Congratulations, 2009 Conference USA champions

 CUSA Champs 2009 Thumb

With Saturday’s exhilarating 38–32 win over the University of Houston Cougars at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium, the East Carolina Pirates made history by becoming the first team to claim back-to-back Conference USA titles since the conference moved to a divisional structure in 2005.

The Pirates (9–4) relied on stout defense and an incredible home-field advantage to stymie Houston’s (10–3) high-powered offense, which came into Saturday’s championship game leading the nation in scoring with 44.9 points per game. The Pirates harassed Houston quarterback Case Keenum all day, sacking him twice and forcing three interceptions.

ECU flashed some offensive fireworks as well, with four rushing touchdowns and a great game from MVP Dwayne Harris. The junior wide receiver caught nine passes for 123 yards and a touchdown. He also had a 69-yard kick off return that set up the Pirate’s first score.

The exclamation point on a memorable season, Saturday’s victory assured Skip Holtz and company a return to the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee, on January 2, 2010, where the Pirates will face the University of Arkansas.

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