A Very Nice Night For The UH Defense

At the end of the game, after UH had gone up 42-6, ECU ran 20 plays for 185 yards in garbage time. They scored 2 TDs in those last few minutes against the Cougar back-ups.
 
Otherwise, in the first 52 minutes of the game, here’s the drive chart for ECU:
 
Punt
Punt
INT
Punt
FG
Int
Missed FG
FG
Punt
Fumble
INT
Punt
Punt
Punt
 
The Cougar defense played 14 drives, totaling 74 plays, and gave up just two field goals before giving way to second- and third-string players.
 
In that 52 minutes, ECU had 3 drives that went 10 plays or more – those drives ate up 13:43 off the clock. And what’d they get from them? INT, FG, INT. 34 of their first 74 plays came in those 3 drives and resulted in 3 lousy points.
 
ECU finished with 7 three-and-outs, a three-play drive for a fumble, and a two-play drive that ended with an INT. Nine of 14 drives went 3 plays or less and resulted in a punt or turnover (the total doesn’t include the horrible replay reversal late in the 2nd quarter – should have been 10 drives of 3 plays or less).

Ed Oliver on top of ECU QB Reid Herring

Laying on top of the QB and already looking for the next play call

Mark D’Onofrio would tell you this is how his defense is supposed to work. He’d point to the 12 TFL, 12 QB hurries, 2 sacks and 4 turnovers as proof that his defense works. I’m still skeptical long term but it did work on this night.
 
Despite the defensive domination and despite winning on the hardest road trip in the AAC, some fans will never be happy with the result. Some fans will tell you the defense played way too soft. Others will point to ECU’s 415 yards as proof the defense sucks (shhhh: ECU had just 230 yards when UH called off the dogs).
 
Those people surely won’t tell you that when UH pulled the starters, ECU had just 2 rush yards in 52 minutes. Read that again: we held a team to 2 rush yards at home. That just doesn’t happen.
 
The defensive performance is even more entertaining because for the last week, ECU coach Scottie Montgomery promised his offense would have a new look. He even held a QB competition to prove he was serious. But when it came down to it, he started the same guy he had all season and got the same results as last week. ECU’s offense went 8 quarters of game-time between touchdowns (and then scored two only in garbage time).

A few notes about the defensive performance

  • Ed Oliver finally got to the QB and recorded his first sack of the season. In fact, he did it twice. Oliver also had 5 tackles for loss, a forced fumble, and an QB hurry.
  • Emeke Egbule had 4 QB hurries, an INT, a fumble recovery, and a touchdown.
  • The 12 TFL ties the most the Cougar defense has recorded since at least 2005. TFL records are not easy to find before then.

Next Up

See all of the ECU game coverage at:

Week 6: Houston 42, ECU 20

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