Anthony Scott scored the go-ahead touchdown with 5:49 left to help ECU beat North Carolina State 33-30 on Saturday for the program's sixth straight win against ACC opponents.
East Carolina's 33-30 win over NC States gives the Pirates their 6th straight win vs. an ACC opponent #abc11— Ngozi_ABC11 (@Ngozi_ABC11) September 10, 2016
The Pirates (2-0), an American Athletic Conference member, have now beaten N.C. State (1-1), North Carolina and Virginia Tech twice each dating to the 2013 season.
"People want to talk down or look down on us like we're a scrub team," receiver Zay Jones said. "And that's fine. But when you've got to come out here and play football, that's the only thing that matters.
"You can talk all you want. You've got to talk with your pads. That's what we did today."
The Pirates missed two shots at a field goal, had two turnovers and even had Scott drop a sure TD when he got behind the Wolfpack's defense. But on a hot day backed by a rowdy home crowd, they did enough after blowing a 12-0 lead and falling behind 30-26 early in the fourth.
"They were as physical as advertised," East Carolina coach Scottie Montgomery said. "A lot of times we couldn't get them on the ground, sometimes we couldn't block them. But what we did do today, we played together."
Scott scored twice for ECU along with James Summers, whose second TD was a 15-yarder that saw him running through hits and dragging tacklers into the end zone.
N.C. State got a final chance from its own 38-yard line with 51 seconds left and no timeouts. After crossing midfield, Ryan Finley's 22-yard pass over the middle to Bra'Lon Cherry killed the final seconds. ECU players spilled onto the field to celebrate while Montgomery crossed his arms into a crossbones-style celebration toward the Pirates' crowd.
Matt Dayes ran for 103 yards for the Wolfpack, while Finley, Jaylen Samuels and Reggie Gallaspy II each ran for touchdowns.
"I told our team that we had our chances, that we were not opportunistic at key moments," Wolfpack coach Dave Doeren said.
N.C. STATE: While N.C. State's new offense racked up 497 yards, its defense struggled to keep up in its first true test. That doesn't bode well with a schedule that only gets tougher with No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Florida State, No. 13 Louisville, No. 18 Notre Dame and No. 25 Miami still to come.
"I told them, 'We've got 10 games left and we can decide what we want to do with them right now,'" Doeren said. "I'm not pointing fingers at them. I said, 'I lost the game, you lost the game, we lost the game.' We need to get back to work and go win one together."
EAST CAROLINA: Montgomery's first big win is sure to charge up the Pirates' fans and give the program a jolt of confidence in the midst of a tough nonconference slate. Not to mention some stuck-it-to-the-big-boys bounce in the step.
N.C. State's list of miscues included a 2-point conversion play that went nowhere, a stuffed fake field goal, two missed kicks, even a 15-yard sideline interference penalty on a drive that ended with Scott's 25-yard TD catch.
"We have to be a more mature team and at the moment of truth, we have to do all the things right to become a better team," Doeren said.
The Pirates converted all three fourth-down opportunities in the first half, including a fourth-and-1 from their own 34.
"My heart was probably racing a little too much in the first half," Montgomery said. "You go for it on fourth down three times in one half, you just want to make sure you give your kids the best opportunity to win."
N.C. STATE: The Wolfpack continues the nonconference schedule with a home game against Old Dominion. N.C. State has won the only two meetings, 46-34 at home in 2014 and 38-14 on the road last year.
EAST CAROLINA: The Pirates travel to South Carolina, the second of three straight against power-conference opponents.