Big plays in the fourth quarter doom ECU against Marshall in home opener

Marshall 31, ECU 13
Marshall defeats ECU in home opener
Published: Sep. 9, 2023 at 11:26 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - For three and a half quarters ECU was in the ball game against Marshall in its home opener but the fourth quarter was all about the Thundering Herd as they pulled away to victory on Saturday night 31-13.

“The fourth quarter the big plays were busts. They were us and Marshall capitalizes on them,” says ECU head football coach Mike Houston, “We had a good feeling about how they would come out and try to attack us. The kids were prepared and we played very well defensively for three and a half quarters. The big play on the double pass, that gave them the lead, and the momentum and we didn’t respond to that very well.”

The Pirates allowed 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Starting with the 75-yard halfback pass, and ending with two long touchdown runs for Rasheen Ali, who had three rushing scores in the game.

“Finishing you know. We was playing fast and we were playing physical,” says ECU linebacker Jeremy Lewis, “Obviously they got a spark and everything went downhill from there. We just got to learn to stand our ground and stay on our feet.”

The Pirates did do some good things. Mason Garcia had a huge run in the first half that set up a field goal.

“You started him because he gave you the best chance to win tonight. He gave us a great chance to win for a lot of the ballgame,” says Coach Houston, “No matter which quarterback you go with, you are going to have to go through some stuff as they get acclimated.”

Then Jeremy Lewis recovered a fumble off a nice strip by Chad Stephens down near the goal line.

“Chad Stephens being the monster that he is was able to go in and make a play,” says Lewis, “Seeing the ball I just know you got to get on that.”

It set up Garcia who would hit a wide open Shane Calhoun for the Pirate’s first touchdown of the season. They would lead 13-10 in the game.

“We got a good team. We are not blind to that,” says ECU defensive back Julius Wood, “We just got to do better both sides of the ball. We are going to stick together. We are going to be ready to go next week.”

ECU drops to 0-2 and plays at App State next Saturday at 3:30 PM.