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Sirk avoids injury in ECU’s victory

BYU E Carolina Football

East Carolina's Thomas Sirk (10) accepts a snap from center during the first half of an NCAA college football game agains BYU on Saturday in Greenville.

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The (Greenville) Daily Reflector

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

East Carolina quarterback Thomas Sirk avoided a major injury to his throwing arm during Saturday night’s 33-17 homecoming victory against BYU.

The Pirates’ starter suffered what has now been ruled a triceps bruise. He is expected to participate in practices by the next few days during the team’s bye week.

“(The bruise) made it impossible for him to raise his arm or do anything with his arm the night of (the game),” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said Monday during the American Athletic Conference coaches teleconference. “But he has good range of motion right now and we’ll give him some rest over the next couple of days and he’ll basically be ready to go on Tuesday or Wednesday of this week. We’ll take a good look at him and make sure he’s back.

“The good news is he is OK.”

It was 16-10 ECU late in third quarter when Sirk was replaced by Gardner Minshew, who lofted a deep pass to Davon Grayson on his first snap and finished 6-of-9 for 121 yards and two touchdowns. Sirk was 14-of-21 for 177 yards and a rushing touchdown before exiting.

The victory dropped BYU to 1-7, gave East Carolina a 2-6 record and was a more thorough performance, according to Montgomery, than the 41-38 win at Connecticut on Sept. 24.

“Our players played outstanding together, and it’s the first real team victory we’ve had all-around on special teams, defense and offense,” Montgomery said. “I thought we had some major contributions with Jake Verity hitting some big-time field goals for us when we couldn’t get the ball into the end zone. … (Grayson) has been an outstanding player for us, and Thomas and Gardner played well in this game and went out and gave us a chance to be successful.”

Verity was named AAC special teams player of the week and one of three Lou Groza stars of the week. He made all four of his field goal attempts — twice from 42 yards and also makes of 33 and 32.

Streak stopped

Central Florida seems to be getting better with each passing week of the college football season.

The undefeated and 18th-ranked Knights (6-0, 4-0 AAC) pieced together probably their best win yet on Saturday, beating Navy 31-21 in Annapolis, Md. It stopped Navy’s 17-game home regular season winning streak and was the Midshipmen’s first-ever home American conference setback.

“We don’t lose often at home, but you have to tip your hat to UCF,” Navy coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “McKenzie Milton is as advertised as a dynamic quarterback, and they played well against our option. I was really impressed with them defensively.”

UCF nearly out-rushed Navy, the No. 1 rushing team in the country at 376.1 rush yards per game, as the Mids finished with a 248-247 edge on the ground.

SMU in OT, on road

Upstart SMU is 5-2 this season thanks in large part to a 4-0 home record.

The Mustangs’ lone road victory came Saturday when they won 31-28 at Cincinnati.

Former LSU Tiger Trey Quinn had 17 receptions for a career-high 186 yards — earning league offensive player of the week honors — for his third straight game with at least 15 catches. The visiting team also sealed the win in overtime on an interception by linebacker Kyran Mitchell.

SMU’s losses this year are against TCU (56-36) and Houston (35-22).

“I was really proud of our guys because I thought they did a great job of really finding a way (to win),” SMU coach Chad Morris said of the OT victory. “The possessions were limited and it was kind of a strange game in that regard. We’ve been averaging about 16 possessions a game, and we were right at 11.”

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