HOME SWEET HOMECOMING: Football Downs N.C. Central, 42-28
By ODU Athletics
Nov. 7, 2009
NORFOLK, Va. -- Redshirt sophomore quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) set new records Saturday at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium as the Monarchs defeated North Carolina Center, 42-28, on Homecoming in front of the stadium's seventh sellout crowd.
DeMarco carried the ball for 244 yards on the day, all but 56 of the Monarchs' 281 rushing yards and became the first Monarch to run for over 200 yards. The Palm Desert, California native also scored four of ODU's six touchdowns, including three straight to open the game and give the Monarchs a 28-0 lead at the half.
The win improves the start-up ODU program to 8-2 on the year, one of the best FCS inaugural seasons in history. Coastal Carolina played to a 6-5 record their first season in 2003, while Robert Morris completed their first season with a 7-1-1 mark in 1994. The Monarchs also close out their first season at Foreman Field with a 6-1 mark.
North Carolina Central, a fellow independent, meanwhile has their two-game win streak come to a halt and falls to 2-7 overall.
While the Monarchs didn't score on the first drive, which has been the custom much of the 2009 season, it was ODU's second drive of the game that got the Monarchs onto the scoreboard. On the first play from scrimmage, DeMarco took off for 25 yards and pretty much kept running all afternoon long.
DeMarco put ODU up 14-0 late in the opening quarter with a 38-yard carry and then extended the Monarchs lead to 21-0 midway through the second quarter with a 20-yard run.
The Monarch quarterback wasn't the only one getting into the mix. Scoring in the third quarter came from rookie running back Mario Crawford (Detriot, Mich.). Crawford's sixth end zone run of the year capped off ODU's nine-play, 80 yard drive and put the Monarchs ahead 28-0 at the 8:11 mark.
What looked like a runaway for the Monarchs, however, turned into a tight game. The Eagles rattled off four answered touchdowns and turned a 28-0 deficit into a tie game with 10:41 left.
North Carolina Central started their comeback attempt by breaking on the scoreboard late in third quarter. Earthan Ward used a 13-yard reception to start the Eagle rally. Then went ODU was unable to move the chains and was forced to punt, North Carolina Central's next drive, strattling the third and fourth quarters, resulted in another score. Will Scott used a 20-yard catch and before long, Scott was back in the end zone. After Scott's first touchdown catch, the Monarchs were once again unable to move down the field. A seven-play, 76-yard drive by the Eagles, capped by a 12-yard Scott catch, saw North Carolina Central pulling ever so closer to the Monarchs advantage and trailed just 28-21 with 11:13.
The Eagles got the ball back two plays later when Calvin Hillie intercepted one of DeMarco's passed and got to the Monarchs' three-yard line. On the next play, Tim Shankle took the ball over the endline and the game was tied at 28-28 with 10:41 left in the game.
The Monarchs immediately responded. DeMarco connected with Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) for a 34-yard yard catch and the Monarchs were back on top.
DeMarco added in his fourth and final touchdown run with 4:05 left in the contest, giving him the most touchdowns by a Monarch this season. To date, the Monarch signal caller has registered 14 rushing touchdowns and thrown for 19.
Defensively, Old Dominion saw Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan.) and Jason Fuller (Va. Beach, Va.) each capture seven tackles. For McJunkins, it was the sixth time leading the Monarchs in the category. Fuller, ODU's lone senior on the roster, made his first start at tackle against the Eagles.
Old Dominion will have a much needed week off before gearing up for its final game of the 2009 season. The Monarchs will travel to VMI to meet the Keydets on Saturday, November 21st. Kickoff is slated for 1:30 p.m.
12TH MONARCHS SELLOUT THE SEASON:
With Homecoming tickets vs. North Carolina Central sold out Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium has officially SOLD OUT all seven games of the 2009 season making Old Dominion football one of the highest attended FCS teams in the nation. Thanks to all the 12th Monarchs!!!
ODU's start-up program has just one senior on the roster. Jason Fuller (Va. Beach, Va.) made his first start on Saturday and tied for the team leader in tackles with seven stops. On the season, the Monarchs' first FBS transfer has made 27 tackles.
Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) becomes the first Monarch to rush for over 200. He surpases the previous season-high of 145 yards by Desmond Williams. DeMarco nearly usurped that record last weekend, missing the record by just one yard, when he posted 144 rushing yards against Georgetown.
The four rushing touchdowns captured Saturday by Thomas DeMarco are the most by the Monarchs this season. DeMarco reset his own record, which was three TDs in games against Jacksonville and Georgetown.
WHEN NOT MOVING THE CHAINS:
When not moving the chains, the Monarchs are looking to Jonthan Plisco for the punt. Plisco, who entered tonight's game No. 2 in the nation in the category, booted the ball tonight for an average of 46.0 yards, including a long of 55 and a 49-yarder that put the ball on the North Carolina Central one.
Being "Loud and Proud" resulted in six penalties for the Eagles Saturday afternoon and 41 total this season.
NEED A FOOTBALL FIX?:
While the Monarchs may be on break this week, don't forget you can still join us at Buffalo Wild Wings for the Coors Light Bobby Wilder Coaches' Show at the Red Mill location on Thursday night.