Offense Gets The Better of the Defense in Annual ECU Spring Game
The ECU offense got the better of the defense in Saturday’s Purple-Gold game in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium by a score of 71-36 in the intricate offense vs defensive scoring system.
Holton Ahlers threw for 118 yards on 10 of 19 passing and ran for 24 yards from his quarterback position. Reid Herring went 10 for 18 for 100 yards and one touchdown in his own right under center while Bryan Gagg completed the two passes that he attempted to go along with a nice touchdown running the football for the gold squad.
“I thought the offense went out there and executed,” said Ahlers afterward, “No turnovers, the rain held out. The pass game was good and we had a good run game. We had a big fourth down and short and I think that shows where this program is going. We had a 70 yard run with Darius Pinnix.
“The o-line, it was wide open. It was really a walk in touchdown and the o-line really opened it up for me,” said a slimmed down Pinnix who threw the ball in the crowd after the touchdown run.
Hussein Howe got a lot of action as well rushing for 71 yards on 15 carries.
From a receivers standpoint, Leroy Henley caught three passes for 43 yards, Tyler Snead made four catches for 32 yards and Blake Proehl made three nifty snags for 43 yards including a two-yard catch from Reid Herring for a touchdown.
Defensively, Aaron Ramseur led the way with nine tackles including two for a loss. Xavier Smith, who is up to 239 pounds now, lined up at inside linebacker and made six tackles as did Chandon Hickerson along the defensive line. D’Angelo McKinnie had four tackles with a sack and two tackles for a loss on the defensive front.
Most of the guys in the defensive backfield got in on the act as well but they did have difficulty at times keeping receivers in front of them. Myles Berry and Daniel Charles both recorded four tackles as did linebacker Delvontae Harris to lead the secondary.
Afterward, first year head coach Mike Houston gave his overall impressions of what he saw on Saturday.
“For me as a head coach, we had no major injuries,” said Houston, “So you come out of a spring and a scrimmage like that where you have minimal injuries then that’s a big positive because I’m always concerned about the player’s health, safety and well being.”
“I thought there were a lot of positives out there today. When you look at us today vs a month ago obviously there is tremendous improvement, Houston stated, “There was lots of positives on both sides. There were some negatives on both sides.”
Houston outlined what he liked most from his team on Saturday.
“I think the consistent way our offense moved the ball was pleasing to see. We had minimal errors on that side of the ball which is good. You look at the other side we had our bright sides there as well. Probably the biggest negative for the defense is probably the biggest positive for the offense which is ball security.”
“We did not force any turnovers on defense but we did a good job of taking care of the ball on offense,” Houston said.
“My main emphasis was making sure that everybody was in the right spot and just communicating,” said defensive back Tank Robinson who made a pair of tackles to go along with two pass breakups, “I should have picked one of them off.”
The Gold team will enjoy a feast that will be cooked and put together by the Purple team for winning Saturday’s spring game. It capped off a solid first spring camp for the Pirates as they now prepare to head into the summer.
PURPLE (D) 8 10 11 7 -- 36
GOLD (O) 9 22 15 25 -- 71
PURPLE-GOLD GAME STATISTICS (Courtesy of ECU Media Relations)
RUSHING: Hussein Howe (15-71, 1 TD), Darius Pinnix (5-31, 1TD), Holton Ahlers (5-24), Tay Williams (8-18), Bryan Gagg (3-14, 1 TD), Immanuel McLawhorn (2-12), Barry Smith (2-11), Caiden Norman (1-11), Cam Coleman (3-7), Zach Gwynn (1-<-2>), Reid Herring (3-<-7>). Totals –– 48-190 (4.0 ypr), 3 TD.
PASSING: Holton Ahlers (10-19-0, 118), Reid Herring (10-18-0, 100, 1 TD), Bryan Gagg (2-2-0, 18). Totals ––22-39-0, 236 yards, 1 TD.
RECEIVING: Tyler Snead (4-32), Blake Proehl (3-69, 1 TD), Leroy Henley (3-43), Mydreon Vines (3-41), Jsi Hatfield (3-19), Deondre Farrier (2-12), Darius Pinnix (2-2), Andre Pegues (1-12), Anthony Watley (1-6). Totals –– 22-236, 1 TD
TACKLES: Aaron Ramseur 9 (2 TFL/-4), Xavier Smith 6 (TFL/-2), Chandon Hickerson 6 (2 TFL/-6), Trey Love 6, Daniel Charles 4 (2 PBU), Myles Berry 4 (TFL/-2), Delvontae Harris 4, D’Angelo McKinnie 4 (2 TFL, sack/-10), Nolan Johnson 3, Damel Hickman 3, Khalil Barrett 3 (TFL/-2), Heath Parker 3, Rowe Mellott 2, Davondre Robinson 2 (2 PBU), Alex Angus 2, Colby Gore 2 (PBU), Gerard Stringer 2 (TFL/-1), Dorian Hardy 2 (TFL/-2), Jalen Price 2 (TFL, sack/-6), Michael Witherspoon 1, Ja’Quan McMillian 1, Da’Andre Beverly 1, Jaren Rainey 1, Chance Purvis 1 (TFL/-2), Hozey Haji-Badri 1
Jonn Young (6-245 – 40.8 ypp)
Michael Tilley (1-32 – 32.0 ypg)
TOTAL OFFENSE/TOTAL DEFENSE: 87-426 (4.9 ypp)
FUMBLES/LOST: 0/0; INTERCEPTIONS: 0
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: 8-19 (42.1%) – Reid Herring (5-13), Holton Ahlers (2-7), Bryan Gagg (1-3), Zach Gwynn (0-1)
PENALTIES: 15 (8/OFFENSE, 7/DEFENSE)
QUARTERBACK FIRST DOWN/SCORING CHART (DRIVES)
Holton Ahlers – 9 first downs, 2 TD, 1 FG (punt, punt, FG, punt, TD, TD)
Reid Herring – 10 first downs, 1 TD, 1 FG (FG, punt, end of half, punt, TD)
Bryan Gagg – 4 first downs, 1 TD (TD, punt)
Zach Gwynn – 0 first downs (punt)
Caiden Norman – 3 first downs (end of half)
SCORING (4 TD, 2 FG):
1st QTR (5:36) – Jake Verity 40 FGA
2nd QTR (6:18) – Verity 49 FGA
2nd QTR (0:53) – Bryan Gagg 18 run (Verity kick)
3rd QTR (8:03) – Hussein Howe 18 run (Verity kick)
4th QTR (13:41) – Darius Pinnix 7 run (Verity kick)
4th QTR (2:15) – Blake Proehl 2 pass from Reid Herring (Verity kick)