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(Saturday, October 5)
Final Score: East Carolina 24, Middle Tennessee 17
Murfreesboro, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Shane Carden amassed 365 yards through the air as he guided the East Carolina Pirates to a 24-17 victory over the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in a Conference USA battle at Floyd Stadium.
Carden completed 43-of-57 pass attempts for 365 yards and a touchdown for ECU (4-1, 2-0 C-USA) as it picked up its fifth consecutive win over an East Division rival. Justin Hardy made eight catches for 85 yards and a touchdown to lead all receivers while Chris Hairston gained 94 yards on 18 rushes. Damon Magazu anchored the Pirates' defense with 11 total tackles and an interception.
Logan Kilgore went 28-of-37 for 245 yards and a score while under center for Middle Tennessee (3-3, 1-1), but was also picked off twice in the team's first-ever C-USA loss. Kyle Griswould made six catches for 40 yards and Marcus Henry reeled in five receptions for 65 yards, however the Blue Raiders were limited to only 89 rushing yards on 32 carries.
ECU looked impressive on its opening drive as it marched 74 yards on eight plays to set up a one-yard touchdown run by Vintavious Cooper. The Blue Raiders answered with a 15-play drive that ended with a one-yard touchdown scamper by Jeremiah Bryson.
MTSU took its first lead with 1:44 remaining in the opening quarter as Cody Clark connected on a 22-yard field goal try to make it 10-7.
Carden put the Pirates back ahead in the second quarter with a one-yard sneak across the goal line. Neither side managed to produce any more points over the remaining 8:27 of the half which gave ECU a 17-10 lead at the intermission.
The Pirates extended their lead less than five minutes into the second half as Warren Harvey chipped in a 25-yard field goal attempt. MTSU refused to go away and tied the score in the closing seconds of the third period when Kilgore completed a 26-yard touchdown pass to Taverres Jefferson.
Lance Ray set ECU up with great field position on its ensuing drive by returning the kickoff 51 yards into Blue Raiders' territory. Carden took advantage and completed a 21-yard touchdown strike to Hardy on the fourth play of the drive to give the Pirates a 24-17 lead with 13:31 left in regulation.
MTSU was held to just 18 yards on its next drive before it was forced to punt. The Blue Raiders gained possession with 5:16 remaining, but Kilgore was intercepted on the first play of the drive. ECU ran the clock out the rest of the way to seal the victory.
Although the contest was decided by a single touchdown, ECU held a sizeable, 511-334, edge in total yards of offense. The Pirates moved the chains 33 times and limited MTSU to 20 first downs.
10/05 19:49:10 ET
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