FACTS & STATS: Site: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium (50,000) — Greenville, North
Carolina. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: Tulane 2-3, ECU 4-0. Away
Record: Tulane 1-4, ECU 2-3. Neutral Record: Tulane 0-0, ECU 0-0. Conference
Record: Tulane 2-4, ECU 3-2. Series Record: East Carolina leads, 10-3.
GAME NOTES: The East Carolina Pirates will try to pull themselves out of a
tailspin when they host the Tulane Green Wave in an American Athletic
Conference brawl at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
When the calendar turned over to November, East Carolina was sitting pretty.
The Pirates were nationally ranked and off to a 3-0 start in AAC play.
However, consecutive road losses to Temple (20-10) and Cincinnati (54-46) have
dampened spirits in Greenville. ECU is now 6-3 overall, with a 3-2 mark in
league play, which is only good enough for a tie for third place with Houston
in the conference standings.
Tulane’s entire season has been a negative for the most part, as it has won
only three of its 10 games, including a 2-4 league ledger. The Green Wave were
routed at home by Memphis last weekend, 38-7. It was the third loss in the
last four games for the squad.
Last season’s meeting between these two teams was quite the affair, as Tulane
escaped with a 36-33 victory in triple-overtime. ECU still leads the all-time
series, 10-3. This is the first time these teams will be meeting as AAC foes,
as they both moved over to the league from Conference USA for this season.
Tulane committed five turnovers last week, killing any chance it had of
upsetting Memphis. The Green Wave were not spectacular as an offensive unit in
general, finishing with only 351 total yards. They have not impressed on
offense much at all this season, ranking sixth in the AAC in total yards (357
ypg). However, they are usually more careful with the football, as they have a
turnover margin of plus-four, which is tied with Temple for the third-best
mark in the conference.
Tanner Lee was responsible for the bulk of Tulane’s turnovers against Memphis,
as he threw three picks, tying a season-high. Lee now has more interceptions
(13) than touchdown passes (12). He also has produced only 1,552 yards on 55.4
percent passing. In the loss to Memphis, he completed 26-of-48 attempts for
The Green Wave had some success on the ground against Memphis, thanks to the
work of Lazedrick Thompson and Dontrell Hilliard. Thompson rushed for 70 yards
on 12 carries, and Hilliard picked up 65 yards and scored the team’s only
touchdown. Thompson (470 yards, four TDs), Hilliard (404 yards, three TDs) and
Sherman Badie (634 yards, three TDs) have formed quite the trio in the
backfield this season.
Justyn Shackleford leads the receiving corps, which has been without Xavier
Rush (15 receptions, 295 yards, three TDs) in three straight games. Rush’s
status is uncertain for this contest. Shackleford has accumulated 419 yards
and two touchdowns on 33 receptions, which is tied with Teddy Veal for the
team lead. Veal has produced 324 yards and a score, and he managed a team-high
six receptions for 48 yards against Memphis.
Just like the offense, Tulane’s defense hasn’t turned many heads this season.
The Green Wave are ranked seventh in the AAC in yards allowed (381 ypg), and
eighth in scoring defense (29.7 ppg). They have been strong in creating
negative plays, as they are tied with Memphis for the most tackles for loss
At the very least, ECU got back on track offensively last time out. The
Pirates racked up 579 total yards in the loss to Cincinnati. Such efforts have
been commonplace for the team, which leads the AAC and ranks third nationally
in total offense (552.8 ypg).
At the center of it all is Shane Carden, who created some Heisman rumblings
early in the season before the Pirates crumbled. Carden is second in the
country in passing yards per game (357.3 ypg), while tallying 20 touchdowns to
only five interceptions on 62.9 percent passing. He was in top form against
the Bearcats, finishing with 425 yards and two scores on 35-of-61 passing.
Justin Hardy eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark in receiving with his effort against
Cincinnati. He had 188 yards on 15 receptions, both season-highs, to bring his
season totals to 80 catches for 1,0002 yards. He also has seven touchdown
receptions, and ranks second in the AAC in both receptions and receiving
yards. Cam Worthy (31 receptions, 633 yards, two TDs) and Isaiah Jones (61
receptions, 602 yards, four TDs) are important pieces to the puzzle as well.
Breon Allen is the primary ball-carrier for the squad, and he rumbled his way
for 734 yards and seven touchdowns on only 98 carries. He recorded his third
100-yard game of the season against Cincinnati, finishing with 129 yards and a
touchdown on 12 totes. Backup Chris Hairston (364 yards, two TDs) has a 100-
yard game under his belt as well.
ECU has not been nearly as impressive on defense as it has been on offense.
The Pirates are allowing the fifth-most yards per game in the AAC (366.8 ypg).
They also rank fifth in points allowed (26.4 ppg).
While the last two games have been difficult for the Pirates, they are still
one of the better teams in the AAC. Carden should be prolific yet again and
lead the Pirates to victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: East Carolina 42, Tulane 24