ECU holds on for a win over Old Dominion

East Carolina’s Blake Proehl gets behind the Old Dominion defense for a 72-yard touchdown during the Pirates’ win in Norfolk, Va. (L. Todd Spencer / The Virginian-Pilot via AP)

NORFOLK, Va. — Warren Saba blocked a punt for a touchdown, Holton Ahlers passed for two more and East Carolina held off Old Dominion 24-21 Saturday night.

Each team scored a field goal on its first possession, but the tide began to turn when Saba blocked a Bailey Cate punt and recovered the ball for a four-yard touchdown.

A series later, Cate pinned the Pirates (3-2) back at the 4 with a 49-yard punt. Demetrius Mauney tore off a 21-yard run to kick off the 96-yard scoring march. Ahlers teamed with Blake Proehl on a 72-yard TD for a 17-3 halftime lead. The 14-point lead is ECU’s largest after a half against an FBS team since the 2015 season.

Old Dominion’s (1-3) Kesean Strong dove across from the 1 — he also picked up the two-point conversion — with 2:13 remaining as the Monarchs cut the gap to 24-21.

ECU was able to run out the clock in four plays for the win and also snap a 10-game road losing streak that began in the 2017 season.