C-USA football: ECU welcomes winless Southern Miss

October 19, 2013 

Most of Conference-USA has a bye this week.

ECU has the next best thing: a home date with winless Southern Miss.

That’s beneficial for two reasons: Most obviously, the Golden Eagles have lost 17 consecutive games, including a 24-23 decision to previously winless Florida International.

But it’s also a welcome opportunity for the Pirates to erase the taste of last week’s overtime loss at Tulane.

ECU broke passing game records but left New Orleans broken-hearted. Kicker Warren Harvey missed three field goal attempts and the Pirates fell to a Tulane team playing without its starting quarterback.

The loss didn’t help ECU’s chances of winning the East Divison, but it wasn’t catastrophic, either. A pivotal date with Marshall at the end of the regular season likely will determine who makes it to the championship game. However, the Tulane loss did erase the Pirates’ margin for error.

“We told our players that every goal that we had in front of us is still attainable,” coach Ruffin McNeill told reporters earlier this week. “The most immediate goal in front of us right now is Southern Miss. Even more immediate than that for us coaches is to ... make sure we do what we have to do to be successful on Saturday.

“I like where we are right now. We've lost two games by eight (combined) points. There have been some experiences that have happened to us during that six-game stretch, positive and tough, that we have learned from. Developing our team is where we'll head from here.”

Chris Wright

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