football Edit

ECU Preparing For South Carolina

Holton Ahlers and East Carolina return home this Saturday to host South Carolina in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Holton Ahlers and East Carolina return home this Saturday to host South Carolina in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (AP photo)

After falling last week to Appalachian State in the season opener in Charlotte, ECU returns home to open the home schedule against South Carolina.

Holton Ahlers threw for just under 300 yards last week in the 33-19 loss to the Mountaineers on 22 of 40 passing and a pair of touchdowns while Keaton Mitchell rushed for 79 yards on just five carries including a 63-yard touchdown to pace a limited running attack.

It was the Pirates' first loss to Appalachian State after winning six straight contests between the two programs.

Scoring points wasn't easy for the Pirates and if they are to be successful this week, they will have to find a way to be more productive in the run game to open up the pass.

Jsi Hatfield appears heading for a starting position at outside receiver this week and with Bailey Malovic out for the season with season ending surgery after being injured last week against Appalachian St., Noah Henderson will start at right tackle. The lineups otherwise remain mostly unchanged for ECU.

"It's going to be great to be back at home and to have our fans back in the stands and really looking forward to being a very loud and boisterous Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday," said ECU head coach Mike Houston on Tuesday.

The Gamecocks started their schedule with an easy 46-0 win over Eastern Illinois in Columbia.

Zeb Nolan did the bulk of the work at quarterback for South Carolina going 13 of 22 through the air for 121 yards and four touchdowns. ZaQuandre White rushed for 128 yards on just twelve carries and a touchdown to bolster the Gamecock rushing attack.

Whether projected season starter at quarterback Luke Doty, who sprained an ankle during the preseason, will be ready to go remains in question. Doty started the final two games of the 2020 season and established himself as the clear starter coming into this year. Mike Houston talked about what stands out about the Gamecocks.

"I think size and athleticism. Their fronts, big and athletic up front on both sides of the football. They have very good athletes on all of the standup positions on offense and defense," Houston told, "They did not have (Kevin) Harris last Saturday night. He'll play against us this Saturday and I think he was the leading rusher in the Southeastern Conference last year so obviously a great offensive player there."

"Their personnel is very good. A good showing from them last Saturday night in a game where they were able to work out some kinks and have a successful start so I know they'll be excited about the game this Saturday."

Sean Bailey's dad was a fireman during the 9-11 disaster in New York and he talks about what this week means to him in the audio interview below along with Gamecock week audio from linebacker Myles Berry, punter Jonn Young, inside receiver Tyler Snead and offensive guard Fernando Frye.

Catch Coach Houston's comments along with ECU players as the Pirates get ready this week for South Carolina in Dowdy Ficklen Stadium. Game time is at 12 noon.