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ECSU set to play UNC Pembroke in home-opener

1-0 ECSU hosts 0-1 UNCP today at 1 p.m.

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Elizabeth City State quarterback Daquan Neal (with ball) will look to lead the ECSU offense as the Vikings host UNC Pembroke in their home-opener today at 1 p.m.

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By Craig Moyer
Sports Writer

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Elizabeth City State will look to start their season off with back-to-back wins as they host UNC Pembroke today in their first home game of the season at 1 p.m. in Roebuck Stadium.

The Vikings used a balanced attack on offense to lead them to a 34-23 win over Central State (Ohio) on the road in week one, passing for 265 yards and rushing for 141 yards.

Quarterback Daquan Neal led the Vikings’ offense in their opening win, as the senior threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another score.

Ten different Vikings players caught a pass in last week’s win, led by Sayquan Holder, who had five receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown, and Deon Yarborough, who had six catches for 78 yards and one touchdown.

Running back Gregory Bryan only rushed the ball four times for the Vikings, but gained 106 yards and scored a touchdown in the team’s opening-week victory.

UNCP got off to a slow start against Winston-Salem State in their home-opener, as they entered the half trailing 20-0, but stormed back in the second half and came up just short, losing 34-31.

The Vikings’ defense will try to limit the Braves’ redshirt freshman quarterback Dominick Samson, who threw for 209 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 27-of-40 passing in his collegiate debut last weekend.

Although Samson was dangerous through the air, the Braves’ offense struggled on the ground in the loss to the Rams, as they could only manage 28 yards rushing on 28 attempts.

While the Braves struggled on the ground, their defense also struggled to stop the Rams’ running game, allowing 278 yards and four touchdowns on the ground.

If UNCP continues to struggle against the run, Neal and Bryan could potentially have big games on the ground for ECSU.

The turnover battle was important for the Vikings in their opening-week win, as they forced four turnovers, which their offense turned into 26 points and the offense only committed one turnover.

The Vikings secondary forced all four turnovers, as BJ Harrington recorded three interceptions and Jonathan Turnage added another pick.

Today’s game will serve as a homecoming for three former high school players in the area who are freshman on UNCP’s roster.

Former Northeastern linebacker Trey Sawyer, offensive linemen Nick Golden and former Camden tight end Jay Guill are all members of the Braves this season.

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