GREENVILLE, N.C. — East Carolina will have to go after its first 4-0 start in nine years without one of its top defensive players, linebacker Quentin Cotton.

Coach Skip Holtz said Cotton is likely out for the season after injuring his right knee during Saturday's win at Tulane. Cotton was hurt during the second quarter during a goal-line stand in the Pirates' 28-24 victory.

The senior had started 23 games over the past two seasons and all three games this year for the 15th-ranked Pirates, who travel to in-state rival North Carolina State on Saturday.

East Carolina will likely also be without left tackle Stanley Bryant, who also injured his knee and is out indefinitely. Bryant started all three games this season.