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