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Luke’s Take: ECU vs. Ohio

By Luke DeCock
ldecock@newsobserver.com
Luke has worked for The News & Observer since 2000. He covered the Carolina Hurricanes and the NHL before becoming a sports columnist in August 2008. A native of Evanston, Ill., he graduated from the University of Pennsylvania.
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That 59-28 drubbing at Marshall that ended the regular season and cost East Carolina a chance to host the Conference USA title game on their way out of the conference still leaves a bitter taste. Question is, how will the Pirates respond?

“They’ve moved on from the Marshall game and I don’t bring it up at all,” East Carolina coach Ruffin McNeill said. “I don’t need to.”

Given how well East Carolina bounced back from two other heartbreaking defeats – a narrow loss at home to Virginia Tech in a game the Pirates really should have won and a triple-overtime loss at Tulane – by posting resounding victories at North Carolina and over Southern Mississippi respectively, there’s no reason why the Pirates can’t do it again.

Ohio does have a playmaker at quarterback in Tyler Tettleton, the son of former MLB All-Star Mickey, but the Pirates were more athletic than the ACC teams they played, so they shouldn’t have any trouble with a team that went 4-4 in the MAC. A two-touchdown favorite, the Pirates should clear that margin easily and secure their first 10-win season since 1991 and the second in school history, 38-21.

LUKE DeCOCK

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