A Southern Miss upset win at Central Florida has given ECU a hope for new life in the Conference USA East race.
Central Florida, ranked 25th nationally, took a 31-21 loss and now must close the season with road games at Tulane and Memphis.
The loss leaves George O’Leary’s team 5-1 in the league and 7-3 overall.
A 49-35 win by the Knights over ECU (5-1, 6-4) on Oct. 30 still gives them edge in a head-to-head tiebreaker should the two end in a tie.
ECU plays at Rice next week and closes its season in Greenville against Rice on Nov. 26.
The Pirates have won the past two league championships.