ECU Gets Set For Thursday Night Blackout With Temple
Fresh off of a 24-21 win last Saturday night over Old Dominion, (3-2) ECU returns home this week for a primetime Thursday night home matchup against Temple in the first conference game of the season. It will be a blackout for the Pirate fans and the team will be wearing all black too.
"I came dressed appropriately in all black today and I feel like Jerry Glanville. There might be a couple of tickets for Elvis at the Will Call Thursday night, but it's exciting. I think you'll see our student body rally around this," said ECU head coach Mike Houston, "We need them. We need the Boneyard packed Thursday night. It's time for all of us to come together and support our football program. It's a short week and we've got a lot to do in a short time and so do they."
The Owls enter this week at 3-1 and have had the Pirates' number over the course of the past few years. Meanwhile, ECU will be looking to ride the momentum of their first two game win streak in a while.
The win last Saturday gives the Pirates 15 wins out of their last 18 meeting against Conference USA opponents and increased their streak to 271 games without being shutout by an opponent.
On the other hand, ECU hasn't shut out an opponent in 240 games since they did so at Duke in a 38-0 win on Sept. 2, 2000.
"We played a very physical football game Saturday night and we've got some bumps and bruises. It is what it is," said Houston, "Everybody in the country has got that. I think you have to do a very good job of managing that along with preparing your team. On a compressed week, you've got to be smart with how you go out and prepare so this week's schedule will be a little bit different. You control what you can control and I think we'll have a group Thursday night that will be excited to play and they'll be excited about the opportunity."
One of the biggest things that ECU has going for them at the moment is the fight that this Pirate team is showing in trying to win ballgames. While everything didn't go perfectly, there was a lot to build upon heading into this Thursday's matchup with the Owls.
"Goodness knows that there were plenty of things to correct on Sunday, but the one thing we're correcting less and less as the season wears on is is effort, playing with some passion and we're doing a much better job of playing together," ECU head coach Mike Houston said in his weekly press conference.
"Those factors were really critical in surviving that third quarter because we came out of the locker room and we were jacked. Certainly we had a couple of things that didn't bounce our way and that adversity I think sometimes in the past might have been crippling to this group," said Houston, "It was something we've worked very hard on this year and it was very evident on Saturday is you didn't see any hanging heads on the sideline. You didn't see any doubt. They kept fighting, they stayed together and they were able to get momentum swung back in our direction and then played a very solid fourth quarter."
Temple's 24-2 home win over Georgia Tech last Saturday is their third victory of the season.
"Temple is very much a blue collar team and that's very much what we want to be so it will be a great matchup."
"Having won a couple of games in a row, certainly the confidence level is up for the players. There is no doubt about that. It really doesn't matter where we play or who we play, each week you've got to kind of compartmentalize everything," Houston told PirateIllustrated.com, "This is the biggest game of the year. This is the only game we play this week. It's a great opportunity for our players to go out there and compete and a great opportunity for us to have a chance to try to do something pretty special. Those are the things you have to focus on. I respect our conference and so does most everybody else for what they've done the past several years, so I don't think you can ignore that but at the same time Temple is the next opponent. End of discussion. That's really it."
Houston said the team knew last week that getting to 3-2 was the next big step and to the players, they knew it was very important. It's been quite a while since ECU has even won two games in a row.
"I do think that was a motivating factor last week and something that is giving them confidence this week," Houston stated.
Houston has a good starting point from which to continue this Thursday, riding a two-game win streak and winning three of their last four games.
"I'm excited for them. Certainly we're improving each week. We're not even close to where we want to be or where we're going to be, but we're continuing to see progress so that's positive," Houston stated, "I'm excited for this Thursday night for a tough matchup against a really good Temple football team. I think that Temple got everybody's attention early in the season when they took on a Maryland team averaging over fifty points a game and beat them 20-17. Another big win this past weekend at home against Georgia Tech 24-2."
"They're a solid football team. When you look at their roster, they're older, they're big, very experienced football team. A lot of skill and athleticism at the stand-up positions. It's a program that has consistently won at the highest level of anyone in our league over the history of the American Conference and one that has been very consistent over the years. Big challenge but we're excited about it."
Game time is set for 8 p.m. Thursday night on ESPN when ECU hosts Temple. Stay tuned for more as PirateIllustrated.com coverage of Temple week continues.