Start Time: Noon ET
Location: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greenville, NC
Series: NC State leads 16-12, ECU won last meeting 42-28 in 2013.
Weather: Sunny in the low 90’s, humidity in the 60% range.
Line: NC State by 5, O/U at 57
Separated by roughly 86 miles, NC State and East Carolina have had a bitter rivalry going back to the 1970’s. The game was played every year from 1970 to 1987, all at NC State’s Carter Finley Stadium After an 32-14 Pirate victory in 1987, that’s when things turned ugly.
ECU fans tore both goalpost down on the road and fights broke out among fans and police on the field. Then NC State Athletics Director Jim Valvano (yes, the famous basketball coach) cancelled the series.
After being matches up in the 1992 Peach Bowl (a 37-34 ECU win), the two played a neutral-site game at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte, a 50-29 ECU victory. Since then, the two teams have played eight more times, four times at NC State, three times at ECU and once more in Charlotte with the teams each going 4-4.
The two teams have played for the Victory Barrel since 2007. The Barrel has been in Greenville since 2010 as ECU took it that season and defended it in 2013.
This isn’t a game that happens often due to the complications of scheduling, but when it does happen, it peaks the interest of fans. Or you would think. The ECU fans seem jacked up, but the NC State fans not so much as they didn’t sell out their full allotment.
BTW, ECU did sell those tickets, so the game if officially a sell out.
Both teams are coming off a first-week win over an FCS opponent. The Wolfpack used a big second quarter to deliver a 48-14 beatdown of William and Mary on Thursday night. Matthew Dayes went for 138 yards on 23 carries and got two touchdowns.
ECU opened the Scottie Montgomery Era is style with a 52-10 offensive showcase win over Western Carolina. Quarterback Phillip Nelson went 28 of 32 for 398 yards and five touchdowns.
The match-up to watch going into the game will ECU’s offense versus NC State’s defense. If Nelson can keep the Wolfpack defense guessing, it could be a long day for those in red. Another question will be about the Pirates’ defense as they weren’t really tested in the first week and slowing down the offensive weapons of the Pack.
For ECU in many ways, this game is bigger than their conference games. Playing one of the pillars of Tobacco Road will bring out the underdog spirit in the Pirate fans. A three-game win streak against their neighbors in Raleigh would only be the second one of the entire series, the only other being that weird 1987-1992-1996 streak when the rivalry ended and was re-started.
The game will be a Stripe Out as ECU fans will be encouraged to wear colors corresponding with their section. For simplicity, the students will wear purple.
Hard to say given we don’t know much about either team after the first week due to their opponents. NC State has the better players, but on the road in a rivalry game, it won’t come easy. Add on the High Noon factor in Greenville, North Carolina and the Pirates will have a great home field advantage.
East Carolina 37, NC State 35