East Carolina Beats Memphis 56-40

The East Carolina Pirates moved one step closer to a possible Conference USA Championship.

The Pirates, on the Memphis Tiger's Turf, jumped out to an early lead, largely in part to the play of senior running back Chris Johnson.

Chris Johnson rushed for a career-high 301 yards and four touchdowns as East Carolina beat Memphis 56-40.

Johnson scored on runs of 16, 44, 70 and 50 yards. The Pirates finished the day with 491 yards on the ground.

Johnson's rushing total was the second-highest in school history, trailing only Scott Harley's 351 yards against North Carolina State in 1996.

Patrick Pinkney also threw two touchdown passes as the Pirates maintained their hold on first place in the East Division of Conference USA.