Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl Matchup: Ohio Bobcats vs. East Carolina Pirates
Date/Time: December 23rd, 2:00 ET
Point Spread: East Carolina -14
With the regular season in the NFL winding down and the main portion of bowl games yet to come, it might be easy to forget about Monday afternoon’s Beef O’Brady’s St. Petersburg Bowl. However, the Ohio Bobcats and the East Carolina Pirates surely haven’t forgotten about this bowl battle yet, as they meet in the first of several bowl games to be played in the Sunshine State in December and January.
The Bobcats know that they have a heck of a lot of work to be done if they are going to win this game. They played terrible ball at the end of the season, losing games to the Buffalo Bulls, Bowling Green Falcons, and Kent State Golden Flashes by the combined score of 123-16. They did win their last game of the year against the Massachusetts Minutemen, but that came against one of the worst teams in the entire country. The story looks largely like it did last year when the Bobcats went from a Top 25 BCS team to one which was slaughtered down the stretch of the season. Some of the faces are the same as well. QB Tyler Tettleton and RB Beau Blankenship both had suspect statistical seasons, but they both have the ability to put together huge games. Ohio hopes that it has the same fate as last season’s team as well, one which ultimately won the Independence Bowl over the Louisiana Monroe Warhawks.
The Pirates are a tougher foe this season, though. They lost out on the East Division crown of Conference USA on the last day of the regular season, getting beaten by the Marshall Thundering Herd by 31. It was really the only devastating loss of the season for the Pirates, who have to hope they can get back on track in a hurry. They’ve got a dynamic offense, one which put up at least 28 points in all but two games this season. The team beat both the North Carolina Tar Heels and the NC State Wolfpack on the road, and that’s because the club averaged 40.4 points and 459.8 yards per game. Defensively, ECU held teams down to 117.5 yards per game rushing, and that might play a huge role in this game as well. QB Shane Carden threw for 3,866 yards and 32 TDs this year, and he also had 10 rushing touchdowns to make him one of the few men accountable for over 40 touchdowns in the FBS this year.
The Bobcats have won bowl games in back to back seasons after not ever winning a bowl game prior to that in their history. East Carolina hasn’t won a bowl game since the 2007 Hawaii Bowl, and that was its only win in a bowl game since the 2000 Houston Bowl. These teams have actually met twice before, with ECU winning both games in 1998 and 1996 SU, The squads split the ATS proceedings in those clashes.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.