East Carolina Pirates 2015 Preview

Previewing BYU’s game against the East Carolina Pirates

BYU started off October with a 30-13 over UConn. The defense played spectacular, only giving up 230 total yds and holding the Huskies to 3/14 on 3rd down while putting up 539 yds and doing a great job piecing together long drives. The major fault of the team was the inability to finish once they got inside the 30. BYU only had one drive that ended in a punt, 2 missed FGs, and 3 TOs (2 INTs, 1 fumble). BYU is hoping to return starters LG Kyle Johnson, MLB Harvey Langi, and DT Travis Tuilomas who should all have a major impact for the Cougars in their return.

East Carolina comes to Provo from after impressive wins against Virginia Tech and SMU. Over those two games, backup QB James Summers has come in to spell starter Blake Kemp and provided a spark for the offense with his electric running ability. Kemp left the game after the 1st Q against VT when the score was tied 14-14 and again did so early in the 2nd Q against SMU when ECU was down 20-7. The two QBs have extremely different skill sets, Kemp prefers to use his arm to make plays where Summers will use his legs to do so.

Given the distance between BYU and ECU, this is the first meeting between the two programs. This is the 2nd longest trip ECU has made in program history, and the longest since visiting Washington in ’93. While this is the first meeting, there is plenty of familiarity among the coaching staff. Coach Anae and Coach McNeill climbed the coaching ranks together beginning at UNLV and on to Texas Tech learning the air raid system. The defensive staff’s from both programs also have done exchanges to bounce ideas off of each other to better understand the 3-4 defense. ECU is no longer running the 3-4 system but they ran a very similar system to BYU when they did.

East Carolina 2014 Record: 8-5

vs North Carolina Central 52-7 W

@ #21 South Carolina 23-33 L

@ #17 Virginia Tech 28-21 W

vs North Carolina 70-41 W

vs SMU 45-24 W #22

@ USF 28-17 W #19

vs Connecticut 31-21 W #18

@ Temple 10-20 L #21

@ Cincinatti 46-54 L

vs Tulane 34-6 W

@ Tulsa 49-32 W

vs UCF 30-32 L

vs Florida 20-28 L

Bronco Mendenhall vs. Ruffin McNeill

Ruffin McNeill

Season: 6th

Record: 41-29

Away: 15-17

vs Non-Conf: 11-12

vs BYU: 0-1 (UNLV DC ’98 38-14 BYU)

Bronco Mendenhall:

Season: 11th

Record: 93-41

Home: 52-11

vs AAC: 19-5

vs non-P5: 74-20

vs East Carolina: 0-0

Mendenhall vs McNeill: 0-3

      Texas Tech (McNeill LBs) vs New Mexico (Mendenhall DC): 0-3

      2000: 24-3 TTU

      2001: 42-30 TTU

      2002: 49-0 TTU

East Carolina depth chart


QB: Blake Kemp OR James Summers

RB: Chris Hairston/Anthony Scott

LT: Ike Harris/Tre Robertson

LG: Quincy McKinney/Christian Matau

C: Christian Matau OR CJ Struyk

RG: JT Boyd OR Christian Matau

RT: Brandon Smith OR Dontae Levingston

TE: Bryce Williams/Stephen Baggett

WR: Davon Grayson/DaQuan Barnes

WR: Trevon Brown/Brandon Bishop

IR: Isaiah Jones/Quay Johnson


DE: Terrell Stanley/Mike Myers

DT: Demetri McGill OR Demage Bailey

DE: Fred Presley OR Johnathon White

SLB: Montese Overton/Pat Green

MLB: Zeek Bigger/Cam White

BLB: Jordan Williams/Ray Tillman

WLB: Joe Allely/Yiannis Bowden

FC: Josh Hawkins/Corey Seargent

SS: Terrell Richardson/Bobby Fulp

FS: Travon Simmons/Domonique Lennon

BC: Rocco Scarfone/DaShaun Amos

Special Teams:

Punter: Worth Gregory

Kicker: Davis Plowman

Kick Off: Caleb Pratt

LS: Colton Oliver

PR: Quay Johnson/Davon Grayson

KR: Quay Johnson/Trevon Brown

Holder: Worth Gregory


East Carolina runs a spread option offense which BYU coaches have compared to their own offense when Taysom is at the helm. The Pirates run a dual-QB system and their two QBs have very different skill sets and BYU will be able to count on Kemp throwing the ball and Summers running the ball. ECU’s main running back is Chris Hairston, he’s not the most explosive back that BYU has seen but is more than capable of picking up chunks of yardage when the ball is in his hands. The receiving core is very talented and are capable of making plays in space. Their two most talented receivers are both guy who will be lined up inside for the majority of their snaps in Isaiah Jones and Bryce Williams. While they’re talented, the receivers have really struggled to hold onto the ball and BYU’s hard hitting safeties should be able to knock the ball loose. The Pirates OL has really struggled this year, in games against Florida and VT the opposing DL were able to get plenty of penetration and disrupt plays in the backfield. With the expected return of Travis Tuiloma in the middle and the presence of Bronson Kaufusi on the edge, BYU should be able to exploit this matchup.

Kemp has started all 5 games at QB this year but has left when the offense wasn’t able to put points on the board. Currently, he has a 70.2 completion pctg but has struggled with turnovers throwing 5 INTs. Kemp prefers to throw intermediate routes and allow his receivers to make plays after they have the ball in their hands opposed to having them make plays to catch the ball. Watching film, he prefers to throw to his left and really favors slant routes and swing routes out of the backfield but will throw a fade up if he has a matchup he considers favorable. As for Summers, ECU will prefer to run the read option with him, he isn’t the best at making decisions, often handing the ball off when the read man has committed to the running back, but he’s steadily improved. Summers is very shifty and BYU will need to commit a spy on him as well as committing to keeping outside leverage so he can’t turn upfield for large gains. He has a good arm, but rarely throws. Against VT he had only attempted 5 passes until late in the 3rd Q. On the season he is 17/22 for 276 yds and 3 TDs. His throwing philosophy is similar to Kemp in throwing short routes but defenses have to be honest because of his running ability and it allows for his receivers to get a good amount of YAC.

Chris Hairston is the Pirates main back getting more carries than the rest of the team combined. He has struggled against FBS opponents, he has 301 rushing yds and 5 TDs on the season but 154 yds and 4 TDs came against FCS opponent Towson. In games against big opponents, has been a victim of poor interior blocking and bad decision making by both QBs when running the read option. Hairston’s longest plays of the year were runs of 45 yds against Towson and 34 yds against SMU. When Kemp is in the game, he will also be used to catch passes out of the backfield, mostly swinging out to the left side of the field, but hasn’t been used in that regard when Summers comes into the game. BYU should be able to create enough disruption on the offensive line with their blitz packages and talented DL to control ECU’s run game.

ECU has a talented WR core, the two that BYU will have to key on this week are Slot Receiver Isaiah Jones and TE Bryce Williams. Isaiah Jones is a fantastic athlete that has had several highlight reel catches this season and currently leads the team with 38 while Bryce Williams is a big target over the middle of the field and he leads the team with 3 receiving TDs. Kelly Poppinga spoke highly of Williams this week saying, “he’s the best TE that we’ve faced this year.” ECU runs a lot of short to intermediate crossing routes and will use those routes to clear space for their athletes to make plays after they catch the ball. BYU should be able to disrupt those routes by playing press coverage, especially on the left side of the field when Kemp is in at QB.

ECU’s OL is very weak up the middle. Against Florida and Virginia Tech they were constantly being pushed back which caused disruption in the backfield. Against Florida, their two guards, Boyd and McKinney both struggled to get a push and pick up blitzes. Their starter for the first three games is out with a knee injury and has been replaced by the backup RG Matau which will have a big impact on the chemistry of the OL. BYU should be able to come out and play much more physical than the ECU OL, especially if Travis Tuiloma is available for the game.

2014 Team Stats:

Points Scored Per Game: 35.8

      2015: 31.4

Rushing Yardage: 2094

      Returning for 2015: 1124 (53.8%)

      2015: 747

Receiving Yardage: 4835

      Returning for 2015: 2025 (41.9%)

      2015: 1383

Passing Yardage: 4835

      Returning for 2015: 0 (0%)

      2015: 1383

Total Offense: 11764

      Returning for 2015: 3149 (26.8%)

      2015: 3513

Fumbles: 22

      Recovered: 10

      Lost: 12

      2015: 8 (4 lost)

Interceptions: 11

      Returning for 2015: 0

      2015: 5

Sacks Allowed: 21 (-129 yds)

      2015: 13 (-104 yds)

First Downs: 378

        Rushing: 107

        Passing: 238

        Penalty: 33

2015: 113

      Rushing: 39

      Passing: 65

      Penalty: 9

Third Down Conversion: 91/194 (46.9%)

      2015: 44/80 (55%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 11/24 (45.8%)

      2015: 4/8 (50%)

Penalties: 109 (-1004 yds)

      2015: 35 (-323 yds)

Red Zone Efficiency: 62/74 (83.8%)

      2015: 16/20 (80%)

Red Zone TDs: 49/74 (66.2%)

      2015: 15/20 (54.5%)

PAT Attempts: 58/59 (98.3%)

     2015: (22/22) (100%)

Individual Stats:

2015 Season

QB Blake Kemp: 118/168 for 1107 yds, 8 TDs and 5 INTs, 15 carries for -26 yds for 1 TD; QB James Summers: 17/22 for 276 yds, 3 TDs, 31 carries for 265 yds and 4 TDs; RB Chris Hairston: 78 carries for 301 yds and 5 TDs, 17 receptions for 86 yds; RB Anthony Scott: 29 carries for 129 yds and 1 TD, 3 receptions for 13 yds; WR Isaiah Jones: 38 receptions for 473 yds, 2 TDs; TE Bryce Williams: 23 receptions for 232 yds and 3 TDs; WR Jimmy Williams: 14 receptions for 118 yds and 2 TDs; WR Davon Grayson: 12 catches for 150 yds and 2 TDs; WR Trevon Brown: 8 catches for 129 yds and 2 TDs;

2014 Season

RB Chris Hairston: 79 carries for 528 yds and 2 TDs, 6 receptions for 31 yds; RB Marquez Grayson: 47 carries for 289 yds and 5 TDs, 3 receptions for 9 yds and 1 TD; RB Anthony Scott: 55 carries for 268 yds and 3 TDs, 5 receptions for 22 yds; WR Isaiah Jones: 81 receptions for 830 yds and 5 TDs; WR Trevon Brown: 14 receptions for 264 yds and 4 TDs; WR Davon Grayson: 25 receptions for 257 yds; WR Jimmy Williams: 22 receptions for 254 yds and 1 TD; TE Bryce Williams: 18 receptions for 237 yds and 4 TDs;


East Carolina plays a modified version of BYU’s 3-4 defense. Their WLB will line up on the line of scrimmage in a 5 or 7 technique with his hand down mainly rushing the passer, in a similar way that Bronson Kaufusi was used last year. Their MLB Zeek Bigger is a tackling machine who will have plays funneled to him up the middle, he struggles to make tackles at an angle, but does a great job getting off blocks to make the play. The secondary has struggled this year and is currently ranked 87th in the country in pass efficiency. BYU has a huge advantage in size and will need to exploit that match up in order to succeed.

ECU’s DL will be a step up from last week’s opponent, UConn. Joe Allely, Terrel Stanley, and Demetri McGill have showed playmaking ability and will provide a tough match up for BYU. Allely is listed as a linebacker on the depth chart but spends the majority of his time on the LOS with his hand in the dirt in either a 5 or 7 technique and rushes the passer. Terrel Stanley has shown an ability to make plays off the edge and leads the front unit in tackles through the first 5 games. McGill also has played very well at DT and will be a key matchup against Tejan Koroma to see who can control the LOS.

ECU’s LB core is headlined by MB Zeek Bigger who finished 2014 with 140 tackles and already has 40 tackles on the season. He’s a reliable tackler who won’t let many opponents get past him, but he does struggle to tackle on an angle. Montese Overton has been a versatile defender for the Pirates, he’ll come off the edge and leads the team in sacks with 4 and 5.5 TFL along with 3 PBU and will create disruption off the edge. BLB Jordan Williams is also an impressive presence, he is 2nd on the team with 39 tackles, has 4 TFL and 2 sacks as well as 1 INT.

ECU’s biggest question mark is in their secondary. They play soft man coverage and struggle when isolated in match ups and allowed opposing WR to use their size as an advantage. Starting CB Rocco Scarfone has been listed as questionable heading into the game as well as back up Corey Seargent which will be a huge loss for the Pirates’ secondary as they have combined for 7 PBU on the season. KAT Terrell Richardson is a player who will have to fill the void for playmaking ability in the secondary, he’s shown that he is a ball hawk and will fly to the ball and make plays.


2014 Team Stats:

Points Allowed Per Game: 25.8

      2015: 29.4

Turnover Ratio: 23:19

      2015: 9:5

Forced Fumbles: 10

      Returning for 2015: 5

      Fumbles Recovered: 5

      Returning for 2015: 3

      2015: 1 forced, 2 recovered

Interceptions: 14

      Returning for 2015: 10

      2015: 3

Sacks: 21 (-129 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 10.5 (-71 yds)

      2015: 13 (-104 yds)

TFL: 72 (-268 yds)

      Returning for 2015: 38 (-135 yds)

      2015: 28 (-137 yds)

QBH: 36

      Returning for 2015: 20

      2015: 8

PBU: 49

      Returning for 2015: 28

      2015: 20

INTs: 14 (-132 yds, 2 TDs)

      Returning for 2015: 9 (-80 yds, 1 TD)

      2015: 3 (-11 yds)

TDs allowed: 36

      Rushing: 16

      Passing: 20

2o15: 18

      Rushing: 11

      Passing: 7

First Downs Allowed: 262

      Rushing: 79

      Passing: 149

      Penalty: 34

2015: 114

      Rushing: 59

      Passing: 45

      Penalty: 10

Third Down Conversion: 69/202 (34.2%)

      2015: 32/75 (42.7%)

Fourth Down Conversion: 14/22 (63.6%)

      2015: 5/11 (45.5%)

Red Zone Efficiency: 33/39 (84.6%)

      2015: 19/23 (82.6%)

Red Zone TDs: 23/39 (59%)

      2015: 14/23 (60.9%)

PAT Attempts: 37/37 (100%)

      2015: 18/18 (100%)

Key Defensive Players:

2015 Season

MLB Zeek Bigger: 40 tackles, 1 TFL, 4 QBH; BLB Jordan WIlliams: 39 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 INT; SLB Montese Overton: 32 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 4 sacks, 3 PBU, 1 QBH; WLB Joe Allely: 25 tackles, .5 TFL, 1 FR; DE Terrel Stanley: 17 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack; SS Terrell Richardson: 17 tackles, 1 PBU; BC Rocco Scarfone: 16 tackles, .5 TFL, 3 PBU; FS Josh Hawkins: 16 tackles, 1 INT, 2 PBU; DT Demetri McGill: 15 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack, 1 FR;

2014 Season

MLB Zeek Bigger: 140 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 INTs, 4 PBU, 5 QBH, 1 FR; SLB Montese Overton: 68 tackles, 11.5 TFL, 3 sacks, 4 PBU, 5 QBH; FS Domonique Lennon: 65 tackles, 2 PBU; FC Josh Hawkins: 44 tackles, 1.5 TFL, 5 INT, 11 PBU, 1 FF; DE Fred Presley: 35 tackles, 8 TFL, 6 sacks, 3 QBH, 1 FR; SLB Dayon Pratt: 33 tackles, 2 TFL; DE Jonathon White: 31 tackles, 4.5 TFL, .5 sack, 1 INT, 1 PBU, 6 QBH, 1 FF; WLB Joe Allely: 35 tackles, 5.5 TFL, 2 sack, 2 QBH; SS Terrell Richardson: 20 tackles, .5 TFL; BC DaShaun Amos: 18 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack;

Special Teams:

The Pirates returns their two primary kick returners from last year but lose their punter returner. On KOR Isaiah Jones and Trevon Brown were both acceptable return men averaging 19.9 and 23.5 YPR. PR duties have been taken over by Quay Johnson this year and he’s replaced Isaiah Jones on KOR as well.

East Carolina returns their punter from the 2014 season, Worth Gregory, but lose Kicker Warren Harvey. Harvey’s replacement has been Caleb Pratt on TFL and a combo of Connor Torruela and Davis Plowman for FG while Plowman has handled the majority of PATs.

Scoring (2015):

Davis Plowman: 18/18 PAT, 1/2 FG (30-39: 1/1, 40+: 0), lg 30

Connor Torruela: 4/4 PAT, 0/1 FG (30-39: 0/1)

Kickoffs (2015):

Caleb Pratt: 28 KO, 1764 yds, 63 avg, 17 TB, 1 OOB, 21.1 return, 24 ydln

Punts (2014):

Worth Gregory: 49 punts, 2136 yds, 43.6 avg, 10 FC, 1 BLK, 19 in20


Worth Gregory: 20 punts, 854 yds, 42.7 avg, lg 71, 2 TB, 2 FC, 2 in20

Kick Returns (2014):

Isaiah Jones: 24 returns for 477 yds, 19.9 avg, 44 long

Trevon Brown: 11 returns for 258 yds, 23.5 avg, 22 long


Quay Johnson: 13 returns for 297 yds, 22.8 avg, 34 long

Trevon Brown: 2 returns for 29 yds, 14.5 avg, 18 long

Punt Returns (2015):

Quay Johnson: 10 returns for 100 yds, 10 avg, 46 long


10 Most Viewed

To Top