Publisher's note: This post appears here courtesy of the news and information section for East Carolina University men's and women's sports.
East Carolina will open a two-game road swing with its longest trip of the season, traveling to Dallas to face American Athletic Conference West Division contender No. 23 SMU Saturday. In addition, the tilt against the Mustangs also closes a two-game stretch against nationally-ranked opponents for the Pirates, who dropped a 46-43 decision to AAC East Division forerunner No. 17 Cincinnati last week. ECU will attempt to post multiple road wins in the same season for the first time since 2015, which also marks the year of the Pirates' last meeting against SMU on the Hilltop.
ECU RECORDS AND STREAKS
- Qualified for 10 bowl appearances since 2000 (eight in the last 13 years) ...
- Has thrown at least one TD pass in six-straight games (and in 13 of the last 16 contests) ...
- Has averaged 481.7 yards total offense (356.7 passing) in its last three games ...
- Has made at least one field goal (when attempted) in 20-straight games ...
- Has booked at least six tackles for lost yardage in seven of the last eight games (54 total) ...
- Has forced at least one turnover in eight-straight games (most since 2013) ...
- Has won 37 of the last 41 games when leading at the half ...
- Has won two of three games against SMU in Dallas ...
East Carolina leads 4-3 ... The Pirates and Mustangs both turned in respective sweeps as Conference USA inter-divisional opponents - ECU taking 2005 and 2006 matchups before SMU posted consecutive victories in 2009 and 2010 ... The Pirates bounced back by capturing two of the first three American Athletic Conference meetings, posting wins in 2014 and 2015 under Ruffin McNeill before suffering a setback in 2016 ... The Mustangs' visit to Greenville in 2014 also marked East Carolina's inaugural AAC clash.
MIKE HOUSTON AGAINST THE MUSTANGS
Including Mike Houston
's prior eight-year tenure as a collegiate head coach at Lenoir-Rhyne, The Citadel and James Madison, Saturday's game will mark his first-ever meeting against SMU.
SONNY DYKES AGAINST THE PIRATES
While Saturday's contest will be Sonny Dykes' first against East Carolina as a head coach, he did face the Pirates once as an assistant ... During his first year as Texas Tech's co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach in 2000, ECU raced out to a 34-0 second-quarter lead before posting a 40-27 victory in the galleryfurniture.com Bowl at the Astrodome ... Leonard Henry (20-92, 2 TDs) led a 252-yard rushing attack, Keith Stokes had a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown and David Garrard completed 17-of-27 passes for 229 yards and another score to lead the Pirates offensively ... Quarterback Kliff Kingsbury threw for 307 yards on a 31-of-49 passing effort to headline the Red Raiders' attack ... Nine of Dykes' receivers caught passes, including three by Wes Welker.
AGAINST THE LONE STAR STATE
The Pirates have won 21 of 35 all-time matchups (21-14) against FBS programs from the state of Texas ... ECU is 7-7 against UH, 4-3 vs. SMU, 3-1 vs. UTEP, 2-2 vs. Rice, 2-1 vs. TCU, 1-0 vs. Texas Tech, 1-0 vs. North Texas and 1-0 against Texas State ... ECU has never faced Baylor, Texas or Texas A&M on the gridiron ... On the road, the Pirates are 9-7 overall when playing Texas-based teams.
HOUSTON RETURNS TO THE METROPLEX
ECU Head Coach Mike Houston
will make a return to the DFW area this weekend for the first time since appearing in back-to-back NCAA FCS National Championship Games to close out the 2016 and 2017 campaigns.
THE AMERICAN - YEAR SIX
East Carolina has posted an 82-72 (.532) all-time mark against current members of the American Conference ... The Pirates currently sport series records against Memphis (15-8), Cincinnati (13-10), Tulane (11-5), UCF (10-8), Tulsa (8-6), Temple (8-9), Houston (7-7), Connecticut (4-1), SMU (4-3), Navy (1-6) and USF (1-9).
AGAINST THE WILD WEST
ECU owns a 2-11 regular season mark (1-5/home, 1-6/road) against the American Athletic Conference's "other side" since the league began divisional play in 2015 - splitting with SMU and Tulsa, dropping a pair to Houston, Memphis and Tulane, and falling three times to Navy ... The Pirates own a 5-19 mark (3-10/home, 2-9/road) against AAC opponents in its own East Division.
2019 East Opponents:
Temple/L 27-17, @UCF/L 41-28, USF/L 45-20, Cincinnati/L 46-43, @UConn (Nov. 23)
2019 West Opponents:
@Navy/L 42-10, @SMU (Nov. 9), Tulsa (Nov. 30)
LEAGUE, NON-LEAGUE STATISTICAL COMPARISONS
The Pirates have averaged 23.6 points, 111.4 rushing yards, 287.4 passing yards and 398.8 total yards in their five (Navy, Temple, UCF, USF, Cincinnati) American Athletic Conference games of the 2019 season ... By comparison, ECU averaged 24.3 points, 195.8 rushing yards, 212.2 passing yards and 408.0 total yards per game in its four regular season non-conference contests this year ... The Pirates followed a 2-2 non-league ledger in 2018 with a 3-1 mark this fall and hope to improve their AAC record to 1-5 when they square off against SMU.
COMPARING 10-YEAR, NINE-GAME RESULTS
Following its loss to Cincinnati Saturday, East Carolina's 3-6 record represents the best nine-game mark since 2016 ... A victory over SMU would give ECU a 4-6 ledger, which would be the program's top 10-game "start" since 2015 (also 4-6).
ON THE ROAD
Since becoming a conference member in 1997, ECU is 56-90 (.384) when playing away from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium ... The Pirates snapped a 10-game road losing streak with a 24-21 win at Old Dominion on Sept. 28 and will try to capture two "away" victories (in the same season) for the first time since 2015 when they face SMU on Saturday ... From a league standpoint, ECU has dropped nine straight (and 12 of the last 13) road contests ... The Pirates' last American Athletic Conference triumph was a 41-38 thriller at Connecticut on Sept. 24, 2017.