SECOND ROUND: Old Dominion vs. Georgia Southern

November 29, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 29, 2011


Game Thirteen: 
Saturday, December 3, 2011 - 1:00 (EST)
Allen E. Paulson Stadium - Statesboro, Georgia
#10/10 Old Dominion Monarchs (10-2, 6-2 CAA) vs.
#3/2 Georgia Southern Eagles (9-2, 7-1 SoCon)

INTERNET:  ESPN3 (Doug Bell - Play-by-Play; John Bunting - Color Analyst) 

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CAA Weekly Teleconference Audio: Available at the CAA Press Box at

SoCon Weekly Teleconference Audio:  Available at

Bobby Wilder Weekly Press Conference Video: Available on Monarch Media

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• Old Dominion enters Saturday's game after a 35-18 first round playoff victory over crosstown rival Norfolk State last Saturday.   The Monarchs are currently riding a five-game win streak.   

• The Monarchs will be a Top Ten program for the third straight week.  Old Dominion is No. 10 in The Sports Network/ poll for the second consecutive week and fell back a spot to No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll despite a bye week.

• Old Dominion restarted its football program in 2009 after a 69-year absence and in its three years has compiled an 27-7 overall mark as the best start-up in FCS history.

• Old Dominion went 9-2 in its inaugural season, 8-3 in 2010, and currently stands at 10-2 this season with victories over Campbell, Georgia State, Hampton, #20 UMass, Rhode Island, Villanova,  #9/10 James Madison, Richmond, and William & Mary in the regular season and a first round playoff victory over Norfolk State last weekend.

• After playing two years as an independent in the FCS, the Monarchs joined the CAA, considered by many to be the best FCS conference in the nation.   After no selection on the preseason all-conference team and picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, Old Dominion tied for second in league play with a 6-2 CAA record and had 11 Monarchs honored on All-CAA teams announced on Monday highlighted by CAA Defensive Player of the Year Ronnie Cameron.

• Five of the CAA's 11 programs are in the post-season, the most of any conference - James Madison defeated  Eastern Kentucky in other first round action and will play at North Dakota State in round two.  New Hampshire, Maine, and Towson all received byes.  The Wildcats face Montana State, Towson hosts Lehigh, and Maine is on the road at Appalachian State in second round action.

• Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium continues to be the place to be in Hampton Roads on Saturdays.  The Monarchs' 21 home games, all have been sellouts.  While the last two season's have averaged 19,782, additional seating has brought Foreman Field's capacity to 19,818.  ODU is currently sixth in average attendance through Week 13. 

• As a team through Week 13, the Monarchs are ranked in the Top 20 nationally in Net Punting (9th - 37.69), Scoring Offense (10th - 35.75), Sacks (11th - 3.00), Turnover Margin (13th - 1.00) Rushing Defense (16th - 115.92), Total Offense (17th - 429.17), and Passing Efficiency (18th - 147.91), 

• Individually in the national stats this season Jonathan Plisco ranks second in Punting (46.12) and cornerback Eriq Lewis is tied for sixth in Interceptions (0.50)

VOTE FOR WILDER:  There are numerous post-season coaches' awards, but only a few that are determined by fans. For the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, winning is only part of the equation. Created in 2006, the award recognizes one college football coach from each NCAA division (I-FBS, I-FCS, II and III), rewarding them for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence. Winners will receive $50,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, a $20,000 grant to each school's alumni association and the Coach of the Year trophy. Go to Bobby Wilder, the head coach of the greatest startup program in FCS history. 

All-Time Vs. Georgia Southern: First Meeting

THE TRIPLE OPTION:  This will be the third time the Monarchs will face a triple option team.  ODU first saw the triple option in its 2009 season finale at VMI exiting Lexington, Virginia with a 42-35 victory after the Keydets ran for 422 yards.  Last season, the Monarchs fell at home to nationally-ranked Cal Poly, 50-37, as the Mustangs ran the ball for 326 yards.

The Eagles are currently second in the nation in rushing offense average 318.73 yards per game.

THE OLD AND THE NEW:  While the Monarchs are making their first NCAA Division I Championship playoff appearance, the Eagles have quite a bit of experience.  Georgia Southern is the all-time winningest team in the FCS playoffs with a 41-11 record having brought home the national title six times - 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, & 2000.

RISING UP THE RANKS:  It took the ODU Football Monarchs until year three and 27 games to receive its first Top 25 ranking on October 3, 2011 coming in at No. 21 in The Sports Network Poll.  Looking at other recent start-up programs, it took Coastal Carolina 32 games to achieve a national ranking when they came in at No. 24 in The Sports Network Poll in their third year on Nov. 8, 2005.  That season the Chanticleers finished 9-2 and were the Big South co-champions.  

WELCOME TO THE TOP 25:  When the ODU Football Monarchs take the field on Saturday at Georgia Southern, it will be as a nationally-ranked team in both The Sports Network/ and FCS Coaches Polls for the eighth consecutive week and as a member of the Top Ten for the third straight week. 


Sports Network:     Coaches:
Week One:      RV      NR    
Week Two: RV NR
Week Three: RV NR
Week Four: RV RV
Week Five: RV RV
Week Six: 21 RV
Week Seven: 18 22
Week Eight: 21 22
Week Nine: 15 16
Week Ten: 12 12
Week Eleven: 11 11
Week Twelve: 10 9
Post Season 10 10

In another first for the ODU Football program, the Monarchs were ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in school history coming in at No. 21 nine weeks ago in The Sports Network/ FCS Top-25 College Football Poll following a 48-33 win over then-#20 UMass, the Monarchs first ever Top 25 victory.  Following ODU's 31-23 victory over Rhode Island the next weekend, ODU made its FCS Coaches Poll debut during week seven coming in at No. 22.  ODU steadily moved up the ranks until it cracked the Top Ten at the conclusion of the season with a 35-31 win at nearby William & Mary to end the regular season on a four-game win streak and a 9-2 overall and a 6-2 record in its inaugural season of CAA play. 

WHAT DOES THE CRYSTAL BALL HAVE IN STORE FOR THE WINNER?:  The winner of the Old Dominion-Georgia Southern second round game will face the winner of the match-up between Appalachian State and Maine.  Should the Monarchs advance, the NCAA committee will decide the host site on Sunday. 

ADDING FOOTBALL:  Old Dominion is just one of a handful of programs that have brought football to their campuses the last few years.  Here are some recent start-up programs:

School: Conference: Year Starting:
Georgia State CAA 2010 (enters CAA in 2011)
Lamar Southland 2010
South Alabama       FCS - Independent     2010
FBS - Sun Belt      2014
UT-San Antonio FCS - Independent 2011
FBS - Sunbelt 2014
Charlotte FCS - TBA 2013
Mercer Pioneer 2013
Stetson Pioneer 2013

START-UP SUCCESS:  Here is a look at schools that have started football programs over the last few years:

School: Year Started: First Season Record:
South Alabama           2010 10-0*
Old Dominion 2009 9-2
Robert Morris 1994 7-1-1
Coastal Carolina 2003 6-5
Georgia State 2010 6-5
FIU 1997 5-6
South Florida 2001 4-6
UT-San Antonio 2011 4-6
Lamar 2010 5-6
Florida Atlantic 2001 4-6
Jacksonville 1998 4-5
Bryant 1999 3-6
Campbell 2008 1-10

(* - Six games against non-Division I opponents)


School: Second Year: Second Season Record:
Coastal Carolina          2004 10-1
Old Dominion 2010 8-3
South Florida 1998 8-3
Robert Morris 1995 6-4
Bryant 2000 5-5
Campbell 2009 3-8
Georgia State 2011 3-8
Jacksonville 1999 3-6
Florida Atlantic 2002 2-9
FIU 2003 2-10


School: Third Year: Third Season Record:
Old Dominion  2011 9-2 (PLAYOFFS)
Coastal Carolina         2005 9-2
South Florida 1999 7-4
Robert Morris 1996 9-2
Bryant 2001 7-2
Bryant 2001 7-2
Campbell 2010 3-8
Jacksonville 2000 3-8
Florida Atlantic 2003 11-3
FIU 2004 3-7

START-UPS IN THE POST-SEASON:  How have recent start-ups fared in the post-season.  The bench mark of the FCS has been Coastal Carolina, which made its first playoff appearance in year number four falling 42-28 to Appalachian State in the first round of the FCS playoffs in 2006.  Robert Morris, who started their program in 2001 played for nine seasons before winning the inaugural NEC title in 2010 to head to the post-season.  The Colonials fell to North Dakota State, 43-17 in the first round last season.

Other recent start-ups have gone from the FCS (or I-AA level) to FBC status and reached bowl games.  Florida Atlantic, who played at the FCS level from 2003-2006, went to the New Orleans Bowl in its second season of FBS status where they defeated Memphis, 44-27.  FIU, who also started at FCS status when they began their program in 2004, reached the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl last season in their fifth year as an FBC school where won against Toledo, 34-32. 

S.B. BALLARD STADIUM - A POPULAR PLACE:  Old Dominion's home field of Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium has sold out all 21 of its games to date.  Last Saturday's total attendance of the Old Dominion-Norfolk State first round game surpassed the total attendance of the three other first round games combined. 

Old Dominion vs. Norfolk State - 19,818 

Combined attendance of three other FCS playoff games = 16,789 

James Madison at Eastern Kentucky - 2,388

Albany at Stony Brook - 8,286

Central Arkansas at Tennessee Tech - 6,115

EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD FINALIST LIST: Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder is among the 20 finalists announced last Monday for the 25th Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the national coach of the year in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The winner of the Robinson Award, presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by, will be announced at the national awards banquet on Friday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.  A panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the Robinson Award winner.

JERRY RICE WATCH LIST:  True freshman quarterback Taylor Heinicke was added to the Jerry Rice Watch list prior to the Monarchs' kick with Richmond in week ten.

The Rice Award will honor the outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision. The legendary Rice, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State, will present the award at the national awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.  

Since taking over as the Monarchs' signal caller at halftime of week five against UMass, Heinicke  has passed for 2039 yards completing 186 of his 263 attempts with just one interception (Towson).  He has earned CAA Rookie of the Week three times this season and was named Third Team All-CAA.

Cornerback Eriq Lewis was also a member of the Jerry Rice Watch List earlier in the season being among the first freshman named to the awards' first ever initial list of potential Freshmen of the Year.  Lewis missed three games with a high ankle sprain, but recently returned in the Monarchs' regular season finale with William & Mary to earn ODU's first ever CAA Defensive Player of the Week honoros as his two pivotal interceptions during the Tribe's final two drives helped seal a 35-31 victory for the Football Monarchs.

WELCOME TO THE CAA:  Entering its inaugural season in the CAA, the ODU Football Monarchs were picked 10th in the conference's Preseason Poll announced at CAA Football Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland and no Monarchs were named to an preseason all-conference team.


1.  William and Mary (12) 

2.  James Madison (4)

3.  Delaware (2) 

4.  New Hampshire (2)

5.  Massachusetts (1)

6.  Richmond

7.  Villanova

8.  Rhode Island (1) 

9.  Maine

10.  Old Dominion

11.  Towson

FAST FOWARDING FROM CAA MEDIA DAY: Who believes those preseason predictions anyway?  The Football Monarchs predicted to finish 10th in the league in the preseason poll finished in a tie for second in the league.  And after having no Monarchs named to the preseason all-conference teams, Old Dominion had 11 Monarchs named All-Conference highlighted by CAA Defensive Player of the Year Ronnie Cameron.

The Monarchs had four named First Team All-CAA - wide receiver Nick Mayers, defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron, linebacker Craig Wilkins, and punter Jonathan Plisco, while cornerback Eriq Lewis was named Second Team All-CAA. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, wide receiver/punt returner Reid Evans, offensive lineman Jermey Hensley, kicker Jarod Brown, and defensive lineman Chris Burnette were among the five Monarchs named to the CAA's Third Team.

2011 CAA FOOTBALL FINAL STANDINGS (Conference Record, Overall Record)

1. Towson (7-1, 9-2)

2t. Old Dominion (6-2, 10-2)

2t. Maine (6-2, 8-3)

2t. New Hampshire (6-2, 8-3)

5t. Delaware (5-3, 7-4)

5t.. JMU (5-3, 8-4)

7. William & Mary (3-5, 5-6)

8. Rhode Island (2-6, 3-8)

9. Villanova (1-7, 2-9)

10. Massachusetts (0-0, 5-6)

11. Richmond (0-8, 3-8)

SELLOUT:  The Monarchs, who have sold out all 21 home games in three seasons of actions, are a hot ticket even on the road.  Zable Stadium, home of the William & Mary Tribe, was sold out for the week 11 ODU-William & Mary match-up with 12,259 in attendance to witness the Monarch win.

PLAYING THE RANKED TEAMS:  ODU is 3-1 this season against the Top 25 and 3-4 all-time against opponents appearing in the polls.  The Monarchs captured their first victory over the Top Ten in week nine's 23-20 win over then #9/10 James Madison.

#12/13 William & Mary (L, 17-21) on September 18th, 2010 

#14/16 Cal Poly (L, 37-50) on October 9th, 2010 

#7/6 Delaware (L, 17-27) on September 24, 2011  

#20 Minutemen (W, 48-33) on October 2, 2011

#17/23 Towson (L, 35-39) on October 15, 2011

#9/10 James Madison (W, 23-20) on October 29, 2011

#19/22 Norfolk State (W, 35-18) on November 26, 2011

BLOCK THAT KICK:  Special teams now has 22 blocks to its credit in the last three seasons, including 10 in the 2011 season, which according to an unofficial poll of FCS schools are tied along with North Dakota for the most blocks by a school this season.  

2011 FCS LEADERS (total blocked kicks)

Old Dominion 10 (5 FG, 5 Punts)

North Dakota 10 (6 FGs, 4 PATs)

Citadel 9 (9 Punts)

Portland State 9 (2 FG, 7 Punts)

Drake 8 (3 FG, 2 PAT, 3 Punts)

Murray State 7 (1 FG, 3 PAT, 3 Punts)

Weber State 7 (7 punts)

Dartmouth 6 (2 FGs, 2 PAT, 2 Punts)

Nicholls State 6 (2 FGs, 4 PATs)

Norfolk State 6 (2 punts, 4 FGs)

The Monarchs had a pair of blocked field goals in their playoff debut last weekend.  Chris Burnette blocked his third field goal on the year and fifth of his career on a 37-yard attempt by the Spartans. In addition to thwarting field goals against the William & Mary and Delaware earlier this season, Burnette stopped a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Virginia Union and a 32-yard attempt by Presbyterian back in 2009.

Edmon McClam, who holds NCAA Division I record for most blocked PAT's by a single player in a game (FCS or FBS) with three against the Chowan Hawks in the inaugural game in 2009 and is just one blocked PAT shy of tying the FCS record for blocked extra points in a career, blocked his first field goal attempt on a 50-yard Spartan attempt.

In the regular season finale, Burnette kept a 35-yard William & Mary attempt going through the uprights on the Tribe's final drive of the second quarter with the score knotted at 14-14.  

In week 10, Jakwail Bailey blocked his second punt of the 2011 season against Richmond.

In week nine, Craig Wilkins blocked a 47-yard James Madison field goal attempt in last moments of ODU's 23-20 win over the Dukes leading the Monarchs to their first Top 10 victory in school history.

In week five, Jakwail Bailey blocked a UMass punt that results in a safety, giving the Monarchs a 26-25 lead they would not relinquish late in the third quarter.  For his efforts, Bailey was named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week.  

The Monarchs also blocked a 48-yard Delaware field goal attempt, recording a block for its third consecutive contest. 

In week three's game with Hampton true freshman James Faircloth blocked a Pirate punt resulting in Larry Pinkard returning the ball five-yards for a touchdown to open up the fourth quarter in the 45-42 victory.  It was the third time in the two-game series with the Pirates that ODU has blocked a punt attempted by Hampton.

In week two's 40-17 win at Georgia State, Alex Arain blocked his second career punt that was picked up by Blair Roberts and returned for a touchdown.  Additionally, Paul Morant blocked a punt in the victory. 

HOME/AWAY: Old Dominion is currently 16-5 all-time and 6-1 this season at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium following its 35-18 victory over Norfolk State in first round playoff action  The Monarchs have won three straight at home following a 39-35 set back to Towson, which had snapped a six-game home game win streak for ODU that had dated back to Oct. 9th, 2010  in a 50-37 setback to Cal Poly.  

In their last road outing, a 35-31 victory over William & Mary, ODU improved to 4-1 this season and 11-2 all-time on the road.  ODU's last road loss was a  a 27-17 setback at #6/7 Delaware on Sept. 24 of this season after having won seven straight away from the friendly confines of Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Prior to the Blue Hen loss, the Monarchs last loss on the road was a 34-29 setback at Fordham on Oct. 3, 2009. 

STOPPING THE RUN:  The Monarchs are second in the CAA in rush defense and 16the nationally allowing the opposing team  just under 116 yards per game. Take a look at how ODU has shut down its opponent's run game.

ODU vs. The Opponent Run Game:

Opponent: Rush Avg. Entering Game:             Avg. Rush vs. ODU:     
Campbell: 4.5 (2010) 1.2
Georgia State:   3.9 2.4
Hampton: 5.0 3.3
Delaware: 4.8 2.1
UMass: 4.2 2.1
Rhode Island: 4.9 3.7
Towson: 5.1 4.7
Villanova: 3.4 3.2
James Madison: 5.0 2.7
Richmond: 2.5 3.5
William & Mary:        4.0 6.7
Norfolk State 4.5 1.5

The JMU Dukes came into week nine as the CAA's leading rushing offense at 242.7 yards per game and 5.0 yards per play and they were held to 103 yards and 2.7 yards per carry.

Richmond and William & Mary, has been the only school this season to rush for more yardage per carry than they were averaging entering the game.

WAITING FOR STATS APPEARANCE:  True freshman Taylor Heinicke's name does not appear in the conference or national stats due to the fact he had not played in the minimum 75% of games played to qualify.  Appearing following the half of the Week Five game with UMass, Heinicke has appeared in eight of ODU's 12 games, resulting in him appearing in only 67% of the Monarchs contests played. 

However, if his name did appear....his 254.9 passing yards per game would have ranked 19th nationally, his 160.2 pass efficiency rating would place him fifth nationally, and his 291.1 yards of total offense per contest would put his name 10th nationally.

MORE PEOPLE WATCH THE MONARCHS WIN:  A new attendance mark was set in the Monarchs' home opener against Campbell in week one thanks to new seats in the loge level of the Ainslie Game Day Building. 19,818 people were in attendance to witness the Monarchs' 41-14 victory over the Camels.

SOLD OUT:  The Old Dominion University football program begins its third season of competition and its first as an official member of the Colonial Athletic Association this fall, and for the third consecutive year the Monarchs have sold through their season ticket allocations at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

Since starting football in 2009, Old Dominion University has sold out of all available season tickets, setting national attendance records for start-up Football Championship Subdivision programs. The Monarchs ranked fourth in both accumulated and average attendance in 2010 and a total of 415,674 fans have entered through the turnstiles in the 21-games played at Foreman Field the last three seasons.

ODU fans purchased more than 14,000 season tickets for the 2011 season, with 400 of those tickets sold to 140 members of the football waiting list. The waiting list, created in 2009, currently has 1,710 members who are the first group contacted when season tickets become available.

MEETING OF NATIONAL CHAMPS:  The ODU Football Monarchs have had some experience with playoff teams this season.  The Monarchs met three straight national champions the past few weeks.  In week eight, ODU faced Villanova - winners of the 2009 FCS National Champioship.  Week nine it was James Madison - winners of the 2004 FCS National Championship. In week 10, it was Richmond, who won the title in 2008.  Saturday's second round opponent - Georgia Southern - has won six national championships - 1985, 1986, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000.

SO HONORED:  Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was recognized quite a bit following the Monachs' week 10 42-28 victory over Richmond.  After being among those added to the Jerry Rice Watch List, he lead the Monarchs by throwing for a season-high 373 yards and three touchdowns in the Monarchs' 42-28 victory over Spiders. Completing 34 of his 47 attempts and posting his second 300+ passing game of his six appearances thus far, he was not only named the Colonial Athletic Association Rookie of the Week for the second straight week and third time overall, but was also named The Sports Network/ National Freshman of the Week and the National Performance and Quarterback of the Week by the College Sports Performance Awards.

The true freshman signal caller was honored again by The Sports Network being named National Freshman of the Week for the second time this season following the 38-15 first round victory over Norfolk State.  Heinicke completed 21-of-30 pass attempts for 269 yards and a school-record five touchdowns, connecting on touchdown throws of 3, 4, 24, 2 and 18 yards.

12TH MONARCH TIME:  The 12th Monarch, the nickname of the ODU faithful, certainly did their job of being "loud and proud" as the Norfolk State Spartans had 18 penalties call against them, the most of any ODU opponent in history, in last weekend's first round playoff match-up. The previous high was 11 at home against UMass on Oct. 1st in the Monarchs' first CAA win and first win over a ranked opponent, as well as on the road at Fordham and VMI in 2009.

SCORE....AND SCORE AGAIN:  It was the second time this season ODU had a pair of Monarchs with more than one touchdown reception in ODU's first round win over Norfolk State. It was Nick Mayers and Larry Pinkard with a pair of touchdown catches from quarterback Taylor Heinicke. The other game was a combo of Thomas DeMarco and Heinicke finding Mayers and Larry Pinkard twice against UMass, ODU's first CAA win and victory over a ranked squad.

TOUCHDOWN RECORD:  The five touchdowns thrown by true freshman quarterback Taylor Heinicke last weekend against Norfolk State were the most by a Monarch QB in a game.  Heinicke's record of five surpasses the previous mark of four held by Thomas DeMarco in games with Cal Polly, Campbell, and Monmouth all last season.

WELCOME BACK E-LEW:  After missing three games with a high-ankle sprain (Villanova, James Madison, & Richmond), corner Eriq Lewis returned with some pretty impressive plays.

Lewis forced his third fumble of the season during the Tribes' first drive of the game with the William & Mary offense at the Monarchs' own 13. Lewis now has a team-leading three forced fumbles having also recorded forced fumbles in games with Hampton and Delaware.

His two late interceptions sealed the game for ODU as it was the first time in school history a Monarch defender has more than one interception in a game. Lewis is third on the list in career interceptions with Devon Simmons having made seven and Craig Wilkins six to-date.

After all the above, Lewis was honored by the conference office with CAA Defensive Player of the Week, the first Monarch to earn the distinction.

Lewis added another interception in ODU's 35-18 first round playoff victory over Norfolk State to bring his season total to five INTs, the most interceptions by a Monarchs in a season.  Current saftey Devon Simmons held the previous record with four interceptions in 2009.

HISTORY IN THE MAKING:  The Monarchs made history on September 5th when a three-year dream became a reality. On May 31, 2006, the ODU board of visitors voted to add football and 1,293 days later, the Monarchs kicked off their first season of Division I FCS play. ODU played an 11-game schedule, including seven home dates at the $24.8 million renovated Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The schedule was a mix of both D-II and D-I FCS opponents to help the Monarchs transition into not only its first year of football, but also to get ready for entering the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in 2011, the toughest FCS conference in the nation. 

For More Information on ODU Football, see Complete Game Notes