Maybe the blue jerseys will help.
Two weeks in their road whites have made for an ugly start to the 2010 season for the Tigers. The East Carolina Pirates looked very much like the two-time defending Conference USA champions they are in beating Memphis this afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina. Now 2-0 (with both victories over league opponents), East Carolina has scored 100 points while the Tigers have allowed 98 in their two losses.
Cannon Smith again got the start at quarterback for the Tigers, only to see three of his team's first four drives end with turnovers (including an interception that was returned 45 yards for a touchdown by ECU's Derek Blacknall). After the Memphis defense forced a punt on the Pirates' opening possession, East Carolina needed less than six minutes of combined possession time to score four touchdowns in taking a 28-3 lead after the first quarter.
Ryan Williams relieved Smith as the Memphis signal-caller after four series, and tossed a touchdown pass to Gregory Ray early in the second quarter. He added two more touchdown passes, completing 18 of 25 throws for 293 yards. Williams may have locked up his first college start next week at the Liberty Bowl.
After accumulating 583 yards in their season-opening thriller against Tulsa, the Pirates gained 425 yards against Memphis. (The Tigers allowed 569 at Mississippi State in their opener.) The Tiger offense was much improved since the MSU blowout, compiling 413 yards.
Freshman Jerrell Rhodes led the Tigers in rushing with 59 yards. Marcus Rucker was tops among receivers with five catches for 49 yards, including a touchdown.
The Tigers return to action next Saturday for their home opener against Middle Tennessee. Blue jerseys required.