for this game

East Carolina shocks West Virginia for second straight upset

Sep 7, 2008 - 3:39 AM GREENVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Another weekend, another upset for East Carolina, which is sending major shockwaves through the college football landscape.

Patrick Pinkney passed for 236 yards, Jonathan Williams rushed for two short touchdowns and East Carolina completely shut down Heisman Trophy hopeful Pat White in Saturday's 24-3 demolition of No. 8 West Virginia.

It was the second stunner in as many weeks for the Pirates (2-0), who upset then-No. 17 Virginia Tech, 27-22, in Charlotte seven days ago.

This one was not nearly as close, as East Carolina raced to a 17-3 halftime lead and limited West Virginia's vaunted offense to 251 total yards. The multi-talented White passed for just 72 yards and ran for 97 yards on 20 carries.

"They beat us up," said White, who threw five touchdown passes last week against Villanova and is widely considered the best running quarterback in the county.

It marked the first time that the Pirates beat a top-10 team since a 27-23 upset of ninth-ranked Miami on September 23, 1999. It also was East Carolina's third consecutive win over a ranked opponent; the Pirates defeated then-No. 24 Boise State in the Hawaii Bowl in December.

"We've come a long way," Pirates head coach Skip Holtz said. "There was a time when we couldn't win three in a row."

This win may have been the most important of all for the Pirates, who appear destined to enter the national rankings for the first time since the 1999 season. And if its first two games are any indication, East Carolina also could possibly be headed for a Bowl Championship Series berth.

"I told them it wasn't going to take an out-of-body experience to beat West Virginia," Holtz said.

Holtz, who signed a contract extension prior to the season opener, may have overestimated the Mountaineers, who were reeling from the outset in this one.

The Pirates took the lead for good on the game's opening possession, marching 80 yards in under six minutes. The 11-play drive was capped by Williams' 5-yard run.

East Carolina made a statement on its first defensive stand, as defensive tackle Jay Ross recovered a fumble by White, who was attempting to stretch for a first down at the Pirates' 39-yard line.

The Pirates took a 10-0 lead on Ben Ryan's 42-yard field goal with 9:19 left in the first half that capped a seven-minute drive.

West Virginia (1-1) clawed to within 10-3 on Pat McAfee's 26-yard field goal and appeared to have some momentum after Ryan missed a 43-yarder on the following possession.

But Jock Sanders fumbled at the West Virginia 35 following a short completion, and the Pirates capitalized two plays later when Pinkney found Alex Taylor in the back-right corner of the end zone for a 13-yard TD.

Pinkney finished 22-of-28 while Williams rushed for 63 yards on 16 carries for the Pirates, who are off to their first 2-0 start since 1999.

East Carolina controlled the ball for 35:41 and collected 386 yards of total offense against West Virginia's inexperienced defense.

Conversely, the Mountaineers had the ball for 24:19 and may have underutilized speedy running back Noel Devine, who finished with 94 yards on just 12 carries.

"I'm not going to get all down in the dumps," West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said. "You can't just put the old gold and blue on. You've got to play in the old gold and blue."