Supported by a strong pack, East Carolina muscled past Furman 19-0 Saturday to hand the Paladins their first loss of the season.
The contest was played under wet conditions in Greenville, North Carolina. The Pirates opened the game with a try in the forward pack near the 20-minute mark as both teams sought to establish their game.
The Pirates bullied in another try 15 minutes later as the ball squirted out of a ruck and bounced into the hands fortunate Pirate forward with a green field ahead.
The Paladins did have two apparent tries annulled by the official that were controversial. One was called held up. On a wide kick to the try zone by fly half Jacob Milchuck, winger Adam Miller appeared to outrace an ECU fullback to the ball in time to apply downward pressure.
But the official saw it differently and awarded a 22-meter drop kick to ECU.
In the second half the Pirates added a try and conversion near the midway mark.
For their part, Furman did maintain possession for better part of the second half and had plenty of chances near the try line squandered by knock-ons and miscommunication.
Playing without starting locks Trent Pannell and Richard Budd, Furman’s scrum was disjointed. Consequently, the Furman backline seldom received clean ball and generated little forward motion against the hard-charging East Carolina defenders.
“ECU had a solid team,” said Coach John Roberts. “We had plenty of chances to put ourselves in a position to make it a competitive game. But ultimately we lost to better team today. We did not play well and deserved defeat.”
The squad returns to action Saturday in a 1 p.m. home game against undefeated Appalachian State. The winner of this all-important contest advances to the Southern Rugby Conference Final Four play-offs.