It has been a successful season for the East Carolina Pirates in 2013 as they have finished with a 9-3 record and the second-best record in conference play and overall in C-USA. Having one of the most electric passing attacks in the nation is enough to make them a scary team to play.
On the other side of the field, the Ohio Bobcats had a strong start to the season with a 6-2 record, but they then lost three of four games to end the year — two of which came against bowl bound MAC teams. Ohio has been a solid team year in and year out, but a 7-5 record has to be somewhat disappointing.
East Carolina has one of the most exciting quarterbacks in the nation to lead the team. Shane Carden leads the 10th-best passing offense with 3,866 yards and 22 touchdowns on the year while hitting his favorite target, Justin Hardy, 105 times for 1,218 yards and eight touchdowns. The next closest receiver has just 54 catches for 556 yards and five touchdowns on the season. Senior running back Vintavious Cooper leads the 101st-ranked run game with 995 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground.
Ohio also has a solid quarterback leading the team. Tyler Tettleton is one of the best QBs in the conference, but he hasn’t had quite the same success in the past two seasons as he had in his sophomore season in 2011. Tettleton has passed for 2,623 yards and 20 touchdowns while hitting his favorite target as well, Donte Foster, a team-high 63 times for 858 yards and six scores. Beau Blankenship leads the 96th-ranked rushing attack with 844 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, the Pirates have been a top-tier defense in the nation this season. East Carolina ranks 51st in the nation in points allowed per game as well as 23rd in yards allowed per game. Ohio ranks 65th in the nation in points allowed per game as well as 57th in yards allowed per game.
Ohio and East Carolina will face off in the 2013 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl in St. Petersburg, Fla., at 2 p.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 23. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN.
PREDICTION: East Carolina 31, Ohio 30
Connor Muldowney is a columnist for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @Connormuldowney, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google. You can also reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.