Tahlequah Daily Press

Sports

December 24, 2013

Pirates wear down Ohio in Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Ten victories and East Carolina's first bowl win in six years.

The Pirates, who finished second in Conference USA's Eastern Division, had plenty to celebrate after dominating the fourth quarter to earn a 37-20 victory over Ohio in the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl.

"It was a great season, we had a lot of goals and although we fell short of a goal to be conference champion we made a lot of other things happen along the way," coach Ruffin McNeill said. "Our young men learned that having a great attitude and doing things the right way and putting teamwork first allowed us to accomplish great things."

Vintavious Cooper took over Monday's game with a performance reminiscent of a former East Carolina running back.

Just don't bring up that comparison to Cooper, who rushed for a career-best 198 yards and scored two touchdowns. In addition to breaking the Beef `O' Brady's Bowl record for yards rushing, the senior became the first East Carolina player to win a MVP award in a bowl game since Tennessee Titans star Chris Johnson ran for 223 yards against Boise State in the 2007 Hawaii Bowl.

"It's a great accomplishment and I have to really give it up to the guys up front and all the work they did. When I found out I was close to 100 yards after the first quarter I told them and they got excited about it," Cooper said.

"I would never compare myself to Chris Johnson because I really admire CJ and I look up to CJ. He's done so much for me. I'm just happy my name is next to his in any way."

The Pirates (10-3) grabbed the lead for good on the first of Cooper's two touchdowns runs in the fourth quarter, a 31-yard burst with just under 10 minutes remaining.

East Carolina's Shane Carden threw for 273 yards and one TD and also scored on a pass reception.

"All season we've been about playing big in the fourth quarter and this was going to be a game that we needed to grind out and fight to win because Ohio is a real tough team that's well coached," Carden said.

Cam Worthy caught an early 5-yard scoring pass from Carden, and then took a lateral and threw 14 yards to Carden for a fourth-quarter TD that made it 31-20. Cooper put it well out of reach, finding an opening off left tackle and racing 22 yards for his second TD.

Tyler Tettleton and Derrius Vick threw scoring passes for Ohio (7-6), which overcame an early two-touchdown deficit to lead 20-17 before Cooper put East Carolina back in front before an announced crowd of 20,053 at Tropicana Field.

Breon Allen also scored on a 2-yard run for East Carolina, which won six of its final seven games to finish with the second-most victories in school history.

Carden set the school record for single-season yards passing with a 13-yard throw to Isaiah Jones on the drive ended with Allen's TD, making it 14-0. He completed 29 of 45 passes while boosting his season total to 4,139 yards, breaking Dominique Davis' record total for the Pirates.

Cooper ran for 90 yards in the opening quarter alone, becoming the third running back in East Carolina history to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons.

Justin Hardy, meanwhile, had eight receptions for 59 yards, setting a school record for yards receiving in a season. He finished with nine catches, giving him 114 receptions for 1,284 yards.

Ohio battled back after a slow start. Tettleton and Vick each threw a touchdown pass in a five-minute span to make it 14-all early in the second quarter.

Tettleton got the Bobcats going with a 26-yard completion to Daz' Patterson on a flea flicker, and then found Patterson for a 17-yard TD on the following play. Vick and Donte Foster combined for an 80-yard score on Ohio's next offensive play for the longest scoring pass in Beef `O' Brady's Bowl history.

"They're a very, very physical football team on the defensive side, and very strong. Generally you're not going to traditionally line up and just run the ball right at them and feel like you're going to be successful," Ohio coach Frank Solich said. "We had to come up with ways that we felt we could continue to make plays and then hopefully have our fair share of big plays."

Foster finished with six catches for 160 yards, earning most valuable player honors for Ohio. Tettleton was 21 of 40 for 228 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

"A win would have made this a whole lot better," Foster said. "It would have made it very tremendous, but I felt like our guys played their hearts out."

1
Text Only
Sports
  • James_Ethan-(12)-vs.#2CC63C.jpg Back on the line

    RiverHawks’ Ethan James returns to the line healthy and ready for 2014

    RiverHawks offensive lineman Ethan James will enter the 2014 season healthy – something the team, and James, were not in 2013.

    July 25, 2014 2 Photos

  • Sooners shifting several positions

    Experience comes from encountering the same things in the same ways over and over again. Oklahoma’s Geneo Grissom and Julian Wilson have that at defensive end and nickleback in bunches.
    However, both will be seeing new things when practice begins. Grissom is moving to outside linebacker. Wilson will be getting a look at cornerback as his senior season begins

    July 25, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Better police needed for college teams enticed to cheat

    The NCAA once cracked down on colleges that went too far luring top prospects, then it targeted teams that lathered players with special treatment. That was until the NCAA's get-tough approach backfired, rendering it ineffective and creating an opportunity for those who want to play dirty.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • BobBowlsby.jpg Media Week: Change is coming

    Changes are coming to college athletics.
    That was the theme of the state of the conference speech by Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby on the first day of Big 12 Football Media Days.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Peterson.jpg Cowboy quandary: OSU defense trying to replace seven starters

    A year after the best defensive team in the Mike Gundy era, the questions now surround how those few returning starters and second-year defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer can maintain that high level of efficiency.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Really one true champion?

    I decided to spare the colleagues in front of me – and myself from making a scene – by holding back flipping my table at the Big 12 Conference Football Media Days in Dallas.
    I had become exhausted by the constant use and misrepresentation by the Big 12 with their moniker of “One True Champion.” If they are going to live with the slogan, then they need to abide by that slogan.
    Perhaps its a simple case that they are keeping constant with the poor math of the 10-team Big 12 Conference.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hill expected to be used in multiple facets

    The picture became a little clearer recently of how Big 12 Conference Newcomer of the Year Tyreek Hill will be utilized in the Oklahoma State offense.
    And the picture is rather wide.

    July 23, 2014

  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Expectations too high for a rehabbing Woods

    Tiger Woods finished near bottom last weekend at Royal Liverpool, drawing out his drought of major tournament wins. Despite the disappointing showing, Woods' return to form remains a matter of when, not if.

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • shock pic.jpg Time to rest

    Shock beats San Antonio before entering All-Star break

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • McIlroy leads, Tiger Woods in contention after 1st day at British Open

    July 18, 2014

Poll

Do you believe school administrators and college presidents in Oklahoma are paid too much?

Strongly agree.
Somewhat agree.
Somewhat disagree.
Strongly disagree.
Undecided.
     View Results
Press Sports Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp
Stocks