Pirates Leash Wolfpack
Pirates Offense Shows up Big Against Rivals
Sellout Crowd Shows up for State Rival Matchup in Week 0.
Sellout crowd showed up to cheer on the purple and gold on Thursday. Week 0 saw some interesting match-ups, including an inner state rivalry in North Carolina. ECU and Nc State both would kick off their 2024 Season with their 7th all time meeting. With the series tied 3-3, ECU has lost the last three, with their headcoach being 1-3 against the wolfpack. The last two meetings however were very close with the final being decided by less than a touchdown. The Wolfpack enter the season with a brand new(but experienced) head coach, and the Pirates lost their star receiver Jacob Bensen to the draft. But if you thought Kyler Wilson wasn't going to have options, you thought wrong.
"We entered the off season knowing we were gonna lose Jacob to the draft. He was an incredible talent in his senior season. He had a first round grade on just about everyone's draft board. So coming into this season, my staff and I knew we were going to have to adjust how we played. We went into spring training with a new gameplan. We knew we had to get others involved. Kyler is a great QB..but he has two years of game film out there for our opponents to watch. We needed more from our Runningbacks. We needed more from out Tightends. And I think we got that tonight. It helped Kyler elevate his game. Our defense wasn't gasping for air all game. Overall we just seemed better prepared."
This was spoken from the head coach following the game. ECU win over the wolfpack puts them up 4-3 in the series, and breaks the 3 game losing streak. Coach Weeze is now also 2-3 against Nc State. But speaking of things to say following Thursday nights performance, not long after the game ECU's Star Tightend had something to say.
Will Sorensen had a game changing performance. The Star Tightend was one of the major recruits a couple years ago in NC and was a major pick up for the Pirates. Last season, his performance was underwhelming. He failed to really get himself involved, though some of the blame could be put on the coaching staff. Not to mention ball hog Jacob Bensen who was one of the best receivers in the country last season. But still, you would have liked to have seen more from him. Some off season commentators have even thrown out the suggestion that he might simply be a bust who was rated to highly in high school. We here at the Carolinan believe this tweet might have been fueled a bit by some of those comments. He came out and just balled out.
(So) TE Will Sorensen, 7 Receptions ,162 Yards Receiving, 3 Touchdowns.
A five star recruit, Will Sorensen came out of high school as one of the best TE in the nation. ECU Locked him down quickly knowing the value of the position for a guy like Kyler Wilson. When you are behind a young and struggling offensive line who cant give you enough time for the receivers to create separation, a strong TE who can give the young QB a safety net, he was a key pickup. As stated earlier, his debut season was, frankly not good. The hope this season is that he can be more of a key that the defense has to plan around. After 162 yards and 3 touchdowns on only 7 receptions, Defenses are sure to take notice. We might even see Corners and safetys guarding the young Sorensen instead of linebackers if he can put up a couple more games like this.
But we would be remiss if didn't mention the play of Kyler Wilson. The junior QB completed 23 of 36 passes for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. No interceptions. With support from the run game, the offense looked far more balance than at any point last season. A major key that Headcoach Weeze tried to find last season. From the looks of things, he might have finally found it.
(Fr) DE James Stone 2 Tackles, 1 Sack.
The Defense came to play Thursday as well. The defense allowed only 145 yards through the air, and came up with an interception by Corner Reshad Lipscomb. But the Passrush was there as well as Freshman James stone came up with his first career sack in his first game. Stone was in a battle with senior Aden Daniels for the second starting DE spot. A last minute choice, the coaching staff went with Stone and their decision was rewarded. Rory McLaughlin also had a good day, the (So) DT had five tackles, and 2 tackles for loss. A productive day for the D-line. The wolfpack had a good day on the ground, 109 yards rushing and two touchdowns by Running Back Takoda Sheldon, and 122 yards over all. The Pirates in general have struggled heavily against the run the past couple seasons. The Last two seasons, they have ranked in the bottom 3 in Rushing yards allowed. As the Front 7 matures, we are hoping to see them improve drastically, because the more time the defense spends on the field, the less time Kyler Wilson spends with the ball in his hands.
The Pirates have Week 1 off, but they will be back Week 2 on Friday night against Kent State. A team who looks to be built similarly to the Pirates, just slightly older. A big part of this game will rely on coaching. Can Coach Weeze figure out how to attack the defense? Can the Pirates Defense slow down their QB and the Kent State runningback who is foaming at the mouth to play a defense who hasn't shown the ability to stop the run? More importantly, can the Pirates start out 2-0 for the first time since 2020? It will be an exciting game for Pirate Nation and might show off just how much they have grown. Can they put together good wins and take advantage of home field.