East Carolina Beats Memphis 49-27, Moves To 2-0

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Dominique Davis threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores to help East Carolina beat Memphis 49-27 on Saturday.

Derek Blacknall returned an interception 46 yards for a touchdown in a dominating first quarter for the Pirates (2-0, 2-0 Conference USA), who are off to a fast start under new coach Ruffin McNeill. East Carolina has won its first two games for only the second time this decade and travels to No. 13 Virginia Tech next weekend.

Jon Williams ran for 109 yards and scored for the Pirates, who scored 51 points in their opener and have already as many 40-point games this season as they did during last year's run to a second straight league title.

The Tigers (0-2, 0-1) never came close to making this a game, committing three turnovers that led to touchdowns as they fell behind 28-3 in the opening period.

Memphis had a terrible start to Larry Porter's coaching tenure last week, giving up 569 total yards and committing eight penalties in the 49-7 loss at Mississippi State. The best thing they could claim from this game is they didn't let the final margin look a whole lot worse.

As for McNeill, the former East Carolina defensive back didn't have much to complain about early. The only problem was the way the Pirates slowed down after building that big lead.

Davis turned in another solid performance while directing the no-huddle spread offense McNeill and offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley brought with them from Texas Tech. After throwing for 383 yards and the last-play touchdown to beat Tulsa, Davis connected with Giavanni Ruffin and Dwayne Harris for first-quarter scores and completed 13 of his first 14 passes.

But perhaps more importantly, a defense with only two returning starters showed improvement after giving up 49 points last week. First it recovered a botched snap deep in Memphis territory to set up Davis' first TD pass, then Blacknall grabbed a badly overthrown pass from Cannon Smith over the middle and raced to the end zone for a 14-0 lead just 5 1/2 minutes in.

East Carolina also recovered a fumble on a handoff between Smith and Jerrell Rhodes to set up Williams' 2-yard run for the 28-3 lead.

Even when things went well for Memphis, it didn't last. Backup quarterback Ryan Williams replaced Cannon for the second quarter and threw a 32-yard touchdown pass, only to see Paulo Henriques kick the ball out of bounds and give the Pirates the ball at the 35. Then came a late-hit penalty, followed by Jon Williams dragging several Memphis tacklers about 5 yards on a carry for a first down before Davis scored on a 1-yard keeper to make it 35-10 with 11 minutes left in the half.

Memphis never got within two possessions the rest of the game.

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  • by Sam Location: KittyHawk on Sep 16, 2010 at 06:22 AM
    ......because ECU will beat Rice, UAB, UNC, N.C. State, and SMU.
  • by Dave Location: Behind closed doors on Sep 15, 2010 at 04:20 PM
    Old Guy, I cannot believe that I actually agree with you! I may need to stock up on aspirin because ECU will beat Rice and UAB.
  • by a tip on Sep 15, 2010 at 01:14 PM
    Hi gambling man Hokies by 35 if the qb can throw the ball 10 yards, there is always a reciever wide open against this pirate d about 10 to 15 yards upfield
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 15, 2010 at 01:03 PM
    The defense may be awful, but it will only get better and the offense is legit.
  • by Old Guy Location: Kinston on Sep 15, 2010 at 12:47 PM
    JD,DAVE & SINATRA: You guys definitely have a life, but any positive qualities are definitely lacking. I would hate to be so miserable that I would have to down play the success of anyone in an attempt to make myself feel better. Dave, have you been able to get any type of meaningful employment using those two useless degrees you got from ECU ?? Get over your erroneous feelings of self importance and understand that your comments are just hot air that contributes to Al Gore's global warming theory. Using your logic, every team in a BCS conference should beat ECU everytime they play -- and we already know that doesn't happen. Must drive you crazy when ECU wins, so get ready to take a lot of asprin this season, as there are more victories coming.
  • by getrealfans on Sep 15, 2010 at 12:02 PM
    I graduated from ecu but this pirate defense is awful and over the next month you all will see it in lose after lose against rivals
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 15, 2010 at 10:15 AM
    Yeah and you Gambling man would be known as Losing man over anything you have.
  • by Gambling man on Sep 15, 2010 at 09:58 AM
    I'd put my dollars on VA Tech to easily cover the spread. The Hokies win by at least 30.
  • by Sam Location: Kitty Hawk on Sep 15, 2010 at 09:51 AM
    JD, Tulsa is a really good team and has a decent chance at beating the ranked Houston Cougars. You are the one who said we would lose to Tulsa, and now just because we beat them you now want to say they are terrible. You must think the 2008 Hokies and the 2008 WVU Mountaineers were terrible to as well. You must also think that the Houston team was terrible from last year as well to don't you. Dude you are the one who needs to get off the board. You obviously don't know jack about college football, or even football at all.
  • by Robert Location: Myrtle Beach on Sep 15, 2010 at 08:53 AM
    The ECU VT spread is ECU plus 20. What a joke! You should see all of the people on the Sun Cruz Casino boat in Little River betting huge amounts that ECU will cover the spread. I say ECU wins by 7

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