NEW ORLEANS — Shane Cardens second touchdown pass of the game, with 4:29 remaining, gave East Carolina some breathing room in a tight 28-23 Conference USA victory over Tulane on Saturday.
The Pirates (7-4, 6-1), who moved into a first-place tie with Central Florida in the leagues East Division, trailed the Green Wave (2-9, 2-5) in the second quarter and never led by more than 12 points.
That 28-16 margin came when Carden found Andrew Bodenheimer from 11 yards out to cap a 79-yard drive that consumed 4:41.
Tulane responded with a 31-yard scoring pass from Ryan Griffin to Wilson Van Hooser after a 73-yard drive, but East Carolina ran out the final 1:22.
Griffin completed 36 of 57 passes for 293 yards two touchdowns, with Ryan Grant making 10 of the receptions for 94 yards.
Cairo Santos kicked three field goals for the Green Wave and is 20-for-20 on the season.