made the most of it, running for a career high and bowl record 198 yards on 25 carries. His two touchdowns in the fourth quarter helped seal the deal for the 10-3 Pirates.

That makes back-to-back 1,000 yard seasons for Cooper and when combined with Shane Carden's performance, ECU has the only team in America with a 4,000 yard passer and a 1,000 yard rusher in 2013.

"It's an exciting feeling. I'm happy, I can't put it in words how excited I am about this. It means everything to go out with a great group of seniors and with a group of guys who work hard. they understand the struggle, they understand what being a Pirate is all about," Vintavious Cooper said.

"This is for the Pirate Nation. Coach Jones told me we're going to feed you the ball and you've got to be able to hit it. You're going to have to be able to sustain because we're definitely depending on you. I'm blessed to have the opportunity to carry the ball a few times and I'm blessed to say I'm the MVP of the Beef 'O' Brady Bowl."

Justin Hardy caught nine passes for 66 yards setting an ECU record for yards receiving in a season. He finished 114 receptions and a record 1,284 yards while Isaiah Jones hauled in eight for 48 yards.

ECU quarterback Shane Carden went 29 of 45 for 273 yards and a touchdown while also catching a touchdown on a throwback pass from Cam Worthy. In doing so he passed Dominique Davis and now has 4,139 yards, breaking the ECU all-time record for passing yards in a season.

"The defense (led by ECU safety Michael Dobson's nine tackles) played great all day and the offense had some big plays too," Carden said after the game, "It's all about weathering the storm. It's all about you have to keep fighting and that's what our team did today no matter what happened. We kept fighting and we came away with the victory."

Tetterton connected on 21 of 40 for 228 yards and a touchdown but he threw three interceptions in the loss. Derrius Vick added a hundred yards of passing to that total in relief duty for Ohio(7-6).

It was a proud group of Pirates on the podium in the postgame awards ceremony to get their tenth win of a long, hard fought season.

"It's an honor to be a part of East Carolina. Pride, passion tradition, a group of people who understand adversity. I first want to thank the Pirate Nation for traveling all this far. I have renamed you 'second to none'. It's about my sons, it's about the kids it's about the players. This is the best bowl we've been to," said ECU Head Coach Ruffin McNeill, This was the goal or one of our goals. I'm very proud of these players and I'm very fortunate to have a great staff."

East Carolina(10-3) put together 568 yards of total offense to 435 for Ohio. ECU ran for 281 yards to 107 for the Bobcats. Beau Blankenship led the rushing attack
for Ohio with 67 yards on 22 carries with his longest run of the day being seven yards.


The Pirates took the football for the 24th straight time to start the game. After going three-and-out and punting to Ohio, senior safety Michael Dobson intercepted the football right back to snuff out the Bobcats' first possession with 12:36 to go in the first period.

Carden connected with freshman Isaiah Jones twice and then found his favorite target, Justin Hardy. Then Tay Cooper took his first carry of the game up the middle 33 yards to the five yard line. With 10:45 in the quarter, Carden tossed his 33rd touchdown of the year when he found Cam Worthy on the fade route into the left endzone for a five-yard touchdown. Warren Harvey's PAT gave the Pirates an early 7-0 lead.

After the Pirate defense delivered their first three-and-out of the game, Cooper was at it again with a 40-yard run for ECU. Carden then found Hardy with a pass for another 15 yards to the Bobcat 23 yard line. An Isaiah Jones catch advanced the football to the 19 yard line, but the drive stalled on a fourth and short when Carden's completion to Bryce Williams came up a couple of yards short on the 15 yard line.

The Pirate defense delivered again with 4:17 in the first quarter, stopping a Bobcat drive on third down. From there Cooper moved the first down sticks for the Pirates on runs of nine and two yards as ECU began to find an offensive rhythm.

Cooper picked up four of his 104 first half yards on the next play then Carden found Jones over the middle to nearly midfield. Breon Allen then took a shovel pass from Carden and bounced off of what looked to be a sure Ohio stop and then zipped 26 yards down the field to the Ohio 27 yard line. Carden got tight end Zico Pasut into the flow on the rollout pass to move the ball to the Ohio 15-yard line. Jones then caught a Carden pass to the Ohio three-yard line where ECU backup running back Breon Allen ran it in for a three-yard touchdown and a 14-0 lead with 27 seconds to play in the first period.

Tettleton took a double-reverse flea flicker pitch and threw it to wide receiver Daz Patterson who ran it to the 15 yard line. Patterson then caught a Tetterton pass 16-yards for Ohio's first touchdown of the day to quickly trim the lead to 14-7 early in the second quarter.

Tettleton then caught ECU's secondary out of position on first down and hit senior wideout Donte Foster for an 80-yard bomb with 9:54 in the quarter to tie the game at 14-14.

After opting to go for it on fourth down rather than kicking the field goal for the second time in the first half, this time on the 14 yard line, Ohio once again stopped ECU with seven minutes to play in the first half. But the Pirates got away with it by getting another defensive stop.

Breon Allen helped move ECU down the field in the last four minutes of the first half on a succession of runs to the Bobcat 25-yard line. Warren Harvey then booted a 41-yard field goal to give ECU a three point 17-14 halftime lead.

Shane Carden passed for 199 yards in a 57 play first half on 22 of 33 passing with one touchdown.

Justin Hardy snagged eight catches in the first half for 59 yards while freshman wideout Isaiah Jones caught five passes in the first half for 43 yards. Breon Allen rushed for 43 yards in the first half on six carries.

Tyler Tettleton hit on 9 of 13 passes for 88 yards in the first half for Ohio. Beau Blankenship was limited to 40 yards on 12 carries.

Tettleton hit Patterson underneath with a pass along the left sideline on the first play of the second half a 15 yard pickup, but ECU was able to break serve defensively to open the third quarter. ECU was unable to immediately capitalize.

After a Donte Foster catch on fourth-and-one to the ECU 14-yard line. The drive stalled and Josiah Yazdani tied the game with 6:42 to go in the third quarter, 17-17 with a 29-yard field goal.

Yazdani booted Ohio into the lead 20-17 on a 28-yard field goal at the 13:33 mark in the fourth quarter.

Then Yazdani popped up an onside kick that cornerback Devin Bass recovered in the air off the bounce along the right sideline. But the ECU defense came up big, preventing the first down. That brought Yazdani back onto the field from 45 yards out where he missed his first field goal of the season.

The Pirates seemed to find an offensive pace with eleven minutes to go in the game. Then Carden's long bomb to Bryce Williams induced a pass
interference call on Ohio that was spotted at the Bobcat 31 yard line. With 9:45 to play, Vintavious Cooper took it in the rest of the way on the next play on a 31-yard scamper as the Pirates reclaimed the lead 24-21 after a Warren Harvey PAT.

Carden found Hardy at the one-yard line on what appeared to be a complete pass, but was ruled incomplete at the 7:35 mark in the fourth. So on the next play Carden passed the ball to the left side to Cam Worthy who looked left and then passed the football back across the field to the right to Carden for an ECU touchdown and a 31-20 lead.

Damon Magazu's interception went a long way toward extinguishing the Bobcats' late comeback chances when he grabbed the second ECU pick of the day off of Tetterton with 6:49 in the contest. Even though ECU didn't score, they ran two and a half more minutes off the clock leaving Ohio about 4:30 to score 11 points. Brandon Williams then intercepted Tetterton to stop Ohio U's best chance to come back.

Cooper scored one last time for the Pirates to put the icing on the cake at 37-21 and vault the Pirates into a commanding lead with 1:55 to play. Warren Harvey's PAT was blocked.

East Carolina NEWS


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