2011 ECU Football Schedule Released

GREENVILLE, N.C. - Contests against seven bowl qualifiers, including home matchups against Atlantic Coast Conference members Virginia Tech and North Carolina, and a neutral site battle against Southeastern Conference runner-up South Carolina, all highlight East Carolina's complete 2011 football schedule released Thursday by Conference USA.

After the Pirates open the campaign Sept. 3 by renewing a 15-game series with South Carolina at Charlotte's Bank of America Stadium, the Hokies will make their second visit in three years to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Sept. 10. ECU will face off against North Carolina for the third consecutive season Oct. 1 before the Pirates close out their non-conference schedule by visiting Navy in Annapolis three weeks later on Oct. 22.

The matchup against the Gamecocks, who wrapped up the 2010 season with a No. 22 national ranking and appearances in the SEC Championship Game and Chick-fil-A Bowl, will be East Carolina's fifth all-time contest in Charlotte dating back to 1996 and first since stunning Virginia Tech 27-22 in the 2008 opener. While South Carolina enjoys a 10-5 edge in a series that began in 1977, ECU has captured five of the last seven and three of the last four meetings, including a 21-3 decision in 1999 which marked the last contest between the two programs.

The Pirates and Hokies, who are currently in the midst of a nine-game series agreement which began in 2007 and continued with a 49-27 Virginia Tech triumph in Blacksburg last fall, will play each other in Greenville for the seventh time overall and first since a nationally-televised Thursday night 16-3 Hokie victory in 2009. The ACC champion finished its season with an 11-3 record after falling to Stanford in the Orange Bowl last January and earned a No. 16 standing in the final Associated Press Top 25 poll.

Following an off week and its Conference USA opener against UAB, East Carolina will welcome North Carolina to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium for the second time in four overall recent meetings. The Tar Heels, who fell 34-31 to the Pirates during their last visit to Greenville in 2007, turned in an 8-5 mark a year ago and defeated Tennessee in double-overtime at the Music City Bowl.

East Carolina will close out its non-conference slate against a Navy program which posted a 9-4 record in 2010 and made an appearance in the Poinsettia Bowl. The Midshipmens’ triple-option offensive attack, which propelled them to victories over the Pirates in the series opener in 2006 and again last season, stood sixth nationally a year ago with a 284.8 rushing yards per game average.

In addition to playing three AQ Bowl Championship Series-member programs who earned bowl invitations a year ago, the Pirates will face three of last season's Conference USA bowl qualifiers on their schedule. Meetings against Southern Miss (St. Petersburg), UTEP (New Mexico) and UCF (Liberty) will complete ECU's slate against post-season participants.

"I'll put this schedule up against any that are out there," second-year East Carolina Head Coach Ruffin McNeill said. "While the challenge is great, the opportunities that exist for our program certainly surpass those. We'll have to be ready to play from day one, so there's no easing into anything from our standpoint. I know the Pirate Nation is excited to make the short trip to Charlotte and have Virginia Tech and North Carolina at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. They, as always, will play such a key role in our success despite the tough task we face."

Sandwiched between the Virginia Tech and North Carolina tilts, East Carolina will open C-USA play by hosting the Blazers Sept. 24 and begin a run of 10 consecutive weeks of action. Following the Tar Heels' visit, the Pirates will face a three-game roadswing that includes visits to Houston and Memphis on Oct. 8 and Oct. 15, respectively, before finishing out the trip at Navy.

After closing the month of October with a Homecoming date against Tulane in Greenville on the 29th, ECU will follow in November by squaring off against three C-USA East Division opponents and make its second-ever journey to El Paso.

The Pirates will host Southern Miss (Nov. 5) and travel to UTEP a week later before welcoming defending league champion UCF to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Nov. 19. ECU will wrap up regular season play on the road for the first time since 2006 when it meets Marshall Nov. 26.

The 2011 campaign marks the start of a new two-year rotation in C-USA's out-of-division scheduling arrangement as the Pirates will battle the Cougars, Miners and Green Wave over the next pair of seasons after wrapping up a two-year commitment with contests against Rice, SMU and Tulsa the last two years. ECU rolled to a combined 5-1 mark against Houston, UTEP and Tulane when playing a similar format in 2007 and 2008.

While East Carolina will open the campaign by playing three of its first four games at home and close the season by playing three of the last five contests in Greenville, the Pirates will face the challenge of three consecutive road games for the first time since 2002.


Sept. 3 - vs. South Carolina (Charlotte, N.C.)
Sept. 24 - *UAB
Oct. 8 - *at Houston
Oct. 15 - *at Memphis
Oct. 22 - at Navy
Oct. 29 - *TULANE (HC)
Nov. 12 - *at UTEP
Nov. 19 - *UCF
Nov. 26 - *at Marshall
Dec. 3 - C-USA Championship Game (at highest-seed campus site)
Home games in ALL CAPS; *Conference USA game

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  • by Anonymous on Feb 23, 2011 at 02:53 PM
    Jeff Connors is going to be a major upgrade from Mike Golden. The staff brought in a bunch of freshman and JUCO impact players that will improve the defense immensely. Walmart ACC fans, keep your ignorant comments to yourselves. Or better yet, spend a little less time on here, and a little more time actually working toward a college degree.
  • by 2011 Pirate on Feb 15, 2011 at 05:43 PM
  • by Anonymous on Feb 15, 2011 at 01:59 PM
    Darren, I agree with you %100 on Coach Connors. He is a very good coach. However, he was on his way out at NC. Of course Coach Ruff is going to say he is happy about the new S&C coach. That is part of his job. However, Coach Ruff did not want a change. Golden was offered by USF which was going to happen when and if USF had the opening and could come up with the funds which they did. You can thank Terry Holland for Golden's replacement.
  • by Darren Location: Kill Devil Hills on Feb 15, 2011 at 11:09 AM
    RdoubleD, sounds like you are the one who needs to get off of the stuff you try to claim I smoke. You don't know me and you can't explain facts and give details so I suggest you stay off the board and stop trolling with the ignorance. Anonymous, I do realize the defense was dead last, however add the fact that ECU lost 29 players (16 starters), had the YOUNGEST team in the FBS, and also half of the defense was out hurt. Not using this as an excuse, but stating this as a fact. If the coaches did'nt have the needed confidence in the players, then they have no business coaching college football. Also tell me who's choice was it for the S & C Coach, cause from what I was told (former pirate football player) Ruff wanted the change and was happy to see Jeff Connors come back to Greenville. Jeff Connors is a great S & C coach and has had tremendous success everywhere he's been, even in Chapel Hill.
  • by RdoubleD on Feb 12, 2011 at 07:51 PM
    Darren....get off crack.
  • by JDLadd Location: my pad on Feb 11, 2011 at 02:18 PM
  • by Anonymous on Feb 11, 2011 at 01:30 PM
    Hey Darren, just so you know, I'm no hater. I want ECU to win just as much as the next guy. However, the defense was terrible and there is no reason they should have been that bad. They were dead last in Div-1 NCAA. The coaches on that side of the ball don't have the confidence necessary to inspire their players. The players don't trust their position coaches. It is that simple. Also, our new S&C coach was not Ruff's choice. He was told that was going to be his new S&C coach. So....there is also fiction at the top. The honey moon is over and I don't see Coach Ruff lasting past a couple more years.
  • by Darren Location: Kill Devil Hills on Feb 11, 2011 at 11:15 AM
    RdoubleD, Ruff wont have a hard time pulling in recruits. There are already some who have chosen ECU that got offers from several schools, and yes BCS schools. Chevelle Buie who was a heavily recruited (Florida, Miami, and Michigan tried to get him) 4 star kid coming out of Cocoa Beach Florida ended up choosing ECU. If Ruff can get great players like this guy Ruff wont have a hard time pulling recruits. Also, several recruits who went to that ECU-N.C. State game that were being recruited by both schools chose ECU over N.C. State. Anonymous, 6-6 is only optimistic for the haters who want to see ECU suffer. 6-6 is pessimistic for ECU fans and not good enough for about 95% of ECU fans. Haters are just going to hate cause they don't have lives to live.
  • by Darren Location: Kill Devil Hills on Feb 11, 2011 at 11:06 AM
    Those first 2 games are gong to be extremely hard to win. This involves 2 possible national title contenders to start the season off. I expect wins over UAB, UNC, Southern Miss, Marshall, Tulane, Central Florida (revenge game), UTEP, and Memphis with losses against South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Navy, and Houston (if they still have Case Keenum, but hope they don't). Anyways Lets go pirates and IMPROVE ON THE DARN DEFENSE.
  • by Anonymous on Feb 11, 2011 at 07:59 AM
    Personally, I would love to see the series with NCSU and UNC dropped and schedule better games like UGA, FSU, etc. ECU would probablly get stomped in the short term but playing stronger programs would go a long way to building a better program.
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