Tulane, East Carolina ready to battle in AAC opener

National Sports

Tulane and East Carolina hope to get off to better starts when they meet in their American Athletic Conference opener Saturday afternoon in Greenville, N.C.

The Green Wave (1-3) fell behind UAB 21-0 and couldn’t catch up in a 28-21 loss in their home opener last week.

The Pirates (2-2) fell behind Charleston Southern 14-0 before scoring 31 unanswered points in a 31-28 home victory last Saturday. That effort came a week after ECU overcame a 17-point deficit in the final 7:31 to defeat Marshall 42-38.

“Yeah, I’d like to try and not do that,” Pirates coach Mike Houston said of digging early holes. “I wish (the record) was 3-1, but 2-2 going into conference play is a good start, especially considering it is a challenging non-conference schedule.”

ECU started the season with losses against Appalachian State and South Carolina.

Keaton Mitchell ignited the Pirates’ comeback against Charleston Southern with a 74-yard touchdown run in the second quarter. He had an 88-yard touchdown run against Marshall and a 63-yard touchdown reception against Appalachian State.

Tulane, which beat outmanned Morgan State for its only victory, has played two games against ranked teams (Oklahoma and Ole Miss), and UAB has won the Conference USA West Division each of the last three seasons.

“We can’t just play well in parts of games,” Green Wave coach Willie Fritz said. “Every play matters. We’re not going to roll the ball out there and just beat people. We’ve got to challenge ourselves and get better, there’s no doubt about it.”

Tulane wasn’t competitive in a 61-21 loss at Ole Miss two weeks ago and then was plagued by four turnovers and several dropped passes and missed tackles against UAB.

“There are a lot of things that we have to be honest with ourselves (about),” Fritz said. “Where we’re at, who is making good plays and who isn’t making plays, what were good calls and what were bad calls, what do we need to do to get better?”

–Field Level Media

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