What makes this matchup intriguing is that East Carolina is the worst defense in college football going up against a BYU team that has the worst offense in college football. Something will have to give on Saturday night in Greenville, North Carolina.
When BYU has the ball
BYU is a little better running the ball than passing the ball. East Carolina's defense is a little better against the run than the pass. But it's splitting hairs. In sum, this is BYU's best chance to cure what ails it on offense. East Carolina is vulnerable along the front seven and in the secondary.
Given BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer's desire to establish the running game to set up the pass, expect BYU to see if it can ride Ula Tolutau and impose its will against East Carolina. If it can, the passing game should look better than it has all season.
When East Carolina has the ball
East Carolina is significantly better at passing the ball than running it. Quarterback Thomas Sirk is pretty decent at slinging the ball around the field. As an example, Sirk had a 400-yard passing game this season. But the 6-foot-4 Duke transfer is a dual threat as he also leads his team in rushing. Sirk's favorite target is wide receiver Davon Grayson, who had one game this year in which he caught 11 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns.
The Cougar defense should be able to contain an anemic Pirate run game, but expect the porous Cougar pass defense to be challenged again. East Carolina should be able to pass the ball effectively and, as a result, put some points up against the BYU defense.
When the ball is kicked
Both special teams units are mediocre at best, so neither team should have the advantage in this category.
Projected score BYU 31, East Carolina 26
As bad as BYU's offense is, East Carolina's defense is worse, and that should be the difference in this one as BYU finally has its way offensively and puts some points on the board. If not, this BYU offense may never get better.