NC State (1-5) returns to the gridiron this weekend against East Carolina (4-3). Kickoff is set for…
CFN's Take: East Carolina vs. Tulane
Why to watch: Even after inexplicably losing to Marshall two weeks ago, East Carolina still has a faint hope of winning the East Division of Conference USA. Step 1 will be to handle Tulane in Greenville. Step 2 will be to huddle around a TV set, and root like heck for a UTEP upset of front-running UCF later in the afternoon. A Pirate win coupled with a Knight loss sends ECU to league championship game a week later. Regardless of what others do, East Carolina must pick up win No. 7 to fortify its chances of earning an invitation to a December bowl game. The best reason to watch Tulane all year is the same one that’ll draw attention for this week’s finale. Last week, RB Matt Forte became just the 11th player in FBS history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season, another milestone in a season filled with heroics for the senior. The Green Wave has won two straight games, and a third in-a-row will lock up a third place finish in the West, giving head coach Bob Toledo and his staff a talking point when he gets back on the recruiting trail.
Why Tulane might win: Hey, if East Carolina can lose to Marshall only two weeks ago, it’s certainly vulnerable to any Conference USA program. Forte’s efforts have begun to seep into the rest of the roster, as evidenced by recent wins over UTEP and Rice. The Green Wave racked up 940 yards and 79 points in those games, getting help from a passing game that’s successfully implementing two quarterbacks, Anthony Scelfo and Kevin Moore. Sophomore WR Jeremy Williams has shown a penchant for blowing up beatable secondaries, which applies to the Pirates’ last line of defense.
Why East Carolina might win: With two weeks to prepare and get past the Marshall debacle, the Pirates are healthy, rested, and focused on finishing strong. They’ll revert back to the team that was lighting up opposing offenses with the combination of Chris Johnson’s running and the passing of Patrick Pinkney and Rob Kass. While Johnson could have some issues against the league’s top run defense, Pinkney and Kass will feast on a Tulane defensive backfield that’s yielded 14 touchdown passes over the last five games.
Who to watch: Pencil in a huge day for East Carolina’s leading receiver, Jamar Bryant, who’s caught a touchdown pass in five of the last six games, and holds the edge over the Tulane corners. The Green Wave will spend a lot of resources trying to contain Johnson in the open field, which will put Bryant in favorable one-on-one situations.
What will happen: In a very important game for the future of the program, East Carolina will get back on track, peppering the Tulane defense with passes, and keeping Forte from completely taking over the game.
CFN Prediction: East Carolina 30 … Tulane 20 ... Line: East Carolina -12
Must See Rating: (5 The inside of your eyelids after eating two pounds of turkey - 1 The inside of a gym with every 120 calories equaling a mile on the treadmill) ...2
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