East Carolina looks to get back over .500 for the initial time since 2016 and win its first road since 2017 when it takes on Old Dominion on Saturday in Virginia. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. inside S.B. Ballard Stadium. 

As we do every game day, it's time to give our Hoist The Colours staff predictions. Publisher Stephen Igoe and writers Sam Anderson and Jonathan Wagner weigh in below. Igoe and Wagner will be covering Saturday's game live from Norfolk.

JONATHAN WAGNER

ECU is looking to get above .500 for the first time since the 2016 season, where they defeated Western Carolina and NC State to start 2-0. Overall, I think that we are going to have a pretty close game. Old Dominion's defense has the advantage of having former ECU defensive coordinator David Blackwell on the staff. Blackwell will have the ODU defense prepared to face off against Holton Ahlers, and because of this, I believe that Ahlers will have a slow first half. ODU's quarterback, Stone Smartt, hasn't quite found his stride passing the ball thus far. Both passing offenses could struggle in this game, and ECU's new-look rushing attack will be key. Trace Christian and Tay Williams had big breakout games last week, and they will need to be able to get it going again to take some pressure off of Ahlers.

I think that we will have a low scoring game at halftime, and that ODU will lead. I think that both offenses will strike on some big plays in the second half, and it will be a little higher scoring than the first half. Overall, I just can't trust ECU on the road as it is 1-17 in the last 18 games away from home. Ahlers will need to have a big game through the air if ECU wants a chance in this one, and I'm not sure that I trust that to happen. Last year ECU defeated ODU 37-35 in a nail-biting game. This year, I think the score will yet again be close, but just lower scoring. 

ODU 24, ECU 20

SAM ANDERSON

This game is going to be close as both teams are hungry for a win. ECU is coming off a close win against William & Mary and Old Dominion is coming off a 28-17 loss against Virginia where the Monarchs were shutout in the second half. The Monarch will be hungry to avenge last season's loss but the Pirates will be looking to lock in win number three on the season and first win on the road in two years. 

The big key for the Pirates is can they score on their first drive? And I think they will. ODU will be sending a ton of blitzes to force Ahlers to get the ball out quick and test the offensive line. The Monarchs will hold a slight halftime lead of 14-10. The Pirates will come out firing in the second half and so will the Monarchs, as both teams will put up a decent amount of points in the second half. Jake Verity will be a key for the Pirates like he was last season when these two teams meet. 

ECU 27 ODU 24

STEPHEN IGOE

These two teams are honestly pretty similar heading into Saturday's game. Both offenses have yet to hit their strides, while the defenses have been solid. You always hear turnovers and special teams can make or break teams in tight, competitive, low-scoring contests, and I think this will absolutely be the case this weekend. I do think Old Dominion has taken a step forward from last year's game talent-wise with all the transfer additions, but East Carolina should have a slightly more talented team on Saturday. That said, the Pirates will have to execute at a much higher level than they have been to come out on the road in a tough environment with a win. Before the season, I had this game penciled in as a victory. And while I wouldn't be surprised to see ECU leave town with a 3-2 record this weekend, this team still has a lot to prove. Given the Pirates' lack of success on the road and offensive chemistry problems we've seen thus far, I need to see them overcome those issues before I can confidently pick them to win away from Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

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