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Sunday, October 1, 2023


East Carolina quarterback named; Rice off to bad start

Life became tough for East Carolina redshirt sophomore quarterback Rob Kass when he was arrested Aug. 27 for driving while impaired in Greenville, N.C.

Kass, who was suspended for the Pirates’ 17-7 season-opening loss to Virginia Tech on Saturday, could face an even tougher road now that he no longer has a hold on the starting job.

Kass’ unavailability forced ECU head coach Skip Holtz to play junior Patrick Pinkney, redshirt sophomore Brett Clay and redshirt freshman Dwayne Harris against Virginia Tech. Surprisingly, the trio held its own against a stingy Hokies defense.

Clay, Pinkney and Harris rotated in and out early in the game, but Pinkney finished the game and outshone his peers.

Pinkney, the third-string quarterback, completed 14-of-25 passes for 115 yards and rushed for 48 yards on nine carries. He also helped lead the Pirates to their only score.

Clay struggled somewhat, completing only 2-of-6 passes for 4 yards and a costly interception that was returned for a touchdown late in the first half. Harris failed to attempt a pass, instead handing off and rushing for 16 yards on four carries.

After considering the performances of all three, Holtz named Pinkney the starter for Saturday’s home game against North Carolina.

"Right now this is Patrick Pinkney’s job and he deserves it," Holtz said Monday in a press release. "I was impressed with the way he played and protected the ball. He managed the game well. He gave a spark of enthusiasm to our offense and I think that is what our young football team needs right now.

"When (Kass) made the decision he did, he gave up the spot and (Pinkney) did a nice job of stepping up and taking it."

What does this mean for Kass, who was named the starter during spring practice and doesn’t have a collegiate start to his name?

"(Kass) was out at practice yesterday and he has served his one-game suspension," Holtz told the Washington Daily News. "He is available to play. I met with Rob last night, but he will work his way up from the bottom. For Rob Kass, if he gets his opportunity he’s going to have to make the most of it, but right now it’s Patrick Pinkney’s job."

Bailiff could use a do-over

The David Bailiff-era at Rice isn’t off to a good start.

The Owls were embarrassed in more ways than one in Saturday’s 16-14 season-opening loss to Nicholls State, a Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) from the Southland Conference.

The most glaring concern from that debacle was the Owls’ offense, which coughed and sputtered its way to 218 total yards.

The five turnovers committed by junior quarterback Chase Clement also didn’t sit too well with the crowd of 11,859 that assembled at Rice Stadium on Saturday.

Bailiff, who was lured away from Texas State in January to replace Todd Graham as Rice coach, could only grimace as his team struggled to move the ball against the Colonels’ defense.

After the game, Bailiff did what any coach in his situation would do – he took all the blame.

"I did a bad job of getting this football team ready to play. I have to do a better job," Bailiff told the Houston Chronicle. "We had too many errors, too many turnovers, too many penalties, and the blame lies right here with me. We never had a rhythm, and that’s inexcusable."

Extra points

Southern Methodists’ 49-9 loss to Texas Tech on Monday was the Mustangs’ 11th consecutive loss to the Red Raiders. … Central Florida’s 25-23 victory against North Carolina State on Saturday was the Golden Kight’s second win while facing an opponent from a BCS conference since their move to the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) in 1996. … Rice junior wide receiver Jarrett Dillard saw his streak of consecutive games with a touchdown reception end at 15 in the Owls’ 16-14 loss to Nicholls State on Saturday. Dillard, who had five catches for 41 yards, put together the second-longest streak in NCAA history, falling three short of the record held by former Pittsburgh wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who caught a touchdown pass in 18 consecutive games from 2002-03. … With a 205-yard rushing performance against Oregon on Saturday, Houston running back Anthony Alridge became only the fifth player in school history to rush for at least 200 yards in multiple games.

His only other 200-yard rushing outing came against SMU on Nov. 11 (He rushed for a career-high 225 yards that day).

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