East Carolina's big offense is probably the last thing host Tulsa wants to see in its season finale Friday. Quarterback Shane Carden and the Pirates rank second nationally in passing while the Golden Hurricane have struggled to stop big plays. "It's just inconsistency," Tulsa safety Michael Mudoh told the Tulsa World. "We have to play four quarters. Just because we make one play doesn't mean we can let up the next play, because that's how we give up big plays."
The Golden Hurricane have allowed 42 plays of 30 or more yards, including a FBS-leading 13 plays of 60 yards or more. The Pirates, who lead the American Athletic Conference in total offense, have 30 plays of at least 30 yards. The Pirates still have an outside shot at winning the conference title, needing to win their last two games and have Memphis and Cincinnati lose.
TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: East Carolina -17.5
ABOUT EAST CAROLINA (7-3, 4-2 AAC): Carden has completed 63.6 percent of his passes for 3,574 yards and 21 touchdowns and is ranked second nationally in total offense (365.3). Justin Hardy, who broke the FBS record for career receptions last week, leads the AAC with 8.9 catches and 110.6 yards per game. Josh Hawkins (four interceptions, 10 pass breakups) and Zeek Bigger (106 tackles) lead a Pirate defense that's allowing just 94.8 rushing yards.
ABOUT TULSA (2-9, 2-5): The Tulsa defense, depleted by injuries this season, is ranked 119th out of 128 teams in points allowed (38.4) and 118th in yards (484.6). Dane Evans has thrown for 2,903 yards, 22 touchdowns and 15 interceptions while Keevan Lucas leads the AAC with 11 touchdown catches and is second with averages of 8.6 catches and 103.1 yards. Zack Langer leads Tulsa with 801 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
1. Eastern Carolina has won the past four meetings, averaging 45 points in those victories.
2. The Pirates have outscored their opponents by 66 points in fourth quarter, the nation's second-best mark.
3. The Golden Hurricane are trying to avoid their fourth 10-loss season in program history (1954, 2001, 2002).
PREDICTION: East Carolina 45, Tulsa 20