football Edit

ECU Readies For Tulane After Heartbreaking Loss to Tulsa

Quarterback Holton Ahlers leads East Carolina into Saturday's AAC tilt with Tulane in Greenville.
Quarterback Holton Ahlers leads East Carolina into Saturday's AAC tilt with Tulane in Greenville. (PirateIllustrated.com photo)

East Carolina enters this week’s game with a 1-4 record that isn’t far from being a whole lot better better when they take on a 3-4 Tulane team that hasn’t had much luck in conference play either.

The Pirates are still reeling after the way the game was called last Saturday and in particular a play that was ruled a catch late in the contest even after the replay appeared to show that the ball was fumbled.

ECU fell on the football and had it been ruled that way, the Pirates would have been able to run the clock out to take a three-point victory over Tulsa. Instead, Tulsa eventually scored again late to pick a 34-30 win.

Pirate head coach Mike Houston was not pleased and says he has had subsequent conversations with the league office heading into this week’s game and his team has moved on from the situation.

“I think they’ve responded about as good as we have asked them to. Are they pissed off about Friday night? Yes, we all are. It is what it is and there is nothing we can do about it. That’s it. You’re mad about it. It’s not right. It should have been a different turnout.They earned the right to win,” said Houston, “That is what I preach. We did that and even in spite of the circumstances, they continued to battle and respond and give us a shot on the last play of the game. They have continued on just like that. I continue to be impressed with the guys we have on the field and continue to be encouraged by the way the respond.”

“We got screwed and that’s what I told them. You wish you could change it but you can’t change it and go back. Everybody wishes they could go back,” said Houston, “I’m sure the officials wish they could go back but you can’t. Life is not fair and it’s how you respond to adversity.

“You can’t let one loss beat you twice and so you’ve got to move on from it and get ready for Tulane because Tulane is a very, very good football team,” Coach Houston stated, “We’ve got to play our best this Saturday to have a shot, so you acknowledge it because you can’t ignore it. The American Conference, they made their statement acknowledging what happened and now we’ve got to put that behind us and move on as a group.”

Tulane’s lone league win came last Saturday in a convincing 38-3 win over Temple while ECU’s only win of the season was a 44-24 AAC victory in Tampa against USF. Houston says his team had a good practice on Sunday and a great practice on Monday.

The team is taking Tuesday off for election day in order to be able to go and vote and be a part of that process too.

“We’ve had a good start to the week. We’re excited about this weekend. I know Coach Fritz very well and have a tremendous amount of respect for him. He and I have had similar paths to our positions and we’ve met along the way when I was at the Citadel and I know the traits of his teams and the way he runs his program,” said Houston.

“He believes in a lot of the same things that I do. His team is going to be a hard nosed, tough bunch. They’re going to play with physicality, they’re going to have some discipline,” Houston stated, “They’re very good on special teams, a very good ball team. He’s done a great job there at Tulane and it’s going to be an exciting matchup for us this Saturday. Our kids are going to be excited to go. They’re ready to get back out on the field after last Saturday night and continue building like they have done for the last solid month.”

When the Pirates take the field, it will be without veteran safety Tank Robinson who has decided to leave the program.

ECU is riding a two game losing streak at the moment when coupled with a close 27-23 loss to Navy in mid October. Mike Houston wants to do whatever it takes to turn that plight around this week. His team continues to gain confidence and increased determination.

“The team has seen drastic improvement in their play week in and week out and you can directly attribute it to improved performance in practice and improved preparation,” Houston told PirateIllustrated.com..

“Offensively, the last couple of walk throughs on Thursday and Friday of last week, you have zero M.A.’s. So you have no mistakes in hour long walk throughs. That tells you the players were dialed in and really focused. So the result is playing at a very high level on the field. They have tremendous belief in the preparation because they’re seeing themselves play better and better on the field each week.”

Stay tuned all week as coverage of this Saturday’s game with Tulsa continues here on PirateIllustrated.com.