The first half of the meeting between the East Carolina Pirates and Cincinnati Bearcats was a microcosm for the seasons both teams are having.
The Bears lead 31-20 through two quarters, but the game is far from settled. Just like the American Athletic Conference, this game could go down to the wire.
Both teams are approaching this game like they any other contest they played in recent weeks.
The Pirates sputtered at points. The Shane Carden-led offense was in the red zone four times before the Pirates finally found the end zone.
— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) November 14, 2014
Despite the slow start, Carden finished the half 20-of-35 passing for 255 yards. But the Pirates can’t continue to come up short after they successfully move the football. Cincinnati is far too explosive on offense to trade field goals for touchdowns.
The Bearcats’ explosiveness on offense showed up during the team’s first drive of the game. Quarterback Gunner Kiel targeted junior wide receiver Mekale McCoy for a short screen. The 6-6 receiver picked his way through blockers, tiptoed down the sidelines and finally burst past the Pirates’ secondary for a 55-yard touchdown.
McCoy caught six passes for 116 yards.
With the Bearcats trailing 20-14 in the second quarter, Kiel connected with junior Chris Moore on a post for a 66-yard touchdown pass.
But Cincinnati’s downfall all season has been its inability to stop opposing offenses. The Pirates already amassed 333 yards of offense compared to the Bearcats’ 393.
These two teams should continue their offensive onslaught during the second half. With more scoring to come, a chance to win an American Athletic Conference crown is riding on the outcome.