Quick Look at Carolina vs ECU football game
SEPT. 07, 2021 / HF
The Gamecocks handled their business on Saturday and did it well but a win against an FCS program on home turf is one that should be expected. Carolina looked the part on both sides of the ball and on special teams. Carolina did put up 46 points and Graduate assistant-turned-quarterback Zeb Noland threw four touchdown passes. The three-tailback of ZaQuandre White, MarShawn Lloyd and Juju McDowell showed that Carolina has promise on the ground even without Kevin Harris, who wasn’t able to play due to an illness.
The Carolina defense had not had a shutout in over 10 years back in 2008 against foe NC St. The defense Saturday allowed just 109 total yards. Corralled two interceptions (including DE Jordan Burch’s 61-yard touchdown return) and came down with two sacks. Carolina’s special teams unit Beamer Ball by forcing two blocked punts that both set up Carolina touchdown drives.
EAST CAROLINA IN SEARCH FOR THEIR FIRST WIN OF THE SEASON AFTER LOSS TO APPALACHIAN STATE
ECU opened the 2021 season against Appalachian State on Thursday night. The Pirates lost to the Mountaineers 33-19, but now get a chance to redeem themselves by playing host to Carolina in hopes of getting first win this season.
East Carolina head coach Mike Houston, who won a national championship at the FCS level back in 2016 with James Madison, now is looking to get the Pirates’ program off the ground. He has had his struggles compiling a 7-14 record in his first two seasons at ECU, but a win against Carolina could well get him moving forward. ECU will give their best at noon Saturday.
Houston told reporters on Thursday following the App State loss “I told them I already decided this morning if we won the game tonight, I’d tell them that one game doesn’t make your season. We lost to a quality opponent. We’ve got to learn from those mistakes. It’s going to be a great film to learn from, because they’re good at what they do. So it’s correct your mistakes, come back and start getting ready for next week.”
PIRATES OFFENSE SET TO GIVE THE DEFENSE ITS FIRST TEST
There’s a reason why Vegas moved the line around so much in just the first few hours on Sunday. Yes, the Gamecocks looked great against Eastern Illinois, but they won’t be at Williams-Brice against an FCS opponent Saturday.
CAROLINA WILL HAVE ITS HANDS FULL WITH MOBILE QB HOLTON AHLERS
East Carolina has an experienced quarterback in Holton Ahlers, who’s already put up over 7,300 career passing yards in four seasons with the Pirates. ECU knows how to score quickly and has a versatile offensive weapon in running back Keaton Mitchell, who proved to be just as much of a threat in the passing game in week one.
Mitchell showed off his speed on a 63-yard touchdown reception early against Appalachian State and again with a 39-yard rush. He finished the Pirates’ season opener with 79 yards on five catches and 50 yards in four carries.
GAMECOCKS AND PIRATES PLAYERS TO WATCH
- ZaQuandre White, RB, South Carolina: Even if Kevin Harris comes back to the field against East Carolina, Beamer said you shouldn’t expect White’s touches to taper. The senior totaled 172 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns on Saturday.
- Jaylan Foster, S, South Carolina: South Carolina coaches named Foster the defensive player of the game against Eastern Illinois, and he’s a solid choice. The senior hauled in one of the Gamecocks’ interceptions of the night and could’ve come down with two if not for an offside penalty in the third quarter.
- Keaton Mitchell, RB, East Carolina: Mitchell led the Pirates in both rushing and receiving against Appalachian State, helping ECU to an early lead with a 63-yard touchdown reception despite the Pirates’ eventual loss. He earned 50 yards on four carries and caught six passes for 79 yards in week one.
- Ja’Quan McMillian, CB, East Carolina: McMillian hauled in his first interception of 2021 against Appalachian State and likely has much more in him as the season rolls along. He picked off seven passes in his first two years with the Pirates and is one of the top cornerbacks in the American Athletic Conference.