Game Review: Virginia Tech Hokies vs. East Carolina Pirates
Final Score: Hokies 15 ECU 10; Attendance: Sellout – 50,096
Weather: 80’s and sunny, Ticket Price: $40, Face $60; Parking $15
“Aaarrgghh” by Tree
East Carolina’s stadium is fairly standard. It has one upper deck and an effective scoreboard. I say effective because the operator does a nice job of keeping the screen updated with stats. East Carolina fully embraces their Pirate nickname and have a number of traditions associated with that. There’s the flying of the Jolly Roger with 4th quarter special raising of the “Take no quarter” flag. They have a small cannon that they shoot when the score but that’s not very unusual. My son and I speculated that they would be better off with multiple cannons in a boat facade a la the Tampa Bay Bucs. The Pirate theme continues with simulated pirates hook with a crooked finger and a timely “aarrgh” after every first down. They also do a chant with crossed hands forming the “ok” sign when the opposing team is facing third down. I think that is supposed to be a simulated pirate skull and cross bones but I couldn’t be sure. My son was sporting all his Hokie colors and the ECU fans were very cordial.
The tailgating scene was robust as we walked our way to campus. The game was a sellout but we still managed to get tickets for $20 less than face. When we got to our seats, we talked to the folks sitting next to us and the said they had sold them to the scalper for $20 each. So basically, we split the difference assuming the original ticket holders paid face (which is pretty uncommon). We were still happy with seats at the top of the lower level, end zone corner. We were high enough that we had no blind spots. The concessions were crowded and a bit inefficient, but they also served nachos with pulled pork so it kind of evened out.
We had a long drive from Blacksburg to Greenville, N.C. and that made for an early start. It was a beautiful day which made the drive pretty easy. Getting to ECU’s stadium was simple enough. A couple of turns through Greenville and we parked at the old Masonic lodge for $15. We followed the crowds to the stadium and came right after the opening kickoff.
This was a back and forth game that was really closer than it should have been. The Hokies dominated the Pirates in nearly all categories, but they really struggled in the end zone. The real story was their kicker who finished the game with three straight missed kicks. First it was the PAT that left Tech only up by three. He then missed two field goals. It allowed ECU to stay in the game much longer than they should have been. Of course, the Tech offense could have also done a better job of punching it in. Give credit to the gritty Pirates for keeping it close but the Hokies made this game harder than it should have been.
We had hoped to get early enough to get some Carolina barbecue at B’s which came highly recommended. Unfortunately, we were running very late and missed our opportunity.
Although ECU is a southern school, it has more of country feel than a deep south feel. There were certainly some women sporting the “girls in pearls” look but more were sporting the daisy dukes and cowboy boots. In fact, as we were leaving my son and I couldn’t help but notice a young woman with an extremely short pair of cut-offs. The irony was that just the previous night a video on the internet had gone viral which highlighted a Dad wearing daisy dukes out in public in an attempt to shame his daughter into modifying her wardrobe. The parents of this young lady obviously had not seen the video. I knew it was bad when even a purple and yellow striped overhaul wearing ECU student expressed embarrassment at her ensemble. Even our modest standards preclude me from posting the picture I received from said ECU frat boy. I did however post it on twitter at tree@somanystadiums.
In summary, ECU is a good venue but not a great venue. It is a good environment but the football is not top level. I would wait for a marquee game or when the team is particular strong when planning a visit. And I would make sure to build in some time to get some barbecue.