East Carolina 21

(7-5, 3-3 away)

NC State 16

(3-9, 3-4 home)

7:00 PM ET, November 25, 2006

Carter-Finley Stadium, Raleigh, NC

1 2 3 4 T
ECU 0 14 0 721
NCST 7 3 0 616

Top Performers

Passing: J. Pinkney (ECU) - 220 YDS, 2 TD

Rushing: B. Fractious (ECU) - 17 CAR, 92 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: S. Rogers (ECU) - 3 REC, 63 YDS

NC State's 7th loss in row is to E. Carolina; Amato out?

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- James Pinkney threw for 220 yards and connected with Aundrae Allison for a long touchdown just before halftime to lead East Carolina past North Carolina State 21-16 on Saturday night.

The Wolfpack (3-9) closed the season with seven straight losses, leaving the future of coach Chuck Amato at his alma mater murky at best.

Amato heads into the offseason with a 49-37 record and five bowl appearances in seven seasons, but his program has had two losing seasons in the three years since four-year starter Philip Rivers headed to the NFL.

Pinkney also threw a short TD pass to Jay Sonnhalter in the first half for the Pirates (7-5), who bolstered their bowl hopes with a big nonconference win against a struggling state rival. Brandon Fractious also ran for 85 of his 92 yards after halftime and scored a late touchdown to seal the win.

Toney Baker ran for 52 yards and a touchdown for North Carolina State.

The Pirates rebounded from a disappointing loss at Rice last week that cost them a berth in the Conference USA championship game, holding N.C. State to 293 total yards with one of their best defensive performances this season. And Pinkney -- a senior who made his 37th career start -- completed 14 of 29 passes to smoothly direct an offense that seemed to wear down the Wolfpack in the final period.

Pinkney made his biggest play with the Pirates near midfield and trying to get into field-goal range. He connected on the right side to Allison, who pulled away from Jimmie Sutton and -- instead of heading to the sideline to stop the clock -- raced into the open field for the 53-yard score and a 14-10 lead with 4.9 seconds left.

That lead held up, with Fractious reaching the end zone for a 12-yard run to the right side for a clinching score with 2:37 left in the fourth quarter.

The Wolfpack -- who failed to score more than 24 points in any game this season -- didn't manage its second touchdown until the final seconds. But by then, the stands in Carter-Finley Stadium had thinned out and the questions about Amato's future were set to begin.

Meanwhile, East Carolina coach Skip Holtz received a celebratory dousing with a cooler from fullback Pat Dosh with 14.4 seconds left as stadium officials stopped play to take down the goalposts -- apparently out of concern that the vocal Pirates fans might storm the field.

Once the clock expired, East Carolina's players ran to a corner of the end zone to celebrate with their fans while Amato and the Wolfpack walked off solemnly the field.