The most explosive offense in college football tries to avoid another long period of impotence when they travel to Greensboro to take on East Carolina. Here’s what we’re looking for…
EC WHO’s Your Quarterback?
Embattled East Carolina Coach Scottie Montgomery held open auditions for quarterback this week. In August that’s probably advisable, in mid-October, that’s a problem. The result is the dreaded “or” list on the depth chart.
Reid Herring, a sophomore, started all five games this year, but Holton Ahlers and Kingsley Ifedi, both freshmen, have played in the last two ECU outings, including a 49-6 loss to Temple. How East Carolina isn’t holding open tryouts for a coach is the real question.
Neither Ifedi or Ahlers has attempted more than ten passes. Herring meanwhile is completing 54% of his attempts and dinking and dunking his way to 5.8 yards per attempt.
Who are these guys?
East Carolina’s been inconsistent, teetering on bad for most of 2018. They opened with a five-point loss to North Carolina A&T, then came back in week two to beat North Carolina. They sandwiched a win over Old Dominion between a close loss to South Florida and the Temple blowout.
Old Dominion was coming off a program-defining win over Virginia Tech when East Carolina beat them a week later. Against undefeated USF, the Pirates had the ball in a one-score game in the last two minutes but turned it over.
ECU outgained A&T by over 100 yards but surrendered fourteen fourth-quarter points to drop the game to their MEAC opponent. The Temple loss is the most curious. The Pirate allowed four straight touchdown drives to fall behind 28-0, making the Owls’ Anthony Russo look like a Heisman contender at quarterback.
Montgomery’s tenure in charge is marked with just three AAC wins in two and half seasons and eight wins overall. He replaced Ruffin McNeal who led the Pirates to four bowls in six years and a 30-18 conference record.
By the Numbers
East Carolina runs 85 plays per game at a 2.5 play per minute pace, so they can pick’em up and put’em down. They are wildly inefficient with a 103.8 team QB rating, eighth worse in the FBS. Their points per possession are 1.67, in the lower quarter of the subdivision.
The Pirates do protect the quarterback well, allowing a sack every 30 attempts. That’s not quite as good as Houston, allowing a sack every 194 attempts, but it’ll do.
East Carolina rushes for below (3.71) national average per rush, but they defend against the run well, allowing just 3.5 yards per attempt.