College Football Preview: East Carolina vs. UAB

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 21, 2008

Associated Press
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó A division title is within East Carolina’s grasp ó again.
After falling short the past two years, the Pirates look to wrap up their first Conference USA division championship today at UAB ó where they have lost all three times they’ve visited.
“They understand where we are right now at 6-4 and still sitting in first-place in the East Division,” East Carolina coach Skip Holtz said. “We’ve got to go down there with the mindset that we have to find a way to win in Alabama. I keep hearing how we’ve never won there so hopefully this is a week of firsts.”
If so, the Pirates (6-4, 4-3) will be on their way to the school’s first appearance in the C-USA championship game.
Of course, this is precisely the kind of matchup that has kept East Carolina from getting there before. In each of the previous two seasons, the Pirates were knocked out of the division race with a road loss to a sub-.500 conference rival. Two years ago, Rice ruined their finish while last year it was Marshall’s turn to spoil their season.
Now the Blazers (3-7, 2-4) want to make it three in a row, by following up their first road victory under Neil Callaway with what would be an even bigger triumph at home. UAB is coming off a 41-24 victory at Tulane.
“One thing that concerns me about this football team is that … when we have won, we haven’t played very well the next week,” Callaway said. “We need to learn how to win, and learn how to prepare, after we win to win another one.”
The Pirates have been doing it with defense lately, allowing just 57 points in their last four games. But the offense couldn’t generate much last week in a 17-3 loss at Southern Mississippi that snapped a three-game winning streak.