ECU crushes Marshall, 37-10

Published 12:01 am Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Associated Press

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Jon Williams ran for 111 yards and a touchdown to help East Carolina stay perfect in Conference USA by beating Marshall 37-10 on Saturday.

Dominique Davis threw for 208 yards and two scores for the Pirates (5-2, 4-0), who are off to their best start in league play since going 5-0 in 2001. The two-time defending league champions have won 10 straight against C-USA opponents, including last season’s win against Houston in the title game.

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East Carolina has also won three straight overall since consecutive road losses to Atlantic Coast Conference teams Virginia Tech and North Carolina.

East Carolina shook off a sluggish start by scoring twice in the final 2 1/2 minutes of the first half to take a 20-10 halftime lead. The Pirates then scored on their first three drives of the second half to blow the game open against the struggling Thundering Herd (1-6, 0-3).

East Carolina was coming off an overtime win against instate rival North Carolina State, a game that drew a sellout and record crowd to Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. But that energy didn’t carry over, with the Pirates coming out flat and finding their normally prolific spread passing attack struggling for yardage early.

In fact, Marshall had outgained East Carolina (186-167) in total yardage in the first half while Davis — who came in as the league’s top passer at nearly 315 yards per game — threw for just 92 yards. But Williams’ powerful 29-yard burst up the middle for a touchdown put East Carolina ahead 17-10 with 2:14 left in the half, a margin that would only grow.

First Davis capped the opening drive of the second half by scampering around the left side untouched for a 26-yard touchdown to make it 27-10. Then, after the second drive ended with a field goal, Williams cracked the 100-yard mark by barreling over would-be tacklers for another bruising run of 21 yards to set up Davis’ 10-yard scoring toss to Mike Price for the 37-10 lead with 12:59 left.

That was Davis’ last throw, with former walk-on Brad Wornick entering the game with more than 9 minutes left.

Meanwhile, Brian Anderson threw for 217 yards before being pulled for a backup for the third straight game. He had some success early by throwing underneath, but struggled the longer the game wore on and finished 27 for-47 with three interceptions.

Marshall’s only touchdown was Anderson’s 9-yard pass to Troy Evans midway through the second quarter that tied the game at 10-10.

Before the game, there was a moment of silence to honor the 75 victims of the 1970 plane crash that took place as the Marshall team was returning home from a loss at East Carolina. Next month marks the 40th anniversary of the crash.