Houston vs. East Carolina final score: Cougars fall in deep early hole, lose 48-28

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Houston fell behind by 28 points early on Sunday, and could never recover in the second half against ECU.

The East Carolina Pirates scored the game's first 28 points Saturday en route to a convincing 48-28 victory over the Houston Cougars in a Conference USA contest at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. The win helped the Pirates improve their record to 6-4 overall (5-1 C-USA) and become bowl eligible for the sixth time in seven seasons. The Cougars fell to 4-5 overall and are now 3-2 in Conference-USA play.

ECU sophomore quarterback Shane Carden threw all four of his touchdown passes in the first half, helping the Pirates take a commanding 28-7 lead into halftime.

His last touchdown pass was a eight-yard reception to Reese Wiggins that capped a 15-play, 87-yard drive, which ended with 48 seconds to go in the first half.

Houston was able to trim the margin to 28-14 after quarterback David Piland found Larry McDuffey for a 10-yard touchdown with 10:27 to go in the third quarter.

However, ECU answered with two field goals by kicker Warren Harvey to push its lead to 34-14 with 12:44 to go in the game.

The advantage would prove to be too much for the Cougars to overcome.

Box Score Hero: Carden was 31-for-43 for 305 passing yards with four touchdowns and an interception. Carden also added 30 rushing yards on six carries.

Rankings Ramifications: The game's result had no ramifications on the top 25 rankings, but did help ECU remain in the hunt for the C-USA East Division crown.

But Did They Cover? The Pirates were 3-point underdogs coming in and covered the spread by winning outright. However, the over/under of 68.5 was not covered.

Next Week's Schedule: Houston will host the Tulsa Golden Hurricane (5 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network) while ECU will have a bye week.

This article originally appeared on SB Nation.

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