The Turning Point – ECU

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Emmanuel Byers dropped a pass that could have made a difference in the game.

So close, but yet so far. Close, but no cigar. Little things mean a lot.

Virginia’s big loss to ECU on Saturday evening was a series of “little things” that added up to a big consequence.

Time after time, a play here or a play there could have been the difference between winning and losing. Any single one of these plays could have become this article – if one of them had gone in UVa’s favor, that is.

  • Less than seven minutes to go in the first quarter, second down-and-10 on the ECU 32. Pirate QB James Pinkney breaks free when the pocket collapses for a 25-yard game. The little thing – a friendly shove out-of-bounds by linebacker Antonio Appleby draws a personal foul and an ECU first down on the Cavalier 28-yard line.
  • Late in the first quarter on second and goal at the Virginia five-yard line, ECU scores on a quarterback draw. The little thing – it was a busted play. With ECU in a four-wide set, trips right, the shot gun snap sails over the head of Pinkney who reaches out and like a rebounder-in-the-paint, catches the ball and finds a seam in the defense. Appleby gets sealed out of the play and can’t make the tackle. Instead of attacking the running quarterback, linebacker Clint Sintim maintains coverage at the goal line as Pinkney approached the line of scrimmage, taking himself out of the play.
  • With just more than three minutes remaining in the third quarter and the Hoos down 24-14, on third-and-17 at the ECU 42-yard line, Jameel Sewell fires a completion for a first down to Tom Santi to keep the drive alive. The little thing – Sewell was two yards over the line of scrimmage and the result – an illegal forward pass penalty, a three-yard loss and a punt.
  • Next play – Chris Gould booms one of his longest punts