Recap: East Carolina vs. Houston
Greenville, NC (Sports Network) - Shane Carden threw for 305 yards and four touchdowns, as the East Carolina Pirates claimed a 48-28 win over the Houston Cougars in Conference USA play at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
Three of Carden's touchdown passes went to Danny Webster, who finished with 46 yards on six catches. Vintavious Cooper rushed for 140 yards and a score to help the Pirates (6-4, 5-1 C-USA) keep pace in the conference's East Division and exact some revenge for last year's 56-3 loss to Houston.
The Cougars (4-5, 3-2) were unable to notch a fifth win in a span of six weeks, despite 341 yards and four touchdowns passing from David Piland.
East Carolina scored the game's first 28 points, all before halftime.
Carden got the scoring started with a six-yard touchdown pass to Webster at the 4:38 mark of the first quarter. Carden found Webster again for a 12-yard scoring strike with 2:13 to play in the opening frame. Those two hooked up for yet another TD, this time from nine yards to give the Pirates a 21-0 lead with 12:40 remaining in the second quarter.
ECU pushed its lead to 28-0 on Carden's eight-yard touchdown pass to Reese Wiggins with 48 seconds to play in the half.
However, UH got the ball back and moved quickly down the field, setting up Piland's 10-yard touchdown pass to Larry McDuffey with five seconds on the clock.
Early in the second half, Cougars wideout Shane Ros dove across the goal line after a 55-yard screen pass. However, he fumbled into the end zone on the dive and ECU regained possession.
That possession would last only four plays, as UH linebacker Derrick Mathews forced a fumble, which was recovered by teammate Everett Daniels at the ECU 34. On the next play from scrimmage, Piland tossed a 34-yard scoring strike to Isaiah Sweeney to make it a 28-14 game.
ECU kicker Warren Harvey gave the Pirates a bit more breathing room with a 28- yard field goal midway through the third quarter, and a 31-yarder early in the fourth. His second field goal came after a 16-play, 70-yard drive that took nearly eight minutes off the clock.
The Cougars still had some life, as Piland answered with a five-yard TD pass to Mark Roberts, capping a seven-play, 79-yard drive to make it a 34-21 game with 11:26 remaining.
However, ECU would put the game away with a couple of late scores. Following a turnover on downs, Cooper scored on a 22-yard run to push the margin to 41-21 with 2:47 to play. Less than a minute later, Ty Holmes stepped in front of a Piland pass and returned it 28 yards to the end zone. Houston added a late TD on Piland's 20-yard pass to Kenneth Farrow with two seconds on the clock.
East Carolina gained 31 first downs to Houston's 16, as the Pirates held a 550-369 advantage in total offense for the game.Game Notes