Football

ECU misses too many opportunities in 28-23 loss to NC A&T

ECU’s Montgomery faces challenges

East Carolina football coach Scottie Montgomery discusses the challenges of a 6-18 record in his first two seasons, recruiting the 2018 season before appearing at the annual Pigskin Preview in Cary on July 16, 2018.
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East Carolina football coach Scottie Montgomery discusses the challenges of a 6-18 record in his first two seasons, recruiting the 2018 season before appearing at the annual Pigskin Preview in Cary on July 16, 2018.
East Carolina needed any kind of season-opening victory for encouragement following back-to-back 3-9 seasons in head coach Scottie Montgomery’s first two seasons, but the Pirates are still searching.


ECU left too many points on the field and allowed North Carolina A&T time to hang around and pull out a 28-23 comeback victory Sunday afternoon at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.


It was ECU’s second straight loss to Football Championship Subdivision member. It was different from last year’s embarrassing 34-14 loss to FCS power James Madison, but not enough to provide encouragement before North Carolina plays Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen.


A&T (2-0) isn’t the FCS power that James Madison is, but the Aggies are sure to climb from their preseason No. 14 FCS ranking. They upset No. 6 Jacksonville State a week ago.


The Sunday game had the added anomaly that it was originally scheduled as a 6 p.m. Saturday night contest. Multiple “severe weather” delays for lightning followed by heavy rain totaling 3 ½ hours forced the rescheduling.

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East Carolina University football players enter Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium to play N.C. A & T in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 1,2018. Moments after this photo was taken the second mandatory evacuation due to lightning delayed the game. Chuck Liddy cliddy@newsobserver.com

ECU led most of the game, but A&T backup quarterback Kyle Carter came off the bench to direct two second-half scoring drives in relief of starter Lamar Raynard. He threw two touchdown passes.



On ECU’s next possession, redshirt sophomore quarterback Reid Herring, making his first career start, was hurt on a sack and left the game with 6:27 to play. Kingsley Ifedi’s third-down completion was short of a first down, forcing a punt.


Herring returned for two more scoring opportunities on A&T’s side of the field, but the first ended on a pair of fourth-down incomplete tosses, the second one intercepted in the end zone as time expired.


Herring finished the game 36-of-61passing for 304 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, a Pick Six. A&T cornerback Mac McCain was officially credited with a 100-yard interception return for a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, but he picked off the ball on the run eight yards deep in the end zone.


East Carolina allowed A&T to hang around by managing only 23 points out of six red zone chances.


More lost points were from Trace Christian’s third-quarter fumble at the A&T 2 and settling for Jake Verity’s 25-yard field goal after a first-and-goal from the 7. A procedure penalty contributed to settling for 20-14 lead with 6:39 left in the third period.
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