Pirates Unleash Hell on Aggies
Team Bounces Back in Tune-up Game Against New Mexico State
Pirates charge the field before a sold-out crowd for a 41-14 victory.
After what has felt like weeks, the Pirates footbal returned to Greenville this week as they took on New Mexico State. The Aggies came into this week already 0-2. A bottom feeder trying to rebuild, the Pirates were expected to win this weekends matchup. There for the key for this week wasn't to win, instead it was to look like a team who should win. They brutally did that as they easily took care of the Aggies 41-14. NM-States two touchdowns came in the second half after the win was already assured.
A heavy critisim for this team during the week 1 rivalry match-up was the continued lack of a running game. The wolfpack contained Baldwin to just under 20 yards. This week, he came out and ran a hard 74 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries. This is the first time a runningback had a 5YPC average as a starting back since Eli Tuitama. A back who hasn't played for ECU since the 2020 season. The 82 combined rushing yards is also the highest mark the team has seen in sometime. Admittedly, the aggies are one of the easier teams on this seasons schedule, however to see it at all hopefully is a sign that the team might have figured out their rushing woes.
The two stars of this game is very easily Kyler Wilson and Jacob Benson. Wilson in only two games, has thrown for 690 yards, 7 touchdowns with zero turnovers. He is averaging 345 yards a game. Benson in only two games has made 24 receptions for 324 yards, 4 touchdowns and only 1 drop. The big body receiver has been giving fits for opposing defenses. Almost 14 yards per catch, he is currently averaging 162 yards a game. While the fans are loving this connection, it has to be noted they aren't the only onews watching this. To open up conference play, ECU has a four game stretch of the four toughest teams in the conference. It is safe to assume all four of these teams are already putting together film on these two for their own matchup with them. The most important part of the offense over the last two games has been the lack of turnovers. Taking care of the football this season has been a priority for the Pirates. While Wilson only threw 6 interceptions last season, the team lost the ball through fumbles at pivital moments on a number of occasions last season.
"We have a young defense, and an offense going through some growing pains. Turning the ball over hurts us more than you can imagine." Coach Weeze said in his post game comments. "Which is why im glad to see these kids taking care of the ball. We have to keep that up and carry it through the season."
While the offensive explosion has been great to watch so far this season, it would be shameful not to mention the improved defense. The defense has, for the most part, been exteamly steady. If you take away one 63 yard touchdown run, the rushing defense has given up less than 75 yards a game on the ground. A massive improvement over last season. Through the air, the defense has only given up 218 yards per game. More importantly, the secondary(these young CBs to exact) have been forcing turn overs. 3 interceptions recorded already on the season. This stat alone is an amazing thing as the defense last season only managed 9 interceptions last season.
"To see these very young guys get involved, and to see them force turn overs..its a good feeling. We didn't do that enough last season and we saw where that lead us." Both starting corners, and their dimepack corner have all managed 1 take away. The defense is also continuing to get after the quarterback with four different players all recording sacks so far on the season.
Friday was a tune-up game. There is no other way to say it. The team came out with a couple changes to their gameplan and it seem to have work. Now they get to go and play an underperforming UAB team looking for its first win. UAB is similiar to NC State. They may not have the greatest team, but they match up well for ECU. Turnovers, mistakes and whose defense can hold up will be the deciding factor. If the Pirates can keep the ball in their hands, they should walk away and enter conference play 2-1. Furthermore, this is the last chance they will have to make changes before the season becomes real. They're headed in the right direction and UAB, despite their record is a tough team who will be a good test for the Pirates.