GREENVILLE, N.C. - East Carolina will open a two-game road swing and resume Conference USA play when it travels to UAB Thursday for an 8:00 p.m. (ET) nationally-televised matchup against the Blazers at Legion Field. The Pirates, who are just one victory away from becoming bowl-eligible for the fifth-straight season, will also try to snap a two-game losing skid after falling to UCF and Navy in successive weeks. ECU, which is 5-4 at the nine-game mark for the fourth time in the last five years, will close out its 2010 intra-divisional schedule against UAB before facing Rice and SMU the next two weeks.
Sharing A Pirate Bond
East Carolina's Ruffin McNeill and UAB's Neil Callaway share an association dating back to the late 1970s while both played key roles in the Pirates' success under the legendary Pat Dye ... As a starting strong safety and part-time offensive assistant coach, respectively, McNeill and Callaway helped the Pirates roll to a 9-3 mark and an Independence Bowl victory in 1978 before following with a 7-3-1 campaign in 1979.
East Carolina leads 5-4 ... The Pirates have won three straight and four of the last five meetings after UAB enjoyed a run of three consecutive victories beginning in 1999 ... The Pirates are just 1-3 in four visits to Birmingham, but have taken four of five in Greenville.
Legion Field & Alabama Memories
East Carolina's 17-13 victory against the Blazers in 2008 marked the Pirates' first win at Legion Field and in the state of Alabama since 1965 - snapping a 10-game losing skid ... In addition to UAB (1-3), ECU has squared off against Auburn (0-3) and Alabama (0-1), and participated in three Alabama-based bowls (0-2/Mobile, 0-1/Birmingham) in the modern era.
Non-Saturday Mayhem - Wins In Six Of The Last Eight
East Carolina is 12-15 on non-Saturday games in the last 15-plus years, when it became a regular "alternative" to the game's scheduling staple ... Oddly, the Pirates have fared better on the road - compiling a 9-6 record compared to a 3-9 slate in Greenville ... In terms of days (including bowls), East Carolina is 4-0 on Sundays, 0-1 on Mondays, 2-1 on Tuesdays, 0-2 on Wednesdays, 3-7 on Thursdays and 3-4 on Fridays ... Since 2005, the Pirates have defeated Boise State (bowl/Sunday/'07), UCF (Sunday/'08), UTEP (Friday/'08), Memphis (Tuesday/'09) and Tulsa (Sunday/in '09 & '10), while losing to Kentucky (bowl/Friday/'08) and Virginia Tech (Thursday/'09).
A Thursday Night Special
Although they have split their last six, the Pirates have posted an all-time record of 3-7 when playing on Thursday - last experiencing action in 2009 (vs. Virginia Tech) ... A closer look (bold/road):
Date Opponent Result Attendance
Nov. 27, 1986 at Miami/Fla. L, 36-10 30,202
Oct. 29, 1992 Southern Miss L, 38-21 33,249
Sept. 9, 1993 Syracuse L, 41-22 33,050
Oct. 10, 1996 Southern Miss L, 28-7 34,480
Nov. 13, 1997 Cincinnati W, 14-7 25,509
Nov. 5, 1998 at Cincinnati W, 24-21 19,098
Sept. 7, 2000 Virginia Tech L, 45-28 45,123
Oct. 19, 2000 at Louisville W, 28-25 38,024
Nov. 15, 2001 Louisville L, 39-34 39,775
Nov. 5, 2009 Virginia Tech L, 16-3 45,569
No Rest For The Weary
For only the 11th time in program history (and first since 2003), East Carolina will play a game with five or less days of preparation time when it meets UAB Thursday ... The Pirates are 3-5-2 overall, but just 1-3 in short "turn-around" contests in the last 10 years - splitting a pair in 2000 and suffering setbacks in 2001 and 2003 (lost to West Virginia on Sept. 6 after falling at Cincinnati on Sept. 1).
A Growing Red Cross List
With DE Marke Powell's (arm) late addition to the "season-ending injury" list prior to the Navy game, East Carolina's defense has now lost three members of its front line depth chart this season (along with DE Justin Dixon/knee/North Carolina and DT Michael Brooks/knee/UCF) ... Brooks (6/29) and Powell (4/23) combined to make 10 starts and 52 tackles in 2010.
The unit, which welcomed back only two of 11starters this season to begin with, has also been without FS Dekota Marshall (leg) all year and CB Rahkeem Morgan (ankle) for the past two games ... The Pirates' lack of depth forced head coach Ruffin McNeill to activate true freshman DE Lee Pegues from redshirt status for the Navy game.
America's Top Point Producer
Dominique Davis will begin play this week as the nation's leader in points responsible for with an average of 22.0 per game (198 points in nine games) ... In all, Davis has thrown 26 TD passes and rushed for seven more:
No. Name (class) School G Pts Pts/G
1. Dominique Davis (Jr.) East Carolina 9 198 22.0
2. Cam Newton (Jr.) Auburn 10 210 21.0
3. Colin Kaepernick (Sr.) Nevada 9 180 20.0
4. Alex Carder (Soph.) Western Michigan 9 162 18.0
5. Andrew Luck (Soph.) Stanford 9 158 17.6
Matt Barkley (Soph.) Southern Cal 9 158 17.6
*Newton and Davis faced each other as starting QBs in the `09 NJCAA title game
Leading The Nation ... Part II
Davis also currently first nationally in completions per game, connecting on 30.9 of his attempts per contest ... A closer look:
No. Name (class) School G Com Com/G
1. Dominique Davis (Jr.) East Carolina 9 278 30.9
2. Landry Jones (Soph.) Oklahoma 9 263 29.2
3. Taylor Potts (Sr.) Texas Tech 9 255 28.3
4. Ben Chappell (Sr.) Indiana 9 241 26.8
5. Bryant Moniz (Jr.) Hawai'i 10 255 25.5
Conference USA Fireworks
Although their 35-point outing against UCF was a program league-game low this season, the Pirates have still scored 216 points in their five Conference USA contests - an average of 43.2 per game.