Turnover-Free, Big Play Offensive Attack Highlights Pirates' Annual Spring Game

East Carolina's offensive unit enjoyed a turnover-free performance and used big plays from both its rushing and passing attack to highlight the Pirates' annual Purple-Gold Spring Game at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday afternoon.

ECU quarterbacks Shane Carden, Kurt Benkert, Jonathon Weymann and Jason Connella produced a combined 24-of-35, 245-yard and four touchdown performance while dodging a penetrating defense that was credited with eight tackles for lost yardage and 4.5 sacks.

In all, the Pirate offense accounted for five touchdowns.

"We get three full-contact days (during the spring) and I liked the way we progressed in each three," head coach Ruffin McNeill said. "I thought our offense really came along. They did a great job getting everything together and really got better in the protection and the run game.”

Carden, a senior who earned Conference USA MVP honors a year ago after throwing for 4,139 yards and 33 touchdowns, completed a team-high 10 throws in 15 attempts for 60 yards in limited action.

Junior Jonathon Weymann was 4-of-4 for 22 yards, while freshman walk-on Jason Connella made his only completion count with a 30-yard touchdown toss to Barnes on the afternoon's last play from scrimmage

After surrendering two early scores, the Pirate defense stiffened by keeping the offense out of the end zone on four consecutive possessions. The No. 1 and No. 2 units made stops on five-of-eight third down conversion opportunities to force a new series or punts.

The Pirates were flagged only once by an American Athletic Conference officiating crew during the entire afternoon.

East Carolina will officially close out its spring practice schedule Monday afternoon with a light, non-contact workout at the Cliff Moore Complex.