Memphis 20

(1-2, 0-1 American)

East Carolina 35

(1-2, 1-1 American)

7:00 PM ET, September 16, 2006

Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC

1 2 3 4 T
MEM 7 13 0 020
ECU 0 7 7 2135

Top Performers

Passing: M. Hankins (MEM) - 265 YDS, 3 TD, 5 INT

Rushing: C. Johnson (ECU) - 22 CAR, 106 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: A. McCoy (MEM) - 5 REC, 34 YDS, 1 TD

East Carolina 35, Memphis 20

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Defensive end Zach Slate returned an interception seven yards for the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter of East Carolina's 35-20 victory over Memphis on Saturday night.

Chris Johnson rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns to help the Pirates (1-2, 1-1 Conference USA) shake off a slow start, rally from a 13-point second-half deficit and snap a three-game losing streak against Memphis.

Martin Hankins threw three touchdown passes in the first half for the Tigers (1-2, 0-1), but it was the third of his five interceptions that made the difference.

His pass to the right sideline was deflected by Slate at the 7, and the backup defensive lineman grabbed it out of the air and lumbered into the end zone to make it 21-20.

Linebacker Pierre Parker thwarted the Tigers' ensuing possession by intercepting Hankins with about five minutes to play. James Pinkney threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to Aundrae Allison with 3:34 remaining to extend the lead to eight.

East Carolina's Kasey Ross then returned Hankins' fifth interception 77 yards for a score.

Memphis looked like it was in control at halftime. The Tigers gained 311 total yards in the first half and led 20-7 before the Pirates' defense regrouped and Johnson asserted himself.

Johnson had 65 yards in the second half, and his 5-yard touchdown run midway through the third quarter pulled East Carolina to within 20-14. Earlier, his 6-yard scoring run pulled the Pirates to 14-7.

Pinkney finished 18-of-26 passing for 236 yards, and surpassed the 6,000-yard passing mark for his career. His favorite target, Allison, had nine catches for 124 yards and a touchdown.

Hankins was 24-of-45 passing for 265 yards with three scores, but was just 9-of-24 for 56 yards in the second half.

Earnest Williams had a 19-yard touchdown reception, Duke Calhoun had a 23-yard scoring catch and Antonio McCoy had a 3-yard TD catch in the first half.