Junior running back Darius Pinnix Jr. lays a stiff arm on a Tar Heel defender in a previous contest against UNC.

After dropping the season opener, the East Carolina University (0-1, 0-1 AAC) football team will look to bounce back as they travel to Atlanta, Georgia to play against Georgia State University (0-1, 0-1 SBC) on Oct 3.

This will be the first time these two teams have met according to ecupirates. Both the Pirates and the Panthers will enter the contest with a loss and several postponed games due to COVID-19. GSU lost 31-34 in an overtime game against the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2-0, 1-0 SBC) on Sept. 19.

ECU struggled to contain the University of Central Florida (2-0, 1-0 AAC) as a result of the turnovers in the first game on Sept. 26. There were four total fumbles, three lost by the offense, and one interception thrown by junior quarterback Holton Alhers.

As East Carolina prepares for the upcoming game, head coach Mike Houston said the team needs to focus on protecting the football after the numerous turnovers lost by the offense.

“We got to improve, that’s it,” Houston said after the game against UCF. “The kids showed that they are going to play hard...but we got to eliminate the mistakes.”

GSU had more balance offensively against Louisiana than ECU’s previous opponent. Throwing and rushing for about 200 yards each led to three rushing touchdowns and one passing against the Ragin’ Cajuns.

Junior running back Destin Coates for the Panthers squad was the leading rusher against Louisiana. Coates ran for 150 yards and a touchdown. The other two rushing touchdowns were scored by redshirt freshman quarterback Cornelius Brown IV and freshman running back Marcus Carroll.

Senior tight end Roger Carter caught the only receiving touchdown of the day for the Panthers. He led the team in receiving yards with 53, according to the box score. Brown IV threw for 156 total yards and an interception against Louisiana.

Panthers head coach Shawn Elliot is a former assistant coach at South Carolina University, according to Georgia State Sports. He coached against the Pirates over the course of several years, ending with a 4-0 record against them. This will be the first time Elliot has coached against ECU since 2016.

ECU started the first drive of the season against UCF with a touchdown pass from Ahlers to junior running back Darrius Pinnix Jr. After the opening drive, the defense struggled to stop UCF. The Pirates allowed 632 yards of total offense and six touchdowns, four by air and two on the ground. The Knights passed for over 400 yards against the ECU defense. In the end, the final score was 51-28.

“Our offense is better than what we put out there today (Sept. 26), and I’m better than what we put out there today. I think collectively we can come together and say that,” Ahlers said following Saturday’s game. “All we can do is just learn from it, watch the film, and get better next week,”

This week’s opponent is coming off of a very different game. After a tough overtime loss to start the season, the Panthers will host the Pirates for their second home game of the year. GSU was scheduled to play the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (0-1, 0-0 C-USA) on Sept. 26, but that game was postponed to a later date, according to the team’s schedule.

GSU will have a week off from playing before facing the Pirates and neither team has a win at this point in the season. Both squads will also be participating in their first non-conference matchup this weekend at Center Parc Stadium.

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