The East Carolina University (3-2, 0-1 AAC) football team will wear special black uniforms on Thursday night against Temple University (3-1, 0-0 AAC) inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. For the first time since 2017, the Pirates will enter the field donning all black uniforms after the team revealed the design earlier in the week.
Using new matte black helmets that ECU has been wearing in practice for much of the season, the design of the uniforms is similar to the Pirates’ other combinations. On the shoulders, there is an outline for a Pirate head, the same logo that will be present in full color on the helmets.
Player numbers will appear just above that logo with yellow piping. The black tops are trimmed with gold around the back of the neck and at the bottom of the sleeves. In the middle of the players’ chest and back, their number is in full gold with a gray trim, with the nameplate on the back being one of the only white pieces of the uniform.
“I haven’t worn a black jersey since - it’s been a long time,” senior defensive end Kendall Futrell said. “When ever we get to put it on, I just feel like it’s something special, it just brings something different.”
Sticking with the theme of the Pirates’ week-to-week jersey combinations, the “Paint It Black” pants will feature gold bones and swords in a cross pattern down the side of the players’ legs.
Accessories to the uniform will also be mostly black, as the reveal video on twitter suggests. Players will wear black gloves and cleats from Adidas with the choice of a helmet visor to match and make the uniform pop.
“Do I think it has a little bit of an impact on the players? Certainly. I think all of them enjoy some of those things,” head coach Mike Houston said about the uniforms. “I think our fans enjoy that stuff too. We’ve done different theme games at all of the different institutions I’ve been at in the past, so I do think it’s something that kind of gets people going.”
On Thursday night, the stage could not be much bigger for the Pirates, or the Owls for that matter. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN in prime time, adding an extra layer to the bright lights of Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium and the fans that will be in attendance.
“It brings a lot of energy, just knowing that everybody in the world will be watching in prime time ESPN on Thursday night,” sophomore wide receiver Blake Proehl said. “It’s something that you dream about coming to play football.”
While Houston and the coaching staff may not be completely convinced by the power of special, limited-time jerseys, the players couldn’t be happier to wear the new uniforms which will mark their fifth different combination worn this season.
In those uniforms, the Pirates are 3-2 for the first time in a handful of seasons, and are one win away from being 4-2 for the first time since 2013. A motivating factor behind last Saturday’s win over Old Dominion University (1-3, 0-0 C-USA) for the players was achieving that winning record and snapping the program’s historic struggles on the road.
“I think after the game, we were a little too juiced up running off the field and stuff. That’s what it’s about, having fun and putting smiles on our face, seeing our coaches happy,” Proehl said. “It’s something that we haven’t felt, especially since I’ve been here, so it’s awesome.”
Added to the Pirates’ already excited state is, of course, the special event on Thursday night on one of the biggest stages in college football. Against a good Temple team, the Pirates are slated to be underdogs at home, meaning they will have to perform up to their potential and beyond in order to walk away with a victory.
In what is sure to be a loud and rocking Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium on Thursday night, the Pirates will attempt to upset Temple, drawing on their momentum from last week’s road victory and whatever advantage the black jerseys might provide.
Kickoff between the Owls and Pirates is slated for 8 p.m. tonight.