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

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

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

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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