GREENVILLE, N.C. — Shane Carden and Justin Hardy have been the focus of East Carolina's high-powered offense the past few seasons. Fittingly, they led the No. 22 Pirates into a new league Saturday with another big performance.
In the program's first American Athletic Conference game, Carden threw for 410 yards and four touchdowns and became the school's all-time passing leader in a 45-24 win against SMU. Hardy had three touchdowns receiving in a game for the first time and continued his pursuit of the all-time Division I-A receptions record.
Carden, a fifth-year senior who was part of coach Ruffin McNeill's first recruiting class in 2010, set the career passing yardage record midway through the third quarter for the Pirates, who finished with 581 yards.
"They announced it I think way too early," Carden said. "They were announcing it and everybody was like, 'Man, congrats.' I was like, 'Just stop, let's go score right here. Let's finish this game.' "
East Carolina led 21-0 but the Pirate defense never looked sharp against an SMU offense that had scored 12 points all season.
Carden broke former NFL quarterback David Garrard's school record of 9,029 yards (set from 1998-2001); Carden has 9,134. Hardy had eight catches and needs 47 catches to pass Oklahoma's Ryan Broyles for the I-A career mark of 349.
Colorado St. 42, Tulsa 17: Rashard Higgins hauled in a career-high four touchdowns, including a 73-yarder, to lead the host Rams. Higgins had six catches for 178 yards, another career high and Dee Hart ran for 143 yards on 11 carries and two touchdowns for Colorado State. Dane Evans led Tulsa with 222 yards passing and punched in a touchdown from the 1 to put the Golden Hurricane, in their final nonconference game this season, on the board in the second quarter.
Memphis 41, Cincinnati 14: Paxton Lynch threw for two touchdowns and ran for two more for the visiting Tigers. Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel hurt his ribs on the last play of the first half and went for X-rays, sidelining him for the rest of the game.