Arrrrrgh-mazing Finish!!! - ECU Wins 51 to 49

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- In his first start at East Carolina, quarterback Dominique Davis provided one of the greatest finishes in the history of the program.

Davis heaved a 33-yard touchdown pass to a leaping Justin Jones as time expired to give the Pirates a wild 51-49 win against Tulsa on Sunday in coach Ruffin McNeill's debut at his alma mater.

Davis was 27 of 46 for 383 yards with five touchdown passes - two to Lance Lewis, two to Dwayne Harris - and one rushing TD in his first start for East Carolina (1-0, 1-0 Conference USA).

"That was the greatest experience of my life," said Davis, the former Boston College quarterback said. "There was probably people in the stands - our fans - who probably thought the game was over. But I told the team, 'Just trust.' As soon as I let it go, I knew he was going to catch it."

G.J. Kinne finished 28 of 43 for 399 yards for Tulsa (0-1, 0-1). His fifth touchdown pass - a 3-yard toss to Charles Clay with 1:22 left - appeared to have been enough for the Golden Hurricane.

But Davis whisked the Pirates downfield in nine plays. On the final snap, he launched the ball high toward a handful of players in the end zone. The 6-foot-8 Jones outjumped everyone for it, setting off a massive celebration.

"I've been doing this for 24 years, and that's never happened to me," Tulsa coach Todd Graham said. "We usually have a play we execute to put pressure on the quarterback so he can't make that throw. We called the play and didn't execute. That's our fault."

A brief review upheld the call and the Pirates, who were flagged for an excessive celebration, skipped the extra point and instead took a knee.

"I guess I'm just lucky I'm taller than everybody," Jones said. "My first thought (in the pile-up in the end zone) was just get the ball safe, and the next thing I know, I felt like I'm being crushed by a truck."

The teams combined for 1,117 total yards and the lead changed hands 12 times during a wacky, back-and-forth C-USA shootout in which defense seemed optional. Harris caught seven passes for 121 yards while Lewis finished with six grabs for 105 yards.

Those two were the biggest beneficiaries of Davis' big day. He led BC to the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference championship game, but left the program and transferred to a junior college. He signed with East Carolina to play for Skip Holtz, but he faced an uncertain future when Holtz left for South Florida in January and McNeill returned to his alma mater to replace him.

The best-kept secret in Greenville this summer was who would start under center, and nobody knew who McNeill had picked until Davis trotted off the sideline for the first play from scrimmage. Davis said he was told "a while ago" that he would start but to keep it under wraps, though McNeill maintained all week that he was waffling between Davis and sophomore walk-on Brad Wornick.

Looks like he picked the right guy.

Davis had touchdown passes of 43 and 30 yards to Lewis and 6 and 34 yards to Harris. He scored on a 2-yard keeper on the fourth play of the fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, his counterpart was just as productive. Kinne had TDs of 12 yards to Clay Sears, 3 yards to Jameel Owens and 75 yards to Willie Carter before he got a fortunate bounce on one of his throws. His hard pass into the end zone bounced high off Thomas Roberson. The crowd had already started cheering an apparent incompletion when Trae Johnson leaped and pulled it out of the air. That 11-yard touchdown put Tulsa up 42-38.

Still, there was 8:15 remaining - plenty of time for more fireworks.

Two plays after Davis' 26-yard pass to Joe Womack on fourth-and-3, he tossed a quick strike to Harris, who cut across the middle of the field and scored from 34 yards out to make it 45-42 with 6:05 left.

But that only meant it was Tulsa's turn to score again. Kinne led the Golden Hurricane 76 yards in 11 plays, capped by the flip to Clay that seemingly had decided it.

"We knew we had to put up a lot of points," Harris said. "We really took that as a challenge as an offensive team, and the quarterback took that as a challenge to get the ball to the receivers and make plays, and that's what we did."


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 15, 2010 at 01:05 PM
    To Tarheel4life, you need to listen to Mr. L. Horn. He knows what he is talking about.
  • by Mr. L. Horn Location: Austin on Sep 14, 2010 at 11:19 AM
    Workinman: If UNC was so great why did Mac Brown leave for greener pastures. Face it, the ACC can't compete on the national stage in football. UNC should stick to round ball..oh wait they can't play that anymore. As I recall DUKE had your number last season and won the NC! ECU will accomplish great things in football before UNC will..I promise you that!
  • by ECU mom Location: Kinston on Sep 14, 2010 at 09:21 AM
    HEY...DS...it is obvious you are not an ECU graduate. Your grammatically incorrect sentence is amusing.
  • by DS on Sep 13, 2010 at 06:04 AM
    Hey John I thought that all you had to do to get an ECU graduate off your porch was to cave in and just buy the magazines!
  • by John who? Location: Greenville on Sep 11, 2010 at 07:36 PM
    To John, Big Woop! And you think you matter to Greenville or ECU???? So what, you never heard of ECU until you moved here. Get a life and go back where you came from. You are an idiot!
  • by John Location: Greenville on Sep 11, 2010 at 03:10 PM
    Big woop. ECU only matters in Greenville. NEVER heard of the school before I moved here. How do you get an ECU graduate off your front porch? Pay them for the pizza.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 10, 2010 at 06:38 AM
    To Pack Man, you wont even beleive this, but I was actually at that game (as bad as I hate the whole triangle and all 3 of their universities). I was at that game with my ECU clothes. However, I did'nt even pull for anybody. ECU did'nt play that weekend, and I got free tickets to go there, so I went. I took a little bit of trashtalk, but I told them, yeah, that's cause the ECU pirates were the only team in NC to make a bowl game the year before (Hawaii) and won it over Boise State, who has now gone up to #3.
  • by ECU mom Location: Kinston on Sep 10, 2010 at 05:42 AM
    Hey JDLadd. Get off your pad and get a life. ECU has won the respect and utmost dedication from their students and alumni......and then my friend the championships will follow. PS.don't do soccer or golf. Prefer hockey and baseball.
  • by The Pirate Lady Location: Grimesland on Sep 9, 2010 at 03:57 PM
    Pack Man, that was a great game between State and UNC. I was glad State pulled out the win.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 9, 2010 at 01:52 PM
    JD, ECU will win a national championship in baseball within 10 years. I'll bet a few hundred dollars they will. I'd be surprised if it does not happen. The only reason why it wont happen in football is because of this Bogus Crock of S*** system (BCS). Other than that I'm expecting a 12-0 season within the next decade as well. Allen if that happened, ECU would have been in a BCS bowl. Against who? Probably Tech, Cincy, Texas, or even Utah! Quentin Cotton and Stanley Bryant being hurt was the only reason why ECU did'nt go undefeated that year, 2008 that is.
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