Charleston Southern, East Carolina set for first meeting

NCAA Football

After an 0-2 start this season, the East Carolina Pirates will look to win their second consecutive game.

In the first-ever meeting between the two programs on Saturday, East Carolina (1-2) will face Charleston Southern (1-1) in Greenville, N.C.

Pirates quarterback Holton Ahlers likely will be behind any success against the Buccaneers, an FCS squad from the Big South Conference.

Ahlers accounted for four touchdowns – two passing, one rushing, one receiving — in the Pirates’ unlikely 42-38 win at Marshall last week.

The visitors rallied from a 38-21 deficit to score three TDs in the final half of the fourth quarter. Rahjai Harris put ECU up for good with a 1-yard touchdown run with 55 seconds remaining.

Ahlers, who finished 30-of-48 for 368 yards and two TDs passing, caught a 27-yard score with 2:31 left. The team recovered an onside kick to set up Harris’ game-winning plunge.

The Pirates produced 561 yards of offense while allowing Marshall 647.

Pirates coach Mike Houston said his team benefited mentally from the comeback win.

“I think it’s the opposite end of the spectrum from when I stood up here last week,” he said, referring to his squad’s 20-17 last-second home loss to South Carolina on Sept. 11.

“We stink, we have no shot, everybody needs to give up, all that stuff. Now it’s the other end of the spectrum, so it’s balancing out.”

And as for Charleston Southern?

“They’re going to come in here this week – this is their Super Bowl,” Houston said.

The Buccaneers have split their first two games – beating the Citadel and losing to Monmouth – and have relied partly on the athleticism of signal-caller Jack Chambers.

He threw four TD passes in the victory over the Citadel and added two rushing scores against Monmouth.

In the season-opening, 38-21 win over the Citadel, wide receiver Garris Schwarting caught four scores and threw the first TD pass in his career – having a hand in five touchdowns – in the big road victory across town.

The grad student from Bamberg, S.C., was named the Big South’s Offensive Player of the Week after his 151 receiving yards.

“He started as a walk and earned a scholarship,” Buccaneers coach Autry Denson said. “He was selected a captain. He’s just the most competitive young man we have in this football ministry.

“He doesn’t like the attention — just loves playing football with his brothers.”

–Field Level Media

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