“Give me liberty or give me death”. The East Carolina Pirates got death, three times. If I went on an alcohol and steamed oyster binge over the weekend, passed out, missed the Liberty Bowl and looked at nothing but the Team Stat Comparison I would say ECU outplayed Arkansas and won the game. Only part of that is true. I did see the game and while the stats do favor the Pirates, ECU somehow managed to lose the game, twice, and that was just in regulation.
ECU played about as well has they could have against an SEC power like Arkansas. The Defense was especially stout holding one of the best offenses in the SEC to 283 total yards. ECU’s D also held Arkansas to zero 3rd down conversions in 13 attempts making the Razorbacks the second major college team this season to win without converting a third down.
Now why we’re at it let’s go down the stat list, offense included and see where the Pirates prevailed; 1st downs, check. Total yards, check. Passing, check. Rushing, check. Penalties, check. 3rd down conversions, check. Time of Possession, check. That leads us to TURNOVERS and they are a killer. I thought going into this game it would be ECU who would need the turnovers and intangible play to win but it ended up being the Razorbacks who would capitalize on Pirate blunders for their plunder. Patrick Pinkney through a pair of interceptions in the 3rd quarter, one I dubbed a “Pickney six” which allowed Arkansas back into the game. But it wasn’t just the turnovers that ultimately sank the Pirates; it was also two go ahead game winning missed field goals late in the fourth and another in OT that ECU could not overcome. For the Pirates the booted football in those attempts was liberty and the wind was tyranny. For Arkansas, the opposite; a 37-yard field goal with the wind in overtime gave the Razorbacks the 20-17 victory and the Liberty Bell was theirs.
Be that as it may, the “meaningless” bowl games are behind us and once again we should all fight so that the real tyranny that is the Bowl Championship Series finally blow away once so we shall have playoff liberty for all.