(Photo by BYU Graphics)
PROVO, Utah — BYU and East Carolina today announced a home-and-home football series slated for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.
The Cougars will open the series in 2017 on the road at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, N.C., and will then host the Pirates at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo in 2018.
“We’re excited about this series with East Carolina. It allows both schools to have a unique travel experience and play very good competition,” BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe said. “Our football team has never played in North Carolina, so I’m excited that BYU fans in that part of the country will have an opportunity to see our team play in person.”
The ECU football program began in 1932 and competed as a Division I-A independent from 1978 until accepting C-USA membership in 1997. The Pirates earned back-to-back C-USA championships in 2008 and 2009. Overall ECU has appeared in 17 bowl games and ended three campaigns ranked in the top 25. Despite having 25 players start their first career games in 2011, the Pirates rebounded from a 1-4 start to finish at 5-7 and narrowly missed making their sixth-straight bowl appearance.
“BYU’s national athletic profile and the beauty of the campus and surrounding area make both of these games ones that every Pirate will want to see — here in Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium as well as at LaVell Edwards Stadium,” ECU Director of Athletics Terry Holland said. “This series will provide first-class football and terrific sportsmanship for all Pirate and Cougar fans. This is a relationship that we would like to continue in the future, possibly with competitions in other sports.”
BYU is coming off its first season as a football independent in 2011 with a 10-3 record and a 24-21 victory over Tulsa in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The Cougars finished the year ranked No. 25 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, earning a spot in the final top-25 poll for the fifth time in the last six seasons.
The Cougars began playing football in 1922. In 87 seasons BYU has earned 23 conference titles and appeared in 30 bowl games, winning five of its last six bowl appearances. The Cougars won the National Championship in 1984.
The series will feature two programs that have ranked among the top three in average attendance outside automatic-qualifying Bowl Championship Series (BCS) conference members for the past two seasons. BYU (26th overall) and East Carolina (40th) drew 60,265 and 50,012 fans per game last fall, respectively, trailing only Notre Dame's mark of 80,795.
Additional details including broadcast plans, game times and ticket information will be released at a later date.