East Carolina vs. North Carolina A&T fearless prediction and game preview.
Date: Saturday, September 1
Game Time: 6:00 pm ET
Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, Greensboro, NC
East Carolina (0-0) vs. North Carolina A&T (0-0) Game Preview
Really … really?
The Pirates need a breather to kick things off, and it’s not going to get on.
Last year, East Carolina had to start out the season against James Madison – a strong FCS team that went on to have a massive season. It was an easy call – JMU was going to pull off the win – and yet, Pirate fans went crazy over the pick.
The Pirates lost 34-14 on the way to a 3-9 season.
And now, with another FCS game ECU needs as a layup/tune-up, it gets a loaded team that went 12-0 last season with one of the best defenses at the lower level.
The Aggies roared through the 2017 season including a win over Charlotte, but beating East Carolina would be a huge feather in the program’s cap.
One Reason Why North Carolina A&T Will Win
One team is coming into this game with the nation’s fourth-best defense from last season. The other is entering it with 2017’s nation-worst defense in both scoring and yards.
Of course, NC A&T’s D did it in the FCS and East Carolina’s in the FBS, but this is still a nasty Aggie defense that’s going to give the Pirates problems. The offense isn’t going to be a breeze for ECU, either, led by quarterback Lamar Reynard coming off a massive season.
He’s 26-0 as the starter for the Aggies. East Carolina has won 29 games over the last five seasons.
One Reason Why East Carolina Will Win
The Pirate offensive line should be able to give everyone time to work.
It might have been a nasty year for ECU last season, but the line was great in pass protection and should be again. As long as the front five can keep the Aggie defensive front from living in the backfield, the offense should be able to move.
On the other side, new defensive coordinator David Blackwell should make things a little bit better. As long as the defensive front can start to get behind the line a bit, everything will start to change. ECU has to get pressure on Reynard, or it’s going to be a long day.
What’s Going To Happen
Not this year. ECU won’t make it two FCS losses in a row.
North Carolina A&T might have FBS wins over Charlotte and Kent State over the last two seasons, but East Carolina is going to come out looking like a different team.
No, the defense isn’t going to slow down the Aggie passing attack, but it’ll do it just enough to get by. Even against a great FCS defense, the offense will come up with good balance and a big day from the passing game to shake the very, very dangerous opener.