West Virginia 35, East Carolina 20
Jarrett Brown threw for a career-high 334 yards and four touchdown West Virginia paid back East Carolina with a 35-20 victory on Saturday.
Brown was at ease directing the offense in his second start since taking over for the departed Pat White. He completed nine straight passes at one point against a veteran defense and finished 24 of 31. He also ran 10 times for 73 yards.
West Virginia (2-0) sacked Patrick Pinkney four times and held East Carolina (1-1) scoreless in the second half. The Mountaineers used last year’s 24-3 loss at East Carolina as motivation and improved to 13-0 all time at home against the Pirates.
East Carolina is still looking for Pinkney to return to last year’s form that saw him lead the Pirates to a nine-win season that included victories over ranked teams Virginia Tech and West Virginia.
Pinkney followed up a poor performance against Appalachian State by going 16 of 39 for 175 yards with one TD toss and an interception. East Carolina was limited to 237 yards of offense.
Brown capped his day by hitting freshman Tavon Austin with a 58-yard TD toss early in the third quarter to put West Virginia ahead 28-20. East Carolina had a chance to close the gap in the fourth but turned the ball over on downs at the West Virginia 25.
Noel Devine led West Virginia with 80 yards rushing, including a 4-yard TD run midway through the fourth that capped the scoring. Jock Sanders had nine catches for 99 yards.
All of East Carolina’s points came with help from West Virginia mistakes. The Mountaineers committed five penalties on their first two possessions, giving the Pirates great field position early, and Sanders and teammate Brandon Hogan mishandled second-quarter punts.
East Carolina’s first-half scoring drives: 31, 26, 0 and 18 yards.
Without the help, East Carolina struggled. Pinkney threw passes behind his receivers and took little advantage of a West Virginia defense that lost linemen Julian Miller and Scooter Berry and linebacker Reed Williams with first-half injuries.
Pinkney threw six straight incompletions at one point, while Brown was sharp. Alric Arnett caught first-half scoring tosses of 46 and 11 yards from Brown and the Mountaineers led 21-20 at halftime.
Brown wasn’t flawless, but his mistakes weren’t costly. He threw a third-quarter interception deep in East Carolina territory and he fumbled the ball away at the ECU 19 early in the fourth.