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ECU playing Houston-ball, McMillian and Mitchell enter national spotlight ahead of showdown with UCF

ECU at UCF Saturday 6 PM
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 5:41 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - ECU has won three straight games after crushing Tulane on Saturday in Greenville. The Pirates now head on the road for the next two weeks with a bye week in between.

They are beginning to play Mike Houston ball as they prepare to face Central Florida on Saturday night.

“That game Saturday is the first game since I have been here that we have looked like the team that I want to be. The film confirmed it,” says ECU head football coach Mike Houston, “We were extremely physical up front both sides of the football. Loved the way our dbs and linebackers ran and hit.... We want to build on that. Consistency, can we do it again. Can we play that way and correct some things we did wrong... if we can play that way week in and week out, you know you’re going to have a shot every weekend.”

Island 2-1 Ja’Quan McMillian has been one of those consistent pieces through 5 games. He leads the FBS in interceptions per game, total picks and passes defended. pro football focus has him evaluated as the top corner in college football right now. That would go to most players heads.

“The team, winning, how can I help my teammates play well that’s how he sees all that,” says Houston, “He’s not, he’s not all about Ja’Quan McMillian.”

“It’s definitely a good feeling, but I owe it all to my team. Without my team none of this would really happen so I thank my team for all that,” says ECU cornerback Ja’Quan McMillian, “You see me making the play but those guys up front getting to the quarterback, forcing bad throws. I owe it to my team.”

On the offense Keaton Mitchell has consistently broken big runs this year and leads the nation in yards per rush averaging over 9 and a half yards per carry so far.

“Gotta keep it consistent,” says ECU running back Keaton Mitchell.

“You look at the film and we’re displacing the defensive line. All of a sudden you have enough room to make those cuts,” says Houston, “Those running backs are talented players. If we give them the room, they are going to make plays. "

If he can keep up the consistency he already has comparisons forming to another former ECU running back star.

“Chris Johnson one of my favorite running backs,” says Mitchell, “But I ain’t heard nothing yet, but I know I’m gonna hear some. "

ECU and Central Florida are set to kick off Saturday at 6 o’clock in Orlando, Florida.

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