East Carolina uses 4th-quarter push to down Ohio in St. Pete
St. Petersburg, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Vintavious Cooper rushed for a career and bowl record 198 yards and scored a pair of touchdowns on 25 attempts, leading East Carolina to a 37-20 decision over Ohio in the Beef O'Brady's Bowl.
Shane Carden threw for 273 yards and a score on 29-of-45 throws and also caught a TD pass for the Pirates (10-3), who reached double digits in wins for the second time in program history thanks to their first bowl victory since the 2007 Hawaii Bowl.
Breon Allen added a rushing score, Justin Hardy recorded 66 yards on nine receptions and Cam Worthy added a touchdown grab for the victors from Conference USA.
Tyler Tettleton and Derrius Vick each threw a touchdown pass for the Bobcats (7-6). Tettleton finished 21-of-40 for 228 yards with a connection to Dazmond Patterson, while Vick found Donte Foster for an 80-yard strike.
Foster ended up with a game-high 160 yards on six catches in defeat.
Ohio could have gone up by six, but Josiah Yazdani failed to convert a 45-yard attempt, pushing it wide left with 11:08 to play, and East Carolina moved fast to take the lead for good on its next touch. A defensive pass interference call on an incompletion to Bryce Williams gave the Pirates the ball at the Bobcats' 31, and Cooper took the next snap into the end zone for a 24-20 Pirates edge.
The Bobcats failed to pick up a first down on their following series, then ECU gave itself some breathing room thanks to some trickery, when Carden outleaped a defender to come down with a Worthy pass and 14-yard score to make it 31-20 with 7:29 to play.
Tettleton was picked off on each of Ohio's next two touches, with the second leading to Cooper's 22-yard TD run that accounted for the final margin.
East Carolina capitalized on its second drive as Carden hit Worthy for a 5- yard score, then took a 14-0 advantage with 27 seconds left in the opening quarter on a 2-yard scamper by Allen.
The Bobcats got on the board early in the second on Tettleton's 17-yard strike to Patterson, then tied the game on their next series when Vick found Foster behind the ECU defense for an 80-yard TD pass.
The Pirates led 17-14 at halftime, thanks to a 41-yard make from Warren Harvey.
Yazdani booted a 29-yarder and Ohio drew even on its second series of the second half, and he was good again from 28 yards away with 13:34 on the clock to give the Bobcats a 20-17 edge.
East Carolina finished the 1991 campaign with an 11-1 record, which included a 37-34 win over North Carolina State in the Peach Bowl ... ECU improved to 6-8 in bowl action, while Ohio fell to 2-6 ... Patterson gained 77 yards on six receptions for the Bobcats ... The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of total offense, with ECU racking up 568.
12/23 19:23:36 ET