East Carolina coach Scottie Montgomery confirmed on Monday a quarterback switch to Holton Ahlers. He had hinted at the move following Saturday’s loss to Houston.
Ahlers makes his first career start against UCF, the American Athletic Conference defending champion riding a 19-game winning streak. The Pirates (2-4, 0-3 AAC East) face the No. 10-ranked Knights (6-0, 3-0 AAC East) at 7 p.m. Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.
The 6-foot-3, 236-pound hometown favorite from D.H. Conley High directed two fourth-quarter touchdown drives that closed the final Houston score to 42-20.
“One thing I did not want to do was bring him out in a situation under the lights without him having a couple of significant drives,” Montgomery said. “The biggest thing will be how he deals with the pressure of starting. Knowing him, I think this is exactly what he is looking forward to.”
Ahlers hit Trevon Brown with a 13-yard touchdown pass to finish a 10-play, 96-yard drive and scored on a 1-yard run on an eight-play, 62-yard possession. He was 11-of-18 for 137 yards with one score and no interceptions.
Redshirt sophomore Reid Herring was 22-o-49 for 229 yards, no TDs, two interceptions and a fumble on a sack returned five yards for a touchdown.