GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) -- Brandon Fractious had 102 yards and one
of East Carolina's four rushing touchdowns to lead the Pirates past
Virginia, 31-21 on Saturday night.
Brandon Simmons and James Pinkney also ran for scores for the
Pirates (2-3), who dominated the first half and coasted the rest of
the way for a relatively easy win.
East Carolina finished with 432 total yards against one of the
nation's stingier defenses despite playing without starting wide
receiver Aundrae Allison and running back Chris Johnson. The
Pirates even got a 2-yard rushing score from punter Ryan Dougherty
on a fake field goal with 2:17 left to seal the win.
Jason Snelling ran for 103 yards and a touchdown for the
For a half, this looked like a signature win for second-year
coach Skip Holtz. The Pirates -- a Conference USA school located in
the shadows of Atlantic Coast Conference schools Duke, North
Carolina and North Carolina State -- completely outplayed the ACC's
Cavaliers for the first 30 minutes and led 24-7 at halftime.
The Pirates didn't do much in the second half. But against the
offensively challenged Cavaliers -- who got no closer than 10 points
after the break -- it hardly mattered.
Pinkney ran for 42 yards and threw for 224, while Simmons ran
for 57 yards as part of the Pirates' 208-yard rushing day against a
defense that came in ranked 20th nationally by allowing 263 yards
All that came despite missing Allison and Johnson. Holtz ruled
Allison out Saturday morning due to an ankle injury he suffered
against West Virginia two weeks ago, while Johnson had been limited
with a toe injury all week.
But Fractious and Simmons carried the load for Johnson, while
Bobby Good finished with five catches for 102 yards to make up for
The strong play started up front with an offensive line that
kept opening holes for the running back tandem that rotated
throughout the game. Both took advantage, with Simmons scoring on a
5-yard run in the first quarter and Fractious scoring on a 12-yard
run late in the second for a 17-7 lead.
Then Pinkney made his biggest play on a terrific individual
effort just before halftime.
With the Pirates lined up in the shotgun at Virginia's 5, the
snap came in fast and high and the ball bounced off Pinkney's
fingers and into the air. Pinkney turned around to catch it, then
tucked the ball away and dove into the end zone for the 24-7 lead
with 1:46 left in the half.
The Cavaliers got a spark when Ben Parziale blocked a punt from
Dougherty to give Virginia the ball at East Carolina's 17 early in
the third quarter. Jameel Sewell then connected with Tom Santi on a
16-yard pass to set up Snelling's short TD run that made it 24-14
with 13:02 left in the quarter.
But the Cavaliers didn't manage much else, finishing with 298
total yards. Sewell, a freshman making his third straight start,
finished 15-for-31 for 123 yards and threw a meaningless TD with 18