Purple pandemonium in G-Vegas

Published 7:52 am Tuesday, September 23, 2014

From henceforth I’m referring to them as the “Elite Eight.”

Sitting somewhere in a heavily-tinted sea of purple-and-gold clad fans attending the UNC at ECU game on Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville were eight individuals who earned tickets through Roanoke-Chowan Publications. As far as I know, seven of the eight were ECU fans. The eighth roots for the boys in powder blue….but all of you witnessed history.

When you are bouncing your grandkids on your knee sometimes in the future…or just sitting around the office telling tales of your claim to fame in life, those eight individuals can weave identical stories.

“Yep, I was there in 2014 when the Pirates set all those records when they spanked the Tar Heels, 70-41,” they can say.

They weren’t alone in witnessing this record-shattering contest as Saturday’s official attendance was listed at 51,082….which made them part of the largest crowd ever to take in a game at “Rowdy Dowdy.”

And what a game it was.

Thanks to three consecutive Saturdays at work, I finally took one off. I spent the morning and early afternoon in the yard….don’t need to explain more about how out-of-shape my yard was after three weeks of total neglect.

Anyway, I hurried to complete my chores so I could catch the ECU-UNC game on the tube. To show my true loyalty, I chose to wear Wolfpack Red while watching the game.

At the end, I was happy….not because the Pirates pounded the ‘Heels, but glad that NC State wasn’t ECU’s opponent on this particular day….the final outcome may have been even more lopsided.

The 70 points and 789 yards of offense surrendered by UNC were the most they have ever given up in a football game. For those of you wondering, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill began playing the sport of football in 1888.

How proficient were the Pirates…or lackluster the ‘Heels defense? Try this on for size, four of ECU’s 10 touchdowns, counting a “pick-six” to open the second half, took less than 60 seconds to occur. I missed two of those while searching the fridge for something cold to drink.

Five ECU touchdowns came on plays that covered 25 or more yards, including their opening score (with the game less than one minute old) on a 55-yard pass from Shane Carden to Trevon Brown. That was one of four TD passes by Carden on the day as he threw for 438 yards. That’s one yard less than what UNC’s entire offense had in total yards (439) combined.

And if you think that Carden is a one-man show for the Pirates, you’d be dead wrong. Breon Allen rushed for a game and career-high 211 yards and two TD’s. One of those (a 44-yard scamper to paydirt) was a simple stretch play (sweep left) on a 3rd down and 28 play. There was another run of 84 yards (to inside the 5) on a simple trap play right up the middle.

We can all agree that ECU’s offense is potent; but the biggest statement is that Carolina’s defense is…in a word…bad.

On the way home from work last Tuesday, I caught Larry Fedora’s weekly coach’s show on the radio. He was asked how the Tar Heels spent their bye week on the schedule, to which he answered, “working hard on fundamentals.”

After surrendering nearly 800 yards of total offense and 10 TD’s on Saturday in Greenville, and knowing that UNC used gimmick plays to score twice in the first half (a futile effort to stay within striking distance), perhaps my vision of fundamentals differs greatly from coach Fedora’s.

A setting sun over Dowdy-Ficklen on Saturday evening cast the sky in purple. Perhaps it was a fitting way to end this game and send the majority of purple-clad Pirates – including seven of the eight attending courtesy of RCP – home happy.

Cal Bryant is Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. He can be contacted at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.  

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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