WINNING SEASON: Monarchs Down Savannah State 38-17

October 24, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 24, 2009

Box Score

SAVANNAH, Ga. -- It wasn't the usual suspects for the ODU Monarchs in its 38-17 victory over Savannah State Saturday night at Ted Wright Stadium. Chris Lovitt (Stafford, Va.) , Michael E. Williams (Manassas, Va.) each had their first career touchdowns, defender A.T. Aoelua (Pago, Pago, American Samoa) picked off a fake field goal attempt for another score, while Mario Crawford (Detroit, Mich.) made his return to the field.

The Monarchs improve to 6-2 on the year, ensuring a winning first season of play. Savannah State meanwhile falls to 1-6.

Old Dominion held the Tigers scoreless through the first half of action while racking up 17 points of their own.

The Monarchs lit up the scoreboard with 10:44 in the first half as Williams caught not only his first reception, but catch the ball over the end line for a five yard reception to put ODU up 7-0.

Drew Hareza (McDonald, Pa.) gave ODU at 10-0 lead with 5:28 remaining in the opening half as his 29-yard field goal broke his drought. After making five against Chowan in the season opener, Hareza missed his last six attempts before sailing the ball through the uprights against the Tigers. Hareza improved to 6-12 on field goals.

The second quarter ended with the Monarchs going up 17-0. With seconds remaining before the intermission, Lovitt caught a pass from quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) racing downfield for a 25-yard touchdown reception, his first touchdown run of the year.

Savannah State got out of the gates quickly in half number two. Opening the third quarter the Tigers used a nine play, 81-yard drive for their first touchdown of the evening. Savannah State quarterback Kurvin Curry connected with Deleon Hollinger. However it would be Old Dominion with the next two scores going over 30 yards on both. Crawford, in his return from shoulder injury, raced 37-yards downfield with 4:58 left in the third stanza and Carols Davis (Ft. Washington, Md.) posted a 37-yard touchdown reception, his third of the season, with 1:41 left in the quarter to put the Monarchs ahead 31-10.

With under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Savannah State used a 46-yard field goal with the ball barely passing through the uprights, then gained the ball back when the Monarchs fumbled the kickoff.

Starting off the fourth quarter, the Tigers at fourth and seven on the ODU 28, went for the field attempt. Savannah State went for the face but the ODU defense caused A.J. Defilippis to scramble and pass the ball right into the arms of ODU linebacker Aoelua. With the ball in his hands, Aoelua took off for a 77-yard touchdown return, becoming the first ODU defender to score this year. The Samoans touchdown gave the Monarchs a 38-10 edge.

Scoring rounded out midway through the fourth quarter with Savannah State's Hollinger registering his second touchdown of the night. Using 13 plays and covering 74 yards, Hollinger capped the drive with a four-yard run to bring the score to its final margin, 38-17.

Crawford, in his return to the field, rushed for a team-leading 102 yards, his first outing running for over 100 yards. Lovitt, meanwhile, led the receiving corps with five catches for 75 yards, while DeMarco completed 14 of his 20 attempts throwing for 198 yards.

The Tigers saw Curry carry the ball 16 times to gain 50 yards and connect on 22 of his 26 throws on the night. Hollinger, who scored both of Savannah State touchdowns, recorded 70 yards on 10 catches.

Defensively, the Monarchs captured a pair of interceptions, five sacks, and 10 tackles for a total loss of 35 yards. Michael Colbert (Fayetteville, N.C.) made season-high 10 stops, including six solo stops. Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.), Jake Sweedyk (Walker, Mich.), and Chad King (Springfield, Va.) each had six tackles each. Wilkins also added in two pass break-ups.

The Old Dominion football Monarchs return to action in their final two home games of the 2009 season. ODU hosts Georgetown on Halloween and North Carolina Central on Homecoming on November 7th.

Old Dominion's victory over Savannah State ensures the Monarchs a winning season. Of the schools that have started up football the last few years, only Coastal Carolina and Robert Morris have a winning record at the end of their inaugural seasons. Coastal Carolina earned a 6-5 record in its first season in 2003, while Robert Morris ended its first year in 1994 with a 7-1 mark.

Michael E. Williams touchdown reception made it the sixth time this season Old Dominion has scored on its first drive The Monarchs had gone up early against Chowan, Virginia Union, Monmouth, Fordham, Campbell, and now Savannah State.

Mateus Porter captured the 12th Monarch interception of the season, setting up Chris Lovitt for his 25-yard touchdown reception to close out the second quarter. Porter's interception was his second of the year. A.T. Aoelua's first interception, and the Monarchs' 13th of the year, made him the first defender to reach the end zone this season with his 77-yard interception return.

Old Dominion scored in each quarter this evening, the second time in its eight games thus far, and the first against an FCS squad. The last time the Monarchs registered a score in each of the four quarters was against Virginia Union back on September 12th.

Six different Monarchs scored in Saturday's victory over Savannah State bringing the Monarchs' total to 16 different Monarchs who have put points onto the scoreboard. "It's not necessarily one or two guys who are forcing the defense to defend multiple personnel and different personnel groupings," said head coach Bobby Wilder. "It's making us a team that's able to do different things. We're not an easy team to defend on offense right now."