It's North Carolina State Week and with Monday comes The Ruffin McNeill Weekly Press Conference from Ward Sports Medicine Building on the campus of East Carolina University. McNeill goes over last week's win over UAB and previews this week's big in-state clash between the Pirates and the Wolfpack in Raleigh. Stay with us all week for premium updates from Hight Field, the latest from Coach Ruff and player interviews
as we approach game time on Saturday.
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GREENVILLE, N.C. - The beat goes on for 8-2 East Carolina as they enter game week eleven of the 2013 regular season with their sights set on traveling to Carter-Finley Stadium for a 12:30 kickoff with in-state rivals N.C. State.
It seems that no matter the record, this game generates excitement in the state of North Carolina and has since the 1970's and this year should be no different.
State hasn't had their best season, so a win over the Pirates would help sooth a few frayed nerve endings in Raleigh.
The Pirates come into this week fresh off of a successful 63-14 Senior Day bulldozing of the UAB Blazers last Saturday. Quarterback Shane Carden threw for five touchdowns as the ECU offense ran up 625 yards in total offense in picking up their eighth win of the year. Carden passed for nearly 300 and the run game accounted for 329 behind senior running back Vintavious Cooper's 126 yards and junior backup running back Breon Allen's 143 yard performances.
Fourth year ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill says Adhern Elsawi, Jake Geary, Davon Grayson, Cory Hunter, Cody Keith, Zico Pasut and Jimmy Williams will remain out for Saturday's game against the Wolfpack. Maurice Falls is listed as questionable. McNeill says he has great respect for the N.C. State program overall dating back to the David Thompson era. He has been getting great effort from this year's squad every week and expects another great week of work in preparation for the State game on Saturday.
"I was While keeping the vision in perspective, even more immediate than the game is the day before the game and the day before that and the next snap in practice," McNeill said, "We just want to get better today and every day and have more consistent play on all three sides of the football. They're all big games right now. I just want to get better and leave no I undotted and no T uncrossed."
There are no significant changes in this week's East Carolina depth chart as of Monday. Linebackers Jeremy Grove and Maurice Falls will have their reps managed this week.
Shane Carden has come into his own, passing for 3,220 yards and 29 touchdowns with just seven interceptions on the year. Vintavous Cooper is at 724 yards for the season and appears headed for a one thousand yard season with two games remaining in the regular season. Add to that a potential Conference USA title game and a bowl game all yet to be played.
After winning three of their first four ballgames, North Carolina State(3-7/0-7) has lost the last six consecutive contests including last Saturday's 38-21 loss at Boston College. Pack quarterback Pete Thomas completed 22 of 33 passes for 207 yards and a touchdown.
Wolfpack quarterback Garrett Leatham also saw action and passed for one touchdown in the loss. State wide receiver Rashard Smith caught 8 passes for 34 and a touchdown. He also threw for a 49-yard touchdown to wide receiver Quintin Payton. The Pack generated 360 yards of total offense, mostly through the air with only 35 net yards on the ground for the game.
Boston College ran all over the Wolfpack for 420 net rushing yards on the day while only passing for 53 yards. That could part of the recipe that East Carolina employs this week along with a potent passing attack.
Thomas is completing nearly 59 percent of his passes for the season while running for nearly 500 yards on the ground. Shadrach Thornton ran for 56 yards in the N.C. State loss to Boston College. He averages 4.8 per carry and has rushed for 606 yards for the year.
The Pirates hope to continue to play solid, eleven man defense this week. ECU gave up 354 yards of total offense to UAB defensively led by Damon Magazu and Zeek Bigger's eight tackles each. Derrell Johnson was right behind them with seven stops for the ever improving ECU defense.
You can throw out the record books when these two teams meet. It's always a wild
and wooly affair and this week's game should be no different. Stay tuned all week as we bring you the latest from Greenville as the Pirates prepare to take on the Wolfpack in Raleigh here on PirateIllustrated.com.