It didn't look like Ohio would be here. After going 4-4 in conference play, including three straight blowout losses, it appeared the 'Cats season was over. But, somehow Ohio worked its way into the 2013 Beef 'O' Brady's bowl, and now we're here. It's gameday. The Bobcats get one shot to prove they deserved to be here, regardless of record, and here's how you can watch.
By The Numbers:
ECU comes into this game sitting at 9-3 (6-2 C-USA) and is looking for its first 10-win season in 22 years. The Pirates feature one of the nation's best offenses, averaging more than 40 points-per-game, mostly through the air via the prolific duo of Shane Carden and Justin Hardy. Oh, and the defense isn't too bad either. ECU is allowing right around 25 points-per-game, but is in the Top 30 nationally for total defense. This is the seventh bowl appearance for the Pirates in the past eight seasons, but has lost six of their last seven, including four straight.
Ohio stumbles into this one sitting at 7-5 (4-4 MAC) and is looking for its third straight bowl win. The 'Cats aren't particularly good at anything, ranking in the bottom half of the nation in both points scored and points allowed per game. In fact, Ohio is averaging just 1.3 more points-per-game than it allows. It's rushing attack is almost non-existent as well, ranking 96th in the nation in yards per game. This is the fifth straight bowl appearance for the Bobcats, who have won their previous two (The first two in school history).
Names To Know:
We already did a big breakdown of the game's impact players yesterday, which you can read here. But for the purpose of this piece, we'll give you a little breakdown of the team's coaches.
Frank Solich: In his ninth season in Athens, Fearless Frankie is a well known name around the MAC, and in the national coaching world. He spent the better part of three decades in Lincoln, Nebraska, including a stint as the Cornhuskers' head coach before winding up in Athens. Since he's arrival he's taken the 'Cats from the basement of the MAC, to a perennial contender. His Bobcats are playing in their fifth straight bowl game, having won the previous two. Nearing 70, Ohio is definitely his last stop, but there has been recent grumblings that this could be his last game. Don't be surprised if he calls it quits after a 'Cats win.
Ruffin McNeill: In his fourth season with the Pirates, McNeill is also a veteran of the college coaching ranks. Since 1985 the former ECU defensive back has been working his way up the college coaching ranks. Before joining his alma mater in 2010, he worked at Texas Tech for nine seasons, including as the defensive coordinator for the final two seasons. He worked under former Red Raiders head coach Mike Leach, being named the interim head coach after Leach was fired over allegations of player mistreatment. In four seasons at the helm of the Pirates, they've gone 29-22, with a trip to a bowl game in three of those years. A defensive mind by nature, his teams have actually featured strong offenses, and after winning 17 games these past two seasons, could be on his way up to a higher level job.
How To Watch:
This game will air on ESPN at 2 p.m. EST. It can also be streamed via the WatchESPN app and ESPN3.com with a valid cable subscription. Eamon McAnaney and Anthony Becht have the call for ESPN.
How To Listen:
The game's radio broadcasts can be streamed online via OhioBobcats.com and ECUPirates.com.
Ohio fans can hear Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius on the call on the Ohio Bobcats Radio Network on the 'Cats flagship station, 105.5 FM in Athens, Ohio.
ECU fans can hear the official game broadcast on 107.9 FM in Greenville, N.C.
We'll be providing up-to-the-minute coverage and analysis of the game right here in our Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl StoryStream. Be sure to also follow us on Twitter: Follow @HustleBelt
Follow @OhioFootball for Ohio Bobcats for in-game updates and information.
Follow @ECUScoreboard for in-game updates.
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