The East Carolina football team closed out its worst season since 2004 on Saturday with a 37-10 loss to American Athletic Conference East champion Temple in Philadelphia. The Pirates lost nine of their final 10 games after opening coach Scottie Montgomery’s rookie season with two straight victories. Their 3-9 record (1-7 AAC) is their worst since winning only two games in 2004. About the only bright spot on an otherwise forgettable night for ECU was yet another record performance by wide receiver Zay Jones. The Biletnikoff Award finalist caught only seven passes, tying his lowest single-game output of the season, for only 61 yards. But with his fifth catch of the night, on a two-yard pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew just before halftime, Jones surpassed the FBS season record of 155 catches set by Bowling Green’s Freddie Barnes in 2009. Jones, who last week set the FBS career receptions mark, finished the season with 158 catches and 399 for his career. As for the game, ECU got off to a fast start by driving 58 yards on 11 plays with the opening kickoff for a 7-0 lead on a 13-yard pass from Minshew to Jimmy Williams. Temple (9-3, 7-1) answered right back with a touchdown on its opening possession. The game remained tied until Owls’ running back Ryquell Armstead scored the second of his two rushing touchdowns with 2:07 remaining in the half. Fifty-eight seconds later, after a Minshew fumble, Temple scored again on a short Jahad Thomas to go into halftime with a 21-7 lead. Thomas finished the game with 152 yards rushing for the Owls, who will take on West Division champion Navy for the AAC title next week. ECU, meanwhile, managed only 225 total yards, less than half of its season average of 489 per game while managing only a 41-yard Davis Plowman field goal in the second half. Minshew finished 21 of 34 for 183 yards and a touchdown passing. Senior James Summers led the Pirates with 52 yards rushing in his final college game.
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