East Carolina hangs on against scrappy UConn

The Sports Xchange

October 23, 2014 at 10:50 pm.

Oct 23, 2014; Greenville, NC, USA; East Carolina Pirates wide receiver Justin Hardy (2) catches a 1st quarter touchdown pass against the Connecticut Huskies defensive back Jhavon Williams (6) at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports)

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Shane Carden passed for a season-high 445 yards and18th-ranked East Carolina had two 100-yard receivers in its 31-21 win over Connecticut on Thursday night.

Warren Harvey booted a 31-yard field goal with 6:15 remaining and running back Breon Allen sealed the Pirates’ win with a 9-yard touchdown run with just over a minute left.

East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy caught 14 passes for 186 yards and moved within 24 receptions of the NCAA record held by former Oklahoma receiver Ryan Broyles.

Cam Worthy hauled in seven passes for 138 yards for the Pirates (6-1, 3-0 American).

UConn (1-6, 0-4) scored more than two touchdowns on offense for the first time this season.

Huskies senior quarterback Chandler Whitmer completed 18 of 30 passes for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

Carden threw a career-high 64 passes, completing 38, and had two touchdowns and an interception. Allen rushed for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

Whitmer lobbed a 32-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Noel Thomas on the Huskies’ first drive of the second half, knotting the score at 14-14.

The Pirates answered with a 10-play, 91-yard drive. Carden was helped with a 53-yard pass to Worthy and a pass interference call on the defense. Allen scampered into the end zone on a 1-yard run, putting the Pirates back on top.

It took just two plays for the Huskies to strike back as Whitmer fired an 88-yard touchdown pass to Deshon Foxx — the longest pass play against ECU’s defense since 2009.

Foxx caught four passes for 120 yards.

The Pirates struck on their opening drive with a 12-play, 79-yard scoring possession. Carden tossed a 13-yard touchdown pass to Hardy, who hung on in the end zone despite a holding penalty on the defense.

After the Pirates’ defense held Connecticut to a three-and-out, East Carolina extended its lead with a 10-yard touchdown reception by tight end Bryce Williams.

The Huskies stormed back with a seven-play, 77-yard drive, capped by a 1-yard touchdown run from Whitmer. That cut the Pirates’ lead to 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The teams exchanged turnovers early in the second quarter.

East Carolina defensive lineman Terry Biles picked off a deflected pass. Five plays later, Carden was intercepted by cornerback Byron Jones in the end zone.

Pirates kicker Warren Harvey missed a 33-yard field goal attempt with six seconds remaining in the first half and East Carolina led 14-7 at halftime. It was Harvey’s fourth miss in five attempts.

Carden passed for 268 yards in the first half. Hardy caught six passes for 90 yards before the break.

NOTES: The programs met for the first time. … East Carolina wore all black uniforms on a school-designated “Blackout Game.” … The Pirates received the opening kickoff for the 30th time in the past 31 games. … Huskies WR Geremy Davis caught a pass in his 33rd consecutive game. … Connecticut scored its first first-quarter touchdown of the season. … Terry Biles’ first-half interception was first by an East Carolina defensive lineman since 2012.