NC State, East Carolina renew heated football rivalry in Greenville

In-state rivals differ on importance of pivotal matchup for both teams.

The North State Journal—The North State Journal
William & Mary linebacker Arman Jones (37) tackles North Carolina State running back Matthew Dayes (21) during the second half of the college football game on Thursday

East Carolina and NC State have bad blood on the gridiron. This Saturday, they’ll finally get to renew one of the oldest rivalries in the state.Since 1970, East Carolina and NC State have faced off 28 times. The Wolfpack hold a 16-12 lead in the series, but the gap has been narrowed with the Pirates winning seven of the last 12 matchups. In their last game, ECU dismantled State in Carter-Finley Stadium, 42-28, in Dave Doeren’s first season.Bradley Chubb, now NC State’s defensive leader, wasn’t a part of that team. While he knows the history of the rivalry, Chubb and the defensive line are approaching the East Carolina matchup like any other game.”It shouldn’t be that big of a challenge. You’ve got to take every game one-by-one,” Chubb said. “We’re going to prepare the same. Nothing’s going to change because one was Double-A and one’s not. They’re just a nameless opponent and you’ve got to prepare the same way and continue to fight.”(Editor’s note: The above quote from Chubb previously included the phrase “they shouldn’t be that big of a challenge.” It has since been edited to reflect the full quote. We apologize for the error.)ECU might be on the outside looking in for a Power Five conference spot, but its success in the state of North Carolina has been well noted. The Pirates have four straight total victories over North Carolina and NC State combined since 2010.In order for Chubb to live up to words, he’ll have to find a way to limit Anthony Scott. The junior tailback put together the best performance of his college career against Western Carolina, accounting for 210 total yards and three touchdowns.”You really can’t sleep on anybody because that can sneak up on you,” Scott said. “The underdog will always find a way to win. I would never come out sleeping on anybody.”Similar to Scott, Matt Dayes was waiting on his opportunity to take on a lead role prior to last season. Finally getting his shot, he missed the final five games of last season due to a foot injury.After posting 12 touchdowns in his first seven games prior to the injury, Dayes picked up right where he left off against William & Mary. His two touchdowns and 156 total yards against the Tribe would have been higher had he not been pulled with a commanding lead in the fourth quarter.During his freshman season, Dayes witnessed the drubbing ECU handed State. Finally getting his shot to face ECU as a lead back, he isn’t playing down the importance of Saturday’s showdown.”We remember what they did to us, so we’re going to try and return the favor this weekend,” Dayes said. “We don’t have to explain to the team how important this game is. Everyone kind of knows. We’re trying to go undefeated at home. That’s the main priority now.”