ECU's Davis struggles in 17-10 loss to Hokies
GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP)
Davis and the Pirates didn't expect such a low-scoring game or weak offensive performance a week after Davis put up 260 yards in the air and four touchdowns in a loss to South Carolina.
''I really didn't,'' Davis said. ''As an offense, of course you want to score more points than 10 points.''
Davis was sacked five times, often waiting too long to get rid of the ball under pressure. Though he completed 20 of 38 passes, the Pirates (0-2) tallied just 127 yards in the air.
''Just like I said, it's all my fault,'' he said of the sacks. ''I should've got the ball out a little quicker.''
One sack in particular cost the Pirates when they held a 7-3 lead in the second quarter. With ECU facing a third-and-9 from the Virginia Tech 24, Davis got flushed out of the pocket, but didn't get rid of the ball. Virginia Tech's Jeron Gouveia-Winslow and Bruce Taylor sacked Davis for a 12-yard loss.
''We knew if he couldn't throw the ball, our defensive line would be able to make plays,'' Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller said. ''We came prepared. And he didn't have anywhere to go.''
The sack turned a 41-yard field goal attempt into a 53-yarder. ECU kicker Mike Barbour hit the post with 7:45 left in the first half.
ECU coach Ruffin McNeill insisted Davis wasn't confused with the play-calling.
''He just had a tough day, in my opinion,'' McNeill said. ''Dominique is our leader. I'm glad he's on our football team. He's our bell cow. Everybody had a tough day.''
For Virginia Tech, Josh Oglesby ran for the go-ahead 10-yard score with 7:30 left in the game, giving Hokies' coach Frank Beamer his 200th win at the school.
David Wilson ran for 138 yards to lead the Hokies (2-0) and quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in his second career start while the Hokies also committed 12 penalties and two turnovers. But their defense completely shut down the Pirates' high-powered passing attack and held East Carolina to minus-15 yards rushing - second fewest in ECU history.
Michael Dobson ran for a 2-yard touchdown for the Pirates. But in an unusual twist, it was their defense - among the nation's worst last year - that kept East Carolina in it until late.
In fact, that unit forced the Hokies into a three-and-out to get the ball back with 3:32 left. But the Pirates managed only to reach midfield, and Michael Bowman dropped a sure big-gainer near the right sideline before Davis' fourth-down heave for Bowman fell incomplete with 1:58 left.
Davis struggled when he did get it in the air. He overthrew open receivers several times near the sideline, mistakes that look bigger when the final score is so close.
It was an all-around ugly day for a Pirates offense that averaged nearly 37 points last year. The worst moment came with about 6 minutes left in the third quarter, when Davis found Dobson over the middle for what should have been an easy 31-yard touchdown catch. But Dobson, two steps past Taylor, dropped the perfectly thrown ball.
In fact, considering the dominance of Virginia Tech's defense, it could have been an uglier result. But the Pirates hung in all day against the Hokies and their physical rushing attack, faltering only when they allowed Oglesby into the end zone on a 1-yard run in the third and the go-ahead score in the fourth.
Thomas completed 8 of 20 passes for 91 yards and an interception in his second start.