Pirates Work Final Scrimmage Before Spring Game

Senior running back Dominique Lindsay rushed for a game-high 73 yards while senior quarterback Patrick Pinkney threw for 180 yards, 42 coming on a late first half touchdown strike to Jamar Bryant, to highlight East Carolina's second full intra-squad scrimmage Friday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

Lindsay, who also recorded one reception for 22 yards and came just five yards shy of racking up 100 yards of total offense, shared time with sophomore Jonathan Williams in the backfield for the Pirates' No. 1 offensive unit during the contest. Pinkney, who finished the game completing 12-of-23 passes, found Bryant in the back of the endzone on the last play prior to halftime to account for one of two touchdowns that the No. 1 unit tallied during the afternoon. In addition to the 42-yarder to Bryant, Pinkney also connected with sophomore wide receiver Dwayne Harris (26) and Lindsay (22) on big aerial gainers.

In the opening half, each No. 1 unit faced off against the No. 2 squad across the line of scrimmage while the second period featured a more traditional matchup of equal levels of the depth chart.

“There were some good things out there today," head coach Skip Holtz said. "The offense put together some long drives where they were methodical in moving the ball down the field. Although I thought the hitting was pretty decent, we seem a little tired. We are 12 days into practice and we have three days left, including the spring game. At this point, I don’t think we are in the shape we need to be to go 12 or 15 plays in a row. The scrimmage did not have the intensity that I would have liked on game day but it is hard to replicate that in the spring. We have been beating on each other for 12 days and I think our guys are ready to move on to the season.”

The top unit opened the second half converting three straight third-down plays on the way to its second score - a 10-yard run by senior fullback Jason Simmons. Each squad also produced a pair of Ben Hartman field goals as the Pirates' junior kicker connected from 41 and 38 yards out.

Junior Rob Kass, who completed seven-of-19 passes for 68 yards, opened the scrimmage engineering the No. 2 offense but later split time with Pinkney running both units. Combined, the Pirates finished the game with 625 yards of total offense on 123 plays - an average of 5.1 yards per snap.

In all, East Carolina completed 35-of-67 passes for 424 yards while suffering a pair of interceptions and contributed 201 rushing yards on 56 carries, an average of 3.6 yards per attempt. The No. 3 unit, under the direction of quarterback Taylor Mazzone, who threw for 144 yards on 13-of-17 passing, amassed an additional amount air yards but never faced a rush in a pass skeleton drill format.

In addition to Lindsay's game-high numbers, Williams contributed 61 yards on 11 carries while junior J.R. Rogers added 34 yards on eight attempts and senior Brandon Simmons chipped in 26 yards on eight rushes. Bryant led all receivers with 77 yards on three catches while Harris netted 65 yards on a game-high six receptions. Newly-converted redshirt freshman receiver D.J. McFadden logged a trio of grabs for 34 yards while sophomore transfer T.J. Terrell registered five catches for 27 yards.

Defensively, junior linebacker Nick Johnson was credited with 11 stops and a sack while sophomore transfer tackle Josh Smith tallied eight tackles and redshirt freshman linebacker Steve Spence added seven hits, including one for a loss of seven yards.

The Pirates' defense enjoyed several highlights, using a pair of interceptions to thwart possible scoring drives. Senior walk-on defensive back Kurtis von Bargen picked off a Joe Sloan pass before junior linebacker Lorenzo Osborne stepped in front of a Pinkney attempt and returned it seven yards. In all, East Carolina's defensive unit booked 10 tackles for lost yardage, which included six sacks.

“I am pleased with some of our younger players," Holtz added. "I think they are really stepping up and they have a great chance to help this football team. I also feel that the leadership is starting to evolve from this senior class. However, I still think that it needs to develop a little more as we are not as far along as I would like in terms of that happening. I have seen teams return 18 starters and only win three or four games. Nothing says that we are going to win the conference or go to another bowl game.”

The Pirates will enter their sixth and final week of spring work with workouts Monday and Wednesday at the Cliff Moore Practice Complex before battling in the Purple-Gold Game Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m. at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.