ECU Downs Tar Heels, 41-19 (2018-09-09 14:19:41)

GREENVILLE, N.C. — Freshman quarterback Holton Ahlers ran for two of East Carolina's four rushing touchdowns while Reid Herring threw for another score as the Pirates beat North Carolina 41-19 on Saturday.

Herring threw for 290 yards while directing a turnover-free performance for ECU (1-1), which was coming off a dispiriting home loss to Championship Subdivision opponent North Carolina A&T. That increased the pressure on third-year coach Scottie Montgomery to show progress after 19 losses in 25 games — enough so that Montgomery noted this week's game was "very critical for our coaching career."

His team responded in an emotional in-state matchup, while the Tar Heels (0-2) offered another display of bad penalties and offensive struggles.

Jordon Brown ran for UNC's only touchdown, while Freeman Jones kicked four field goals. But the Tar Heels converted 5 of 16 third downs and managed 35 yards of third-quarter offense as the Pirates stretched a 21-19 halftime lead.

"We're 0-2, it's early in the season, our kids will keep fighting," UNC coach Larry Fedora said. "Our coaches will keep coaching and we'll get things going in the right direction."

UNC: The Tar Heels play their home opener against No. 19 UCF, which was unbeaten last year, next Saturday.
ECU: The Pirates play another ACC team, traveling to No. 12 Virginia Tech next Saturday