Junior Dominique Davis scored on a one-yard quarterback keeper and freshman Damon Magazu intercepted Russell Wilson on the last play of overtime as the East Carolina football team captured a 33-27 victory over in-state rival N.C. State Saturday in front of a record crowd of 50,410 at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The Pirates improve to 4-2 overall and have won four of their first six games for the first time since the 2000 season.
Davis completed his first 14 pass attempts on his way to a 376-yard, two-passing touchdown performance. He also set career highs in completions (37) and attempts (54) while ripping off a personal-best 22-yard scamper in the first quarter. The 376 aerial yards were the eighth-highest in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium history.
Additionally, senior inside receiver Dwayne Harris tallied a season-high 260 all-purpose yards, bringing his total to 1,807 in his last 10 games. He is now eighth on the Conference USA career chart with 5,144, passing Arnold Jackson (Louisville), Darius Marshall (Marshall) and Kevin Smith (UCF) during the contest.
Defensively, senior linebacker Dustin Lineback recorded a personal-best 14 tackles, the most by any ECU player this season. Freshman Derrell Johnson and senior Melvin Patterson also racked up career highs with nine stops each.
The Pirates struck first, taking the ball 61 yards in eight plays and scoring on a five-yard run by senior Jonathan Williams. He accounted for 25 yards on the drive, including a career-long 21-yard reception that put ECU inside the Wolfpack 20-yard line. After the Pirates stopped N.C. State on its first possession, Travis Simmons fumbled the punt return, giving the Wolfpack the ball at the East Carolina 17. However, a 26-yard field goal attempt by Josh Czajkowski sailed wide, leaving the score at 7-0.
The Pirates stretched their advantage to 14 on the ensuing drive, taking the ball at their own 20 and using a Lance Lewis 11-yard reception to find the endzone as the clock showed 3:49 remaining in the opening quarter. It was Lewis' fourth touchdown catch in his last three appearances.
A 38-yard punt return by Harris after the Wolfpack's second possession enabled ECU to take the ball at the N.C. State 19-yard line with 1:24 to go. Justin Jones was then the beneficiary of Davis' second touchdown throw of the day as he caught a three-yard pass over the middle as the clock wound down to five seconds. The quarter would subsequently end with Davis completing his first 14 attempts and racking up 109 yards.
It took the Wolfpack just 1:51 at the beginning of the second quarter to respond, when Wilson fired a 49-yard touchdown pass to a streaking T.J. Graham. After forcing the Pirates to punt on their next possession, N.C. State took the ball back and drove 88 yards in just 2:24 to close the deficit to 21-14.
East Carolina re-established its two-possession lead with 6:25 left in the half when Michael Barbour nailed a 35-yard field goal. After the Wolfpack reached the four-yard line due to a roughing the passer penalty, Wilson fumbled the ensuing snap, allowing Lineback to recover the ball and send the Pirates the other way. However, Williams gave the ball right back to the visitors when he lost control at the one-yard line, allowing Dean Haynes to punch the ball into the endzone and bring N.C. State to within three points.
With the Pirates later driving down the field, Harris fumbled on an end-around play and the Wolfpack took over on their own 38. ECU forced a punt, however, keeping its advantage at the 9:11 mark.
The Pirates looked poised to score when Andrew Bodenheimer caught a crossing route down to the N.C. State 19-yard line, but Giavanni Ruffin fumbled at the goal line and into the endzone for a touchback. The teams would remain scoreless for the remainder of the quarter as East Carolina entered the final frame clinging to a three-point lead.
A six-minute and three-second drive which took 3:13 off the fourth-quarter clock resulted in a field goal for the Wolfpack as Czajkowski converted from 22 yards out.
Emanuel Davis stopped a N.C. State drive with just over eight minutes left when he picked off his first pass of the season at the Pirate 28, but ECU couldn't muster any momentum as Davis was sacked just three plays later.
The Wolfpack took the ball back and melted three minutes off the clock before Czajkowski put his team ahead for the first time with a 37-yard field goal. However, Barbour answered right back with a 31-yarder to tie the score with 1:04 remaining. On the next possession, Wilson threw a deep ball that was intercepted by Bradley Jacobs. The Pirates had seven seconds left for one last play in regulation but Davis downed the ball to send the contest into overtime.
N.C. State won the coin toss and elected to go on defense first. After Davis scored on a quarterback keeper, Barbour missed the extra point wide right. Three-straight run plays by Mustafa Greene drove the Wolfpack to the East Carolina 17-yard line before Magazu recorded the deciding interception.
The Pirates return to league action next Saturday, hosting Marshall for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 4:15 p.m. and the contest is scheduled to be broadcast regionally by Comcast Sports South and locally by WITN-TV.