HOUSTON (AP) - D'Eriq King threw for three touchdowns and ran for a score, the Cougars converted three turnovers into scores, and Houston became bowl eligible, beating East Carolina 52-27 on Saturday.
King was 15-of-21 passing for 330 yards and scored on a 2-yard run on Houston's (6-3, 4-2 American Athletic Conference) opening drive and the Cougars led 21-0 after the first. King threw a 5-yard TD pass to Courtney Lark, a 75-yarder to Steven Dunbar and a 62-yarder to Linell Bonner that was set up by Emeke Egbule's fumble recovery.
Dunbar gained a career-high 171 yards on six receptions and Bonner had seven catches for 147 yards.
Brandon McDowell had a 74-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter as the Houston defense held the Pirates to 36 yards rushing.
Terrell Williams' interception set up Duke Catalon's 22-yard TD run and Mulbah Car scored on a 1-yard run.
Gardner Minshew was 52-of-68 passing for 463 yards for East Carolina (2-7, 1-4), with TD throws of 34 and 9 yards to Trevon Brown, who had 11 receptions for 141 yards, and an 18-yarder to Quay Johnson, who caught 14 passes for 115 yards.
The ECU Pirates traveled to Houston Saturday to take on the Cougars. The Pirates ultimately fell to the Cougars 52-27 making Houston bowl eligible. ECU is now 2-7 for the season.
4th Quarter: Gardner Minshew throws an 18 yard pass to Quay Johnson for a Pirates' touchdown. Cougars up 52-27
4th Quarter: Jake Verity kicks a 52 yard field goal. Houston up 52-20
4th Quarter: Brandon McDowell intercepts the ball and runs 74 yards for a Cougar touchdown. Houston up 52-17
3rd Quarter: Caden Novikoff kicks a 44 yard field goal for Houston. Cougars up 45-17
3rd Quarter: D'Eriq King throws a 62 yard pass to Linell Bonner for a Cougar touchdown. Houston up 42-17
3rd Quarter: D'Eriq King throws a 75 yard pass to Steven Dunbar for a touchdown. Cougars up 35-17
3rd Quarter: Gardner Minshew throws a 9 yard pass Trevon Brown for an ECU touchdown. Houston up 28-17
2nd Quarter: Gardner Minshew throws a 34 yard pass to Trevon Brown for a Pirates' touchdown. Cougars up 28-10
2nd Quarter: Mulbah Car pushes one yard into the endzone for a Cougar touchdown. Houston up 28-3
2nd Quarter: Jake Verity kicks a 22 yard field goal. Cougars up 21-3
1st Quarter: D'Eriq King throws a 5 yard pass to Courtney Lark for a Cougar touchdown. Houston up 21-0
1st Quarter: Duke Catalon rushes 22 yards for a Houston touchdown. Cougars up 14-0
1st Quarter: D'Eriq King rushes two yards for a Cougar touchdown. Houston up 7-0
HOUSTON, Texas – ECU will try to run its American Athletic Conference road record to 2-1 this season when it meets Houston at 12 noon (ET) Saturday inside TDECU Stadium. After knocking off BYU in their last outing, the Pirates hope to record back-to-back late season wins for the first time since downing Tulane and Tulsa successively during the 2014 campaign, ECU's inaugural year in the AAC. Additionally, the Pirates will attempt to post their eighth victory in their last 10 contests immediately following a bye week dating back to 2011.
EAST CAROLINA RECORDS AND STREAKS
Qualified for 10 bowl appearances since 2000 (three of the last five years) ...
Has won 32 of the last 40 games when scoring 30 or more points ...
Has won 19 of the last 22 games when gaining 200 or more rushing yards ...
Has accounted for 400 or more yards of total offense in 15 of the last 20 games ...
Has forced at least one turnover in five-straight games (longest streak since 2014) ...
Has recorded at least one sack in seven of the last eight games ...
Has won 30 of the last 32 games when leading at the half ...
Has won four of six road games at UH ...
Has won four of five games against UH in the month of November ...
ECU leads 7-5 ... Oddly, the Pirates have captured four of six meetings in Houston, but have split six matchups played at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... As previously mentioned, today's battle marks the first American Athletic Conference clash between the two programs.
SCOTTIE MONTGOMERY AGAINST THE COUGARS, (CITY OF) HOUSTON
Despite Scottie Montgomery's seven-year tenure as a collegiate assistant coach (2006-09, 2013-15), Saturday's meeting will be his first-ever against UH ... However, he has played the role of an "opponent" in the city of Houston on one prior occasion, suffering a 17-10 loss to the Texans at what was then known as Reliant Stadium on Oct. 2, 2011 while serving as a wide receivers coach with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
AGAINST THE LONE STAR STATE
The Pirates have won 21 of 33 all-time matchups (21-12) against FBS programs from the state of Texas ... ECU is 7-5 against UH, 4-3 vs. SMU, 3-1 vs. UTEP, 2-2 vs. Rice, 2-1 vs. TCU, 1-0 vs. Texas Tech, 1-0 vs. North Texas and 1-0 against Texas State ... ECU has never faced Baylor, Texas or Texas A&M on the gridiron ... On the road, the Pirates are 9-6 overall when playing Texas-based teams (8-6 in regular season action).
VISITING THE BAYOU CITY ... BY NAME, VENUE NO. 4
The meeting at TDECU Stadium marks the fourth diff erent named venue ECU has played in while visiting the city of Houston ... In addition to a 4-2 record at Robertson Stadium (see last game recap above), the Pirates own an 0-2 record against the Rice Owls at Rice Stadium and were 1-0 when playing at the Astrodome - defeating Texas Tech 40-27 in the 2000 galleryfurniture.com Bowl.
OPENING PLAY AGAINST THE WILD WEST
ECU owns a 2-4 regular season mark (1-2/home, 1-2/road) against the American Athletic Conference's "other side" since the league began divisional play in 2015 - splitting with SMU and Tulsa, while dropping a pair to Navy ... The Pirates were 2-1 in 2015 after defeating the Mustangs and Golden Hurricane, and falling to Navy before turning in a winless (0-3) slate against the same foes in 2016 ... ECU will switch cross-over opponents this year with contests against Houston, Tulane and Memphis ... On the flipside, the Pirates own a 3-11 mark (1-6/home, 2-5/road) against AAC opponents in its own East Division ... ECU's 44-7 victory against UCF in their '15 road finale and a pair of wins vs. Connecticut (41-3 in 2016, 41-38 in 2017) represents the only trio of triumphs ... In all, ECU is 2-1 vs. Connecticut, 1-2 vs. UCF, 0-2 vs. Cincinnati, 0-3 vs. Temple and 0-3 vs. USF.