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Bowl eligible ECU heads to Navy needing all hands on deck for success

ECU at Navy Saturday 3:30 PM
Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 5:36 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - January 2015 is the last time ECU played in a bowl game. They’ve had lots of success in big bowl games in the past, as is apparent down the hall here at Minges Coliseum. Even right here. The Liberty Bowl. That’s where they clinched their most recent berth on Saturday by beating the Memphis Tigers.

“We are officially Bowl Eligible,” says ECU head coach Mike Houston.

“It was a special day Saturday, but the more special thing was, they have already turned their attention to the next game,” says Houston, “Because that is their mentality. That’s winning culture.”

“It’s like the moment where all your hard work pays off,” says ECU safety D.J. Ford, “I was excited for those guys. Because I know for a lot of those guys its their first bowl game. That’s an experience in itself and we’ll talk more about that when its time. But I’m happy for them.”

The Pirates know Navy doesn’t care they just became bowl eligible. ECU has their work cut out for them facing the Midshipmen’s triple option.

“Weeks like this, those defensive coaches don’t sleep this week,” says Houston, “looking at every piece of information and piece of film from whatever year it is trying to figure out exactly how they are going to attack us and make sure we are prepared for it.”

“You have to make sure you are extra locked in for an offense that runs the triple option,” says Ford, “You know you have to be extremely disciplined. Keep your eyes on your key. Do your job. If you try to do someone else’s job, you will get beat.”

The work to stop the option is not just defensive. The offense must play clean to stay on the field.

“Really important. They’ll probably have the ball you know they always run clock out,” says ECU wide receiver and kick returner Tyler Snead, “We have to take advantage of the possessions we get. That defense, our defense has done well all year. I think they will do well and get lots of stops and get more possessions for us.”

Don’t look at the record. Navy has hung with some of the top teams in the country.

“They are not a 2 win football team,” says Houston, “Anyone with some common sense and looks at the film knows what this is, and this is a good football team.”

Mathematically there are some very interesting things that can happen for the ECU football team if they are able to win on Saturday, and then again ne..., well, week take it one week at a time here with the ECU football team. So, we’ll talk about that possibility next week.

ECU and Navy are set to kickoff Saturday at 3:30 in Annapolis, Maryland. The game is being shown on CBS Sports Network.

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