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(Saturday, October 17th)
Final Score: East Carolina 49, Rice 13
Greenville, NC (Sports Network) - Pat Pinkney tossed three touchdown passes to lead the East Carolina Pirates in a 49-13 rout over the Rice Owls during Conference USA play at Dowdy Ficklen Stadium.
Dwayne Harris also had a big day for ECU (4-3, 3-1 C-USA), hauling in nine passes for 128 yards and two scores. Pinkney finished with 231 passing yards on 18-of-26 accuracy, though he did throw two interceptions in the win.
Toren Dixon had eight catches for 115 yards and a touchdown to lead the Owls (0-7, 0-3), who have lost all seven of their games this season by double digits. Nick Fanuzzi completed 25-of-43 passes for 231 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
The Pirates drove right down the field on the game's opening possession, and Dwayne Harris scored on a 16-yard screen pass from Pinkney.
Owls kicker Clark Fangmeier answered with a 33-yard field goal on the ensuing drive, which cut the deficit to 7-3 at the 10:36 mark of the first quarter.
Pinkney threw his second touchdown pass of the day to Rob Kass (two yards) with 2:07 remaining in the opening frame.
ECU stretched its lead to 21-3 on a two-yard scoring plunge by Brandon Jackson with just under nine minutes to play until halftime.
But Rice continued to hang around in the first half, and Fanuzzi connected with Toren Dixon for an 80-yard scoring strike on a deep out pattern with just under three minutes remaining in the half.
However, ECU's Brandon Yelovich sapped that momentum when he returned the ensuing kickoff 92 yards to the house, putting the Pirates back on top by 18.
Fangmeier kicked a 24-yard field goal to account for the only points of the third quarter, although Rice still trailed, 28-13 entering the fourth quarter.
ECU padded its lead on a seven-yard touchdown run by Giavanni Ruffin at the 12:47 mark of the fourth quarter. Two minutes later, Pinkney connected with Harris for a seven-yard scoring strike to open the flood gates, and Darnel Ballard tacked on another touchdown on a two-yard run late in the game.
The Owls struggled to sustain drives, as they have all season. They converted just 5-of-16 third downs and scored on only two of their four red-zone chances.
10/17 19:48:09 ET