Since taking over as the starting signal caller for ECU last season, junior quarterback Shane Carden has had ‘his guy,’ so to speak. That ‘guy’ is Justin Hardy. The Carden to Hardy connection has been strong since last season and is breaking records this season.
Their performance yesterday may have given a bit more national buzz to one of the most productive duos in college football.
The same week he was left off of the semi-finalist ballot for the 2013 BIletnikoff Award (best receiver), Hardy broke the record for most receiving yards in a single-season by a Pirate. The record was previously set by now Dallas Cowboy wide receiver Dwayne Harris when he finished 2010 with 1,123 yards.
Hardy was quick to acknowledge the significance of the record and credited his relationship with Carden as a catalyst for his success.
“That’s a great record to break with Dwayne being who he was here,” said Hardy. “The relationship between me and Shane is great. Coming in together and knowing each other like the back of our hand has helped. He can put it somewhere he knows I can get it. Having that mindset, trust and faith in each other is great for the team.”
Make it 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns for Hardy’s junior campaign with one game left in the regular season. He’s now 22 receptions and 109 yards away from being second all-time in ECU history in both categories – another record held by Dwayne Harris.
Aside from the Virginia Tech game, ECU’s offense has been nearly unstoppable with Carden and Hardy clicking. Both should set more records before the 2013 season is said and done with.
Carden completed 23 of 30 passes for 255 yards with 3 TDs and no interceptions against N.C. State. In the last five games, Carden has thrown 19 touchdowns to just two interceptions, and is in the top five nationally with 41 total touchdowns (32 pass, 9 rush).
If that’s not enough, Carden has thrown a touchdown pass in 20-straight contests and his ninth rushing touchdown yesterday ties him for the second all-time for rushing touchdowns by an ECU quarterback in a single season.
Despite all of the success, Carden believes the offense has more room to improve.
“There were a few three-and-outs we’ll have to look at (against N.C. State),” said Carden. “We always leave points on the field. I think we can play better and will be better next week. We have a rhythm going, but we have to be better than three-and-outs in this offense.”
While Carden won’t give too much praise to the offense or Hardy and himself, It’s clear the Carden to Hardy connection is one of the most potent in the nation at any level.
With one last Conference USA Championship, look for the tandem to have another big game against Marshall Friday.