Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflecto
East Carolina football players celebrate with offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley, left, after last Friday’s overtime victory against Marshall at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (Aileen Devlin/The Daily Reflector)
By Nathan Summers
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
The East Carolina football team will play either in the Dec. 22 Beef O’Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., or the Dec. 21 R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the university confirmed in a statement on Monday.
As expected, the Pirates’ bowl destination will be determined by the outcome of Saturday’s Conference USA championship game between East Division champion UCF and West Division winner Tulsa.
If the Knights win the game, they will accept a bid to the AutoZone Liberty Bowl and the 8-4 Pirates will trek to Tropicana Field, the home of baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays, for the first time against an opponent yet to be named.
If UCF loses, the Knights will head to the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl and the Pirates will head to the New Orleans Bowl, also a first, where they’ll square off with the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns as announced on Monday.
The Pirates’ last bowl game was the 2010 Military Bowl, where they lost to Maryland, and they have qualified for bowls six of the last seven years.
One of the many turning points in East Carolina’s thrilling 65-59, double-overtime win against Marshall last week happened on the very first play of overtime.
Whereas the Pirates could not muster an OT touchdown when they needed one in last year’s season finale loss to the Thundering Herd, this time when extra time came ECU wasted no time.
On the first play from scrimmage in the first OT, quarterback Shane Carden rifled a touchdown pass to senior outside receiver Andrew Bodenheimer, immediately putting Marshall on its heels.
“We knew what play we were running and we’ve run it a few times,” Bodenheimer said of the TD, his second in as many games. “Shane told me to be ready for it because we had hit (slot receiver Justin) Hardy a bunch of times on the inside, and they had started creeping on him. The corner came down, I saw him bite a little bit and Shane made a great throw, put it where only I could catch it and I made a play.”
The big TO
Despite being blasted for 633 yards at the hands of Marshall, the ECU victory was nonetheless made possible by one big defensive play.
The game was deadlocked 59-59 heading into the second overtime and the Herd had the ball first. Sophomore defensive end Chrishon Rose got a hand on the ball carried by Marshall running back Essray Taliaferro, pried it loose and outside linebacker Derrell Johnson was there to cover it and give the ECU offense a first down on the 11-yard line.
“That’s something our coaches have prepared us for,” Johnson said of the game’s decisive play, which led to Carden’s winning rush TD. “You never know what play may happen, what may happen in a game or how long a game may last. Our coaches do a good job of keeping us prepared to play as long as we need to.”
Carden not only accounted for both OT touchdowns, but he also led a game-tying drive with less than two minutes to play to force overtime.
In all, he accounted for six touchdowns. That, combined with Carden’s career-high and school-record 439 pass yards in the game, earned the QB C-USA Offensive Player of the Week honors.
It was his third time being selected by the league for the honor.
Contact Nathan Summers at email@example.com or 252-329-9595.
via The Daily Reflector.