Nov 28, 2020; Greenville, North Carolina, USA; Southern Methodist Mustangs quarterback Shane Buechele (7) is chased by East Carolina Pirates defensive lineman Rick D'Abreu (45) during the first half at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

News Articles

Ahlers-led East Carolina routs SMU

Holton Ahlers tossed four touchdown passes, all in a runaway first half, as East Carolina capitalized on every opportunity presented prior to the intermission in their 52-38 victory over SMU at Greenville, N.C.

Ahlers completed 20 of 29 passes for 298 yards for the Pirates (3-6, 3-5 AAC). Blake Proehl caught six passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns.

East Carolina closed its pandemic-shortened season with a flourish, scoring on all seven of its first-half possessions. The Pirates utilized two trick plays to positive results and turned a pair of critical defensive stops into a 38-point halftime lead that left the Mustangs (7-3, 4-3) stunned.

The Pirates showed their hand early with a 25-yard Luke Larsen run on a fake punt, part of a 10-play, 80-yard march capped by a 9-yard scoring run from Keaton Mitchell for a 7-0 lead. Pirates safety Juan Powell later stuffed a fourth-down run by SMU at the East Carolina 34-yard line.

Following the Powell stop, Ahlers found Proehl for an 11-yard touchdown and the Pirates were off. The Pirates converted a fourth-and-1 prior to Proehl catching his second touchdown, this one covering 35 yards from receiver Tyler Snead for a 21-7 lead on the final snap of the first.

Pirates linebacker Jireh Wilson followed with a strip of Mustangs tight end Judah Bell and a 39-yard return to the SMU 32. Ahlers then closed the half with scoring passes to C.J. Johnson (14 yards), Mitchell (7) and Snead (16) as East Carolina carried a 45-7 lead into the break.

SMU fashioned a comeback in the second half with a Shane Buechele touchdown run, the first receiving touchdown of the season for freshman running back Ulysses Bentley IV and a 39-yard Tyler Page punt return that provided the Mustangs possession at the East Carolina 27.

But the Pirates prevented a third consecutive SMU touchdown when defensive tackle D’Anta Johnson sacked Buechele for a 12-yard loss on third down, forcing SMU to settle for a 36-yard Chris Naggar field goal on the final play of the third. The Pirates then mounted a five-play, 75-yard scoring march that culminated in a 2-yard touchdown run from Darius Pinnix and a 52-24 lead.

Tyler Lavine added two scoring runs that pulled SMU to within 14 points with 7:05 left, however, Ja’Quan McMillian picked off Buechele (314 yards, two touchdowns) twice late to snuff the rally.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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