FIRST CAA ROAD WIN: No. 21 ODU Defeats Rhode Island, 31-23
By ODU Athletics
Oct. 8, 2011
KINGSTON, R.I. - The No. 21 Old Dominion Football Monarchs picked up their first win as a ranked squad and their first Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) road win in a 31-23 win over Rhode Island on Saturday at Meade Stadium.
The win improves ODU to 5-1 on the year and 2-1 in CAA action. The Rams meanwhile drop to 1-4 on the year and 0-2 in league play.
Monarchs wasted no time in establishing a lead. After four and out on their opening drive, it was only four plays before the Monarchs regained possession. Craig Wilkins' first interception of the year put the Monarchs in Ram territory and six plays later true freshman quarterback Taylor Heinicke scored his first career touchdown run to put ODU up 7-0 at the 10 minute mark of the opening quarter.
However, Rhode Island tied the game up a little under seven minutes later using a 15-play, 76-yard drive with Ram quarterback Steve Probst connecting with wide receiver Trevor Turner in the end zone to tie the game at 7-7.
Scoring continued for the Rams early in the second half with Probst finding Frazier for an 11-yard touchdown reception and Rhode Island taking a 14-7 lead within the second quarter's first two minutes.
Before the half, the Monarchs were able to tie the game at 14-14. After possession was traded seven times, it became the two-minute drill for the Monarchs. ODU made its way down field 68-yards capped by a seven-yard Larry Pinkard touchdown catch to tie the score heading into the locker room.
The Rams took the lead over to start off the third quarter. After a failed on-sides kick attempt by the Monarchs, the Rams started their first drive after the half at the ODU 38. Moments later, Anthony Baskerville ran the ball four yards over the end line. The Rams' PAT attempt was no good and ODU trailed 20-14.
On ODU's next possession, the Monarchs took back the lead. Pinkard made his second touchdown reception of the game giving the Monarchs a 21-20 edge with 9:57 left in the third quarter.
But just like that, a 38-yard field goal gave the Rams a 23-21 advantage with 6:46 left in the third quarter.
The Monarchs punched back though on their next possession. Nick Mayers, on a nine-yard pass from Heinicke, capped the 11-play, 62-yard drive to give ODU a 28-23 lead.
In the only scoring in the fourth quarter, Jarod Brown sailed a 22-yard field goal through the uprights for the final 31-23 margin.
Heinicke, making his first career start, passed for 205 yards and three touchdowns along with running the ball eight times, including a score. Angus Harper led the ground attack with 45 yards on 15 carries, while Mayers had eight catches for 66 yards and Reid Evans finished the afternoon with 60 yards on six receptions.
The Rams' Steve Probst passed for 143 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Monarchs were led by safety Carvin Powell and linebacker J.J. Williams, each with eight stops. All eight of Powell's tackles were solo stops. Linebacker Craig Wilkins added seven tackles, including 3.5 for loss as well as his interception.
The No. 21 ODU Football Monarchs return home next week to host No. 25 Towson on Homecoming. The game, which will be a WHITEOUT, will kick off at 3:30 p.m.
UPDATING THE NUMBERS - POST RHODE ISLAND:
Craig Wilkins first interception of the season and fifth of career. Eriq Lewis also had an interception late in the fourth quarter to help wrap up the game for the Monarchs. It was Lewis' second interception of the year. Larry Pinkard had his fourth and fifth touchdowns and third and fourth receiving scores of the season. Wide receiver Nick Mayers had his 10th touchdown of his career and third of the 2011 season.
The Monarchs have had a player with two touchdown receptions in a game three times this season. With a pair of catches in the end zone against the Rams, it marked the second time Larry Pinkard has had two touchdown receptions in a game, also doing so in last weekend's win over UMass. Nick Mayers also had a pair of touchdown receptions against the Minutemen last week.
A TOUGH PLACE TO PLAY:
The Monarchs picked up a win in a place that's been tough for win for Ram opponents. Entering today's game, Rhode Island was 5-1 over their last six game at Meade Stadium. The Rams have also been known to provide the upset in the CAA as last year they picked up wins over #8 New Hampshire, #3 Villanova, and #19 UMass.
Redshirt junior punter Jonathan Plisco entered Saturday's game ranked second nationally in punting and averaged 48.7 yards on six punts against the Rams.
ON THE ROAD:
Old Dominion improved to 2-1 on the road this season and 9-2 all-time away from the friendly confines of Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium