East Carolina Pirates
(5-3, 5-3 ATS)
(6-2, 5-3 ATS)
In what could be the more entertaining of the two duels on Thursday night, the East Carolina Pirates will look to stop their skid as they travel to the UAB Blazers.
The ECU offense has certainly made no mistakes of late, as this unit has averaged 36.8 points per game over the last month and chance of the season. QB Dominique Davis is having a season to be proud of for sure. He has thrown for 2,734 yards and 26 scores already this year to go with seven rushing touchdowns. Needless to say, without the Boston College transfer in the lineup, bad things would be happening for this offense. The Pirates are getting a solid year out of RB Jonathan Williams as well, as has rumbled for 577 yards and six TDs this year. WR Dwyane Harris and WR Lance Lewis both have chances at 1,000 yard seasons. Harris has 70 catches for 823 yards and eight TDs, while Lewis has 57 grabs, 637 yards, and nine scores. And then there’s the defense… The Pirates allowed 76 points last season in an absolutely horrid game against the Navy Midshipmen, a team that really hadn’t found its offense yet this year. Now, the Pirates rank No. 115 in the country in total defense at 456.9 yards per game, No. 118 against the rush with 221.6 yards per game, and No. 117 in scoring at 41.3 points per game.
There haven’t been many teams that have shown a worse case of bi-polarity this year than the Blazers. UAB has a huge upset win over the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and a ‘W’ against the probable Sun Belt champs, the Troy Trojans. They’ve hung tough with both the Tennessee Volunteers and Mississippi State Bulldogs as well. However, for every game like that, there is a complete dud like last week’s loss to the Marshall Thundering Herd at home by two TDs and a season opening loss at home to the FAU Owls as two TD favorites. The Blazers are hoping to get their option quarterback back, as QB David Isabelle is possibly going to be back under center after sitting out the last few weeks with a broken hand. QB Bryan Ellis has been manning the fort in the meantime, and he has at least performed admirably. Ellis has 14 TDs this year with 1,910 passing yards. The UAB defense hasn’t really been much to write home about either, as it ranks No. 82 in the land at 401.0 yards per game and No. 96 in scoring at 31.3 points per game.
We tend to think that the Pirates have been dropped far too much in this one. They are still a great Conference USA team, as they only have one loss to the UCF Knights, the only team in the conference that is ranked in the Top 25 in the land. ECU is going to rock and roll on Thursday night down in Birmingham.
College Football Expert Pick: East Carolina Pirates +2.5