The Pirates celebrate after scoring a touchdown

After a long string of disappointing losses, the Pirates showed they had corrected their errors as they went five-for-five in the redzone and didn’t turn the ball over in a 41-3 blowout victory against Connecticut.

It was clear the team on the field Saturday highly resembled the East Carolina football team from the beginning of the season, before the losing streak began.

The Pirates were focused and determined with a bowl game appearance, winning season and a homecoming win streak on the line. Not to mention, Saturday was ECU’s first home football game in nearly a month.

“It was one of those situations where effort met our execution today,” said ECU head coach Scottie Montgomery after the win. “Special teams, plus defense, plus offense.”

For the first time this season, ECU did not give up a single turnover, but managed to snag two interceptions and a special teams fumble.

The ECU defense began the game with a lot of momentum as it forced three straight three and outs and continued to bring pressure throughout the game to register four sacks.

Going into the game, the Pirates had only registered one sack in seven games, but ECU put that storyline to rest Saturday, as it was consistently bringing pressure, frustrating UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs. In addition to the sacks and forced turnovers, ECU held the Huskies to under 300 total yards on offense.

While the defense managed to shut down the UConn offense by only allowing three points, which was the lowest total since 2008 for the Pirates, the ECU offense stepped up as well.

Quarterback Philip Nelson completed 33-of-47 passes with two touchdown passes, as well as a tricky touchdown reception.

“You almost get emotional thinking about how good it feels to win, and how much work it really does take to win,” Nelson said. “Once we kind of made it about having fun is when the ball started bouncing our way and we had no doubt. We just wanted to execute on every play, so that was kind of our big thing this week.”

As he has been all season long, wide receiver Zay Jones continued to be Nelson’s go-to guy on the field. Jones had 185 yards and a touchdown, including 19 receptions, which is the most ever allowed by UConn in program history.

The 19 catches moved Jones into second on the Football Bowl Subdivision’s all-time receptions list, only trailing former teammate and Atlanta Falcons’ receiver Justin Hardy.

Jones also partook in the trickery in the second quarter, as he threw the touchdown pass to Nelson after being pitched the ball on an end around from running back James Summers.

“That was something that coach [Tony] Petersen and coach [Phil] McGeoghan built this week, and we practiced it all week and it worked out perfectly,” Jones said. “Each time we did it at practice, it worked on our defense.”

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