GREENVILLE — East Carolina recorded 390 total yards and forced three turnovers as the Pirates defeated Appalachian State 35-13 at home Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
Rio Johnson threw for 242 yards and Michael Dobson added 78 yards rushing for the Pirates, who have won 32 of their last 37 games when scoring 30 or more points.
Appalachian State cut the deficit to 14-13 with 2:35 left in the third quarter. However, East Carolina's Lance Ray returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown and Johnson threw for a TD and ran for another in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
The Pirates defense, led by Jeremy Grove, held the Mountaineers to just 4 of 15 on third down conversions. Grove finished with nine tackles and forced two fumbles.
Jamal Jackson led Appalachian State with 300 yards passing but his lone interception ended the Mountaineers' rally attempt.