GREENVILLE, N.C. - The East Carolina offense scored three touchdowns against a stingy Pirate defense in the annual spring football game in front of nearly 6,400 fans in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday afternoon.
A fourth touchdown was scored on the last play of the game as young Noah Roberts, who is battling a dreaded neuro disease, suited up for what was a special and memorable moment when he ran for a touchdown to end the contest on the Bagwell Stadium field.
Quarterback Shane Carden tossed a 21-yard touchdown to Lance Ray on the opening drive. Carden completed 14 of 22 for 137 yards while yielding one interception to Chip Thompson.
"I saw some positive plays again today and I liked the way we interacted. We have some guys that are nicked and bruised right now that will be back on the roster by the time we start in the fall which will give us even more added depth," fourth year head coach Ruffin McNeill said, "I thought it was good that we got some guys reps over the last three scrimmages that will really benefit them as well as our team.
McNeill seemed relieved to get through the rest of camp relatively unscathed as a team.
"It's good to get through this day without any serious injuries. I'm proud of the progress over these last 15 days and how hard we've worked. I think they've attacked each day like we asked them."
Backup Cody Keith went 12 for 20 for 104 yards as he continued to solidify the backup quarterbsck job. Freshman Kurt Benkert showed glimpses of the future completing 6 of 13 for 75 yards for the day with a 32-yard touchdown to Antonio Cannon.
Newcomer Cory Hunter guided the ECU running game with 61 yards on 15 carries while Quataye Smyre, Jon Barnes-Smith, Lance Ray, Zico Pasut and even Lee Pegues who got a carrie on a fake punt all saw action on Saturday.
Danny Webster caught eight passes, good for 93 yards while Justin Jones snagged five passes for 47 yards. Antonio Cannon, Cedric Thompson and John Worthy all pulled in three receptions apiece.
Kyle Tudor led the Pirates with 10 tackles while Gabe Woullard had 7 stops (TFL/-8, sack/-8). Linebacker Jeremy Grove tallied 7 tackles (TFL/-2) while defensive back Domonique Lennon had 6 stops and Michael Dobson who moves over from running back had four tackles.
Pirate safety Chip Thompson made three tackles and picked off an interception. Local Greenville product Montese Overton made three hits (2 TFL/-10, 1 sack/-9, PB), Adonis Armstrong, Terrell Stanley, Zeek Bigger 3, Jeton Beavers 3 and Johnathon White had three tackles apiece.
In the 91 play scrimmage, ECU tallied 375 yards in total offense and were 7 of 23 on third down with six penalties.
Catch PI-TV highlights along with PI First Photos and Postgame reactions as our Spring Camp coverage presented by Ironwood Golf & Country Club continues here on PirateIllustrated.com.
Game Statistics(Courtesy of ECU)
RUSHING: Cory Hunter (15-61, 1 TD), Jon Barnes-Smith (3-12), Quataye Smyre (2-8), Lee Pegues (1-7), Lance Ray (1-6), Zico Pasut (4-5), Marcus Simmons (3-2), Kurt Benkert (3-), Cody Keith (3-). Totals -- 35-59 (1.7 ypr), 1 TD.
PASSING: Shane Carden (22-14-1, 137 yards, 1 TD), Cody Keith (20-12-0, 104 yards), Kurt Benkert (13-6-0, 75 yards, 1 TD), Ethan Long (1-0-0, 0 yards). Totals -- 56-32-1, 316 yards, 2 TD (57.1%).
RECEIVING: Danny Webster (8-93), Justin Jones (5-47), Antonio Cannon (3-40, 1 TD), Cedric Thompson (3-27), John Worthy (3-24), Bryce Williams (2-21), Quataye Smyre (2-18), Cory Hunter (2-9), Lance Ray (1-21,1 TD), Justin Hardy (1-8), Reese Wiggins (1-4), Brandon Santiago (1-4). Totals -- 32-316, 2 TD
TACKLES: : Kyle Tudor 10, Gabriel Woullard 7 (TFL/-8, sack/-8), Jeremy Grove 7 (TFL/-2), Domonique Lennon 6, Michael Dobson 4, Derrell Johnson 4, Chip Thompson 3 (PB, INT), Montese Overton 3 (2 TFL/-10, 1 sack/-9, PB), Adonis Armstrong 3 (PB), Terrell Stanley 3 (2 PB), Zeek Bigger 3, Jeton Beavers 3, Johnathon White 3, Detric Allen 2 (PB), Maurice Falls 2 (2TFL/ -19, 2 sacks/-19), Lamar Ivey 2, Brandon Williams 2, Doug Mayo-Tapp 2 (PB), Rocco Scarfone 2, Jake Geary 2 (PB), Frederick Presley 2, Ty Holmes 2, Donald Durham 1, Desi Brown 1, Josh Hawkins 1, DaShaun Amos 1, Dayon Pratt 1 (TFL/-7, sack/-7, 2 PB), Terry Williams 1 (PB), Lee Pegues 1, Reece Speight 1, Ty Anderson 1.
TOTAL OFFENSE/TOTAL DEFENSE: 91-375 (4.1 ypp)
INTERCEPTIONS 1 (Chip Thompson)
THIRD DOWN CONVERSIONS: 7-23 (30.4%) - Keith (3-10), Carden (2-5), Benkert (2-7), Long (0-1)
FOURTH DOWN CONVERSIONS (when attempted): 2-2 (100.0%) - Keith (2-2)
PENALTIES: 6 (6/OFFENSE - 3 holding, 2 false start, 1 personal foul; 0/DEFENSE)
QUARTERBACK FIRST DOWN/SCORING CHART (DRIVES)
Shane Carden - 10 first downs, 1 TD (TD, punt, downs, interception)
Cody Keith - 8 first downs, 1 TD (punt, TD, downs, downs, punt)
Kurt Benkert - 3 first down (downs, downs, downs, downs, TD)
Ethan Long - 0 first downs (punt)
TDs -4, FG - 0, PATs (2-3)
Lance Ray 21-yard pass from Shane Carden (Warren Harvey PAT)
Cory Hunter 1-yard run (Warren Harvey PAT)
Antonio Cannon 32-yard pass from Kurt Benkert (Connor Torruella PAT/no good)
Noah Roberts 65 yard run
Trent Tignor (3-145 - 48.3 ypp)
Brendan Rowland (1-50 - 50.0 ypp)