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ECU Beats Memphis 35-17

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Dominique Davis threw for 307 yards and three touchdowns and East Carolina rallied to defeat Memphis 35-17 on Saturday night.

Davis completed 28 of 37 passes, and the Pirates (2-4, 2-1 Conference USA) snapped a two-game losing streak. He also added a 1-yard scoring run in the fourth quarter.

East Carolina finished with 524 yards of total offense, including 367 through the air.

For Memphis (1-6, 0-3), the woes continued as the Tigers were held to 233 yards of total offense and 56 on the ground, while dropping their fourth straight.

Davis completed a pair of 12-yard scoring passes - one each to Derrick Harris and Lance Lewis -- and a 58-yarder to Justin Hardy. Torrance Hunt added 98 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries for the Pirates.

Memphis scored its first touchdown on Martin Ifedi's 1-yard fumble return. Taylor Reed hit Tannar Rehrer on an 8-yard TD with just over 5 minutes left for Memphis' other touchdown.

The Tigers' only other score came in the first quarter on a 19-yard field goal by Paulo Henriques.

East Carolina overcame a somewhat lackluster first half when the Pirates trailed 10-7. The Pirates outscored Memphis 28-7, and collected 305 yards of offense after halftime.

"They obviously came out in the second half and took advantage of us not showing up," Memphis coach Larry Porter said. "As a result, they took a win from us. It was obvious to me that we started strong in the first quarter, sustained it in the second quarter and in the second half, we just didn't show up."

The victory was a strong rebound for the Pirates, who lost 56-3 last week to Houston. East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill was one of the Pirates that said the key was putting that performance behind them and moving on.

"It was just staying positive and being excited about playing the next game," Davis said. "That's what we did the whole week of practice. We just figured out what we needed to do to be successful. That was to be excited with everything you do. Just stay excited. If you make a mistake, we will get over it."

One of the key things East Carolina had to overcome was playing without leading rusher Reggie Bullock who was out with a left leg injury suffered in the first half against Houston.

That opened the door for Hunt, who entered the game with 65 yards on 12 carries in the Pirates' previous five games.

"In the first half, it was tough up front, and (Memphis) did a good job with line movements," McNeill said. "The holes and the creases were not there, but Torrance did a good job of staying patient and finding the seams. He has great speed and great balance."

Memphis, meanwhile, also was dealing with injury issues. The Tigers started third-string quarterback Skylar Jones, who had not taken a snap this year. Previous starters Reed and Andy Summerlin both are banged up, leading to Jones taking the reins.

Taylor, who was suffering from a sternum injury, came in only after Jones was injured early in the fourth quarter.

Memphis led 10-7 at the break despite the Tigers being held to only 103 yards of offense.

Neither team ran the ball well in the half, with Memphis recording only 8 yards on the ground, while East Carolina managed slightly better at 14 yards rushing.

Ifeldi's fumble recovery for a touchdown marked the first score for the Tigers' defense since 2007 against Arkansas State.

Once Memphis took the lead into the break, it was like a wakeup call for East Carolina, and a reminder that they had committed to have fun after suffering through the Houston loss.

"When you don't have success with young people, it's tough," McNeill said of the early season record. "I think one of the key things that provides confidence and success is having a chance to have some wins."

Previous Story:
Dominique Davis ran for a 1 yard touchdown to give ECU a 35-10 lead against Memphis in the fourth quarter.

Dominique Davis dropped a perfect pass into Lance Lewis for a 12 yard touchdown early in the fourth quarter to put the Pirates up 28-10.

Dominique Davis connected with Justin Hardy on a 58 yard completion for a touchdown as ECU leads 21-10 against Memphis in the second half.

Torrance Hunt scored from 9 yards out after an Emanuel Davis interception to give the Pirates their first lead of the day at 14-10.

Derrick Harris, younger brother of former ECU star Dwayne Harris, caught a touchdown pass from Dominique Davis to put the Pirates on the board against Memphis.

Memphis recovered a Dominique Davis fumble and scored a touchdown to push their lead to 10-0 against ECU in the first half.


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