- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

SMU (0-4) at No. 22 EAST CAROLINA (3-1), noon ET (ESPNU)

Line: ECU by 41.

Series Record: Tied 2-2.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

After wins against Atlantic Coast Conference programs Virginia Tech and North Carolina, the Pirates are back in the Top 25 for the first time since 2008 as they make their American Athletic Conference debut against the struggling Mustangs.

KEY MATCHUP

SMU’s defense versus East Carolina’s offense. The Pirates are coming off a game in which they scored 70 points and racked up a program-record 789 yards against the Tar Heels. They lead the AAC in every major offensive category, while SMU ranks last in scoring, rushing and total defense. If the Mustangs have any hope of an upset, they have to make the Pirates’ attack at least pump the brakes.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

SMU: RB Kevin Pope. On an offense averaging just 207 yards per game, the senior runner has a team-high 30 carries for 101 yards. If Pope can find any success on the ground, it might help the defense by keeping the Pirates’ high-scoring offense on the sideline.

ECU: RB Breon Allen. The senior ran for 211 yards and two touchdowns against UNC, the best rushing day by a Pirates player since 2007. While Pirates coach Ruffin McNeill says his team has a committee with Chris Hairston and Marquez Grayson, Allen is sitting in the lead role for now. Another big day against SMU could keep him there.

FACTS & FIGURES

East Carolina leads the AAC in scoring (43.2 points), total offense (581.5 yards), rushing offense (189.5 yards) and passing offense (392 yards) while ranking second in passing efficiency. … SMU has scored a total of 12 points in four games this season with two shutout losses. … The Mustangs are allowing 50.5 points and 551 yards per game. … The Pirates are coming off a bye week, while the Mustangs lost 56-0 last week against TCU.

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