football Edit

Yards On The Ground Important to ECU's Overall Offensive Success

In addition to their passing game, ECU hopes to continue to develop their running attack against UCF on Saturday.
In addition to their passing game, ECU hopes to continue to develop their running attack against UCF on Saturday. ( photo)

With (9)UCF on the docket this week, the Pirates hope to shake things up and get their offense going with true freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers at the helm.

One element that ECU would like to improve is their running game. Last week with sacks and lost yardage factored in, the Pirates generated a net of only 41 rushing yards on the ground. Houston, on the other hand, rushed for 157.

Ahlers did run for 45 net yards late in the game to lead the rushing attack, but getting more from the running backs would likely prove to be beneficial in getting first downs and balancing out the offense.

The threesome of Darius Pinnix, Anthony Scott and Hussein Howe were only credited with a total of twenty yards against Houston.

With nationally ranked UCF on the slate for Saturday Florida product Hussein Howe knows the Knights all too well.

"They're a good team but I feel like if we execute and do our job, they're beatable," Howe told

Getting yardage on the ground has not been easy and Howe says his group just has to man up and battle it out in the trenches.

"We've just got to get tough up front. Our whole offense has just got to get tougher going forward," Howe said, "Everybody has got to know their assignment. That's the main thing. Everybody has got to do their assignment every play."

"I feel like if our offense gets going we're unbeatable because once our offense gets clicking and our defense gets clicking, nobody can beat the Pirates but us."

Howe outlined the necessary mood of the team heading into Saturday's American Athletic Conference tilt with the undefeated 6-0 Knights who haven't lost a game in over two seasons.

"We all have got to stay up. We take it week by week. That happened last week is in the past so we're focused on UCF this week. We take it week by week."

Offensive coordinator Tony Petersen says the key this week with a true freshman quarterback under center is to control the bad plays and keep them to a reasonable minimum.

"We just have to make sure that we control the bad plays. Make sure the bad plays aren't turnovers," Petersen said, "The bad plays might be a throw away, maybe I get a yard, I lose a yard. Control the bad plays with a young quarterback and let him go out and play and play his game."

ECU actually outgained Houston last week 415 to 405 on 23 more offensive plays than the Cougars but Houston got the better of it on the scoreboard with a pair of ECU interceptions and a turnover on a fumble not helping the cause.

We will see what happens when ECU hosts UCF Saturday night at 7 o'clock on ESPN 2.