Sports

ECU’s stats are improving, but that didn’t help them against Memphis

All-state QB Holton Ahlers commits to East Carolina, picks Pirates over Wolfpack

Holton Ahlers, an AP all-state quarterback from D.H. Conley High in Greenville, will play for hometown East Carolina in the fall of 2018. Ahlers picked the purple and gold hat at a ceremony on Monday at the school. The Pirates and N.C. State were
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Holton Ahlers, an AP all-state quarterback from D.H. Conley High in Greenville, will play for hometown East Carolina in the fall of 2018. Ahlers picked the purple and gold hat at a ceremony on Monday at the school. The Pirates and N.C. State were

East Carolina can point to statistical and intangible improvements, but the Pirates continue to come up short in categories that matters most: the win-loss columns.

ECU (2-6, 0-5 AAC East) lost its fourth straight, falling 59-41 to Memphis (5-4, 2-3 AAC West) in the American Athletic Conference game on Saturday at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The Pirates remain one win shy of last year’s 3-9 mark.

Despite the double-digit loss, in the 2017 finale at Memphis, ECU trailed 49-0 at halftime in a 70-13 embarrassment.

This season the Pirates took first-half leads of 7-0 on a 1-yard Darius Pinnix run and 14-10 on 10-yard Trevon Brown reception from Holton Ahlers. Jake Verity tied a career-long 52-yard field goal to close the halftime deficit to 24-17.

In the third quarter, Ahlers scrambled and hit Brown for a 31-31 tie score with TD catch and run. A 47-yard Verity field goal made it 38-34 early in the fourth quarter.

Ahlers completed 34-of-62 passes for his second straight 400-yarder and a career-high 449. He ran 17 times for 57.

Brown caught 10 passes to post his third straight triple-digit game with 193 yards and his fifth and sixth TDs of the year.

Raleigh true freshman walk-on Tyler Snead of Millbrook High broke a tackle at the 5-yard line on a fourth-and-goal from the 13 for his first career TD. He had four catches for 50 in his first game.

But ultimately the Pirates couldn’t keep up with Memphis. Darrell Henderson scored on a 39-yard run and 71-yard screen passes. Two other TD passes covered 75 and 20.

Henderson was averaging 143.5 yards rushing a game and 10.1 per carry. He had 12 for 55 yards at halftime but finished with 21-132.

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