East Carolina Football 2012 Bowl Capsule

East Carolina Pirates
Conference USA


Ruffin McNeill finally has things on the upswing in Greensboro.  After a few subpar seasons, the Pirates compiled an 8-4 regular season record in 2012.  It is their first winning season since 2010.  Last year was a bit of a disappointment considering quarterback Dominique Davis was a seasoned vet under center.  Their 5-7 record can be attributed to their offensive futility.  This year with Shane Carden under center, their offensive numbers have picked up.  They only lost one conference game to UCF, which kept them from the Conference USA East title.  Other than that, Conference USA did not present too many problems for the Pirates.

2012 Record: 8-4, 7-1
Coach: Ruffin McNeill
Coach Bowl Record: 1-1

Big Wins: 11/3 Houston (48-28), 11/23 Marshall (65-59)
Bad Losses: 10/4 at UCF (20-40), 10/27 Navy (28-56)

Shane Carden has played really well as a first year starter.  McNeill has to feel pretty good about where his offense stands going forward.  Only a sophomore, Carden has compiled some nice numbers.  He threw for nearly 3,000 yards and 21 touchdowns.  More impressive, he only threw nine interceptions.  Of course he had quite a bit of help.  Top receiver Justin Hardy hit the 1,000-yard threshold and double-digit touchdowns.  In the final game against Marshall, a double-overtime shootout, Hardy had 16 catches for 171 yards.  He had five games with over 100 yards receiving.  The Pirate passing offense was pretty good overall as Carden averaged 272 yards passing per game.  Running back Vintavious Cooper has also had a solid season.  He eclipsed 1,000 yards in his first season as a starter.  He had a stellar performance against UAB in which he ran for 172 yards.  These three star players are something that East Carolina can build on for the next few seasons.  Cooper only has one more year left, but Carden and Hardy look like a tandem that will be a force in Greensboro for a few more years barring injury.  

Defense is still lacking for the Pirates.  The offense has picked them up a lot more this season than they did last season so some of their deficiencies have been masked.  They gave up over 400 yards per game, which was one of the better marks in the conference.  However, they had trouble keeping opponents out of the end zone especially through the air.  They gave up over 270 yards per game, which was the second worst number in the league.  When they went up against potent offensive teams, the Pirates had trouble.  South Carolina has extraordinary talent, and they took it to East Carolina.  Bryn Renner had a great day against them when they played against North Carolina.  Navy is a great rushing team, and they could not find a way to stop the triple-option.  They had a negative turnover ratio, which caused problems against strong opponents.  Carden threw an interception in three out of their four losses.  His offensive line also had a difficult time protecting him.  Defenses got to him more than twice per game.  Their offense was enough to carry them, but they have not been able to keep up with stronger skilled opponents.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Vintavious Cooper, RB, 1,030 yards
Passing: Shane Carden, QB, 2,838 yards
Receiving: Justin Hardy, WR, 1,046 yards
Tackles: Damon Magazu, S, 72
Sacks: Derrell Johnson, LB, 7.0
Interceptions: Chip Thompson, DB, 3

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 134.75 (92nd in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense: 272.75 (37, 5)
Total Offense: 407.50 (59, 6)
Scoring Offense: 31.25 (46, 6)
Rushing Defense: 145.67 (46, 4)
Pass Defense: 271.67 (105, 11)
Total Defense: 417.33 (78, 5)
Scoring Defense: 30.67 (84, 6)
Turnover Margin: -0.08 (61, 5)
Sacks: 2.08 (50, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (85, 5)

Recent Bowl Appearances:
2010    Military Bowl        Maryland (20-51)
2009    Liberty Bowl        Arkansas (17-20)
2008    Liberty Bowl        Kentucky (19-25)
2007    Hawaii Bowl        Boise State (41-38)
2006    PapaJohns.com Bowl    USF (7-24)

*all team stats through 11/24


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