ON THE ROAD AGAIN: Football Monarchs Travel To Savannah State

October 20, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 20, 2009

Game Eight
Saturday, October 24th - 5:00 p.m. (EST)
Ted A. Wright Stadium - Savannah, Georgia
Old Dominion Monarchs (5-2) vs.
Savannah State Tigers (1-5)

Complete Game Notes in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

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• The Tigers are 1-5 on the season. After picking up a 34-12 victory over Livingstone College at the HBCU Classic to open up the 2009 season, Savannah State has dropped their last five contests, including a 34-24 loss to Bethune-Cookman in their last game. The Tigers are 0-3 at Ted A. Wright Stadium, their home field.

• Like the Monarchs, Savannah State is a FCS Independent, moving to I-AA in 2000. Prior to moving to Division I-AA the team compiled a 97-108-4 record in NCAA Division II (1981-2000), a 15-20-0 record in NCAA Division III (1973-1980) and a 1-1-0 record as a member of the NAIA.

• Sophomore A.J. DeFilippis and Kurvin Curry have both seen time at quarterback. DeFillippis has thrown for 44 completions, four interceptions, and three touchdowns on his 76 throws. He is averaging 67.0 passing yards per game. Curry meanwhile has made 39 completions, three interceptions, and two touchdowns on his 75 attempts. He is averaging 85.8 yards per contest.

• On the ground, look for the Tiger QBs to hand the ball to junior running back Justin Babb. Babb has carried the ball 82 times this season for three touchdowns. He is averaging a team-best 86.3 yards per game. Quarterback Kurvin Curry has four rushing touchdowns to his name.

• In the air, senior receiver Deleon Hollinger is averaging 43.2 yards per receptions having caught the ball 24 times. sophomore Deron Tallye and junior Justin Babb lead the receiving corps with two receiving touchdowns apiece.

• Senior linebacker Antwan Allen leads the defense with 48 tackles, five pass break-ups, and five batted down passes. In all, the Savannah State defense has racked up 43 tackles for loss led by senior lineman Chris Reed with 7.5 for a loss of 46 yards. Also included in that state are 3.5 opponent quarterback sacks for 29 yards.

Football fans are being asked to bring a canned good to benefit the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia to the "Monarchs for Meals" day at their next home game Saturday, Oct. 31, when they take on the Georgetown Hoyas. Monarchs Head Coach Bobby Wilder is serving as honorary chairman of the drive, which ODU officials are hoping to make an annual event during the football season. According to the Food Bank of Southeastern Virginia, the bad economy and high unemployment rates make food bank services in higher demand than ever. The top items that are especially needed include peanut butter, chunky soups, canned meats, canned tuna, canned vegetables, juice, cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta and pasta sauces. Collection bins manned by volunteers will be located throughout the campus at tailgating areas and at the entrances to Foreman Field.

Old Dominion is currently ranked 3rd in the nation in turnover margin, just behind eighth-ranked New Hampshire. and Southern. The Monarchs have created a nation-leading 25 turnovers through its first seven games of the season, while committing only 10 themselves. "Turnovers tell you who is going to win the game," notes head coach Bobby Wilder. "They control momentum. They control field position. We are taking advantage of turnovers and we are creating turnovers. To me that has been the biggest difference."

Still don't have your 12th Monarch t-shirt? Drop by the University Book Store on the corner of Monarch Way and 45th street on Friday, October 30th between 1 - 1:30 p.m. to meet ODU head coach Bobby Wilder and get your 12th Monarch shirt signed.

The Old Dominion football team has completed its 2010 schedule with the addition of Cal-Poly to its 11-game slate for next season. The Mustangs are one of seven teams to enter Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium next season. The Mustangs are ranked 19th in this week's FCS Coaches' Poll and have ranked as high as 13th in the national polls. Cal Poly is currently 3-3 overall and is coming off a 24-23 victory over Southern Utah last Saturday. In 2008, Cal Poly finished at 8-3 and 3-0 in the Great West to earn a berth to the FCS playoffs. In 2005, the Mustangs reached the FCS playoff quarterfinals. In addition to Cal Poly on Oct. 9, home games for the Monarchs will include a return with Jacksonville (Sept. 4) for their 2010 opener, future Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) rival William & Mary (Sept. 18), Gardner-Webb (Oct. 2) on Parent's Weekend, start-up and future conference rival Georgia State (Oct. 23) on Homecoming, as well as return dates with Savannah State (Nov. 6) and VMI (Nov. 13) in the regular season home finale. The Monarchs will have four road games next season traveling to Campbell (Sept. 11), Monmouth (Sept. 25), Georgetown (Oct. 25), and Presbyterian (Nov. 20). Old Dominion will have a bye-week in mid-season in 2010 with that date falling on Oct. 16.

One area of note that the coaching staff is very pleased with is special teams. "We have some players that emerging on special teams, including a lot of guys that don't start on offense or defense or that aren't playing 60 or 70 snaps a game," noted head coach Bobby Wilder. "They are taking pride on what they are doing on special teams . We recognize them each week for what we call `Dirty Jobs'." Dirty Jobs are defined as the jobs that the fans might not see during the game or the media might recognize. Examples includ blocking for the punt and kick returners and guys that have to run down field on the kick and sacrifice themselves to bust up the wedge. "Its making a big difference for this football team," said Wilder.

Punter Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) had a 76-yard punt midway through the third quarter for his longest punt of the year. That punt caused the Camels to start their drive all the way from their own one-yard line. Having helped the Camels stay downfield, it helped swing momentum ODU's way and set up the Monarchs' first touchdown drive of the second half. Plisco's previous long was 61. Twenty of his 41 punts this season have been inside the opponent 20 with 13 measured at 50 yards or longer.

Redshirt freshman wide reciever Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) brought his total number of touchdown receptions to five on the season with his two TD catches this evening. Mayers is second on the Monarchs in TDs, behind Thomas DeMarco's seven and he is third on the squad in scoring having totaled 32 of ODU's point this season, behind DeMarco (42) and kicker Drew Hareza (McDonald, Pa.) (44).

Desmond Williams (Windsor, N.C.) ran for 145 yards in Saturday's victory, the most rushing yardage for a Monarch this season. He surpasses the previous high of 136 captured by Thomas DeMarco at Jacksonville. Williams, also known as D.D. to teammates, on his touchdown against the Camels owned the drive, accounting for 70 of the 94 yards on Monarch possession.

After the Camels gained 137 yards on the ground in the first half, the ODU defense only allowed Campbell to gain 59 rushing yards in second half action.

Chris Burnette (Randallstown, Md.) suffered a broken hand in the second play of the game in the October 10th game against Presbyterian, but that certainly didn't stop him. Burnette reached up with his broken hand that had been casted and blocked a Blue Hose extra point - the Monarch's seventh blocked kick of the year and Burrnette's second of the season.

Quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) led the Monarchs in rushing yardage for the second time this season and also gained over 100 yards on the ground for the second time this season in the victory over Presbyterian. DeMarco recorded 108 yards against the Blue Hoes and had run for 136 yards against Jacksonville back on September 19th in ODU's first road game and first FCS contest. DeMarco capped off the ODU second-half scoring barrage against the Blue Hose taking the Monarchs all the way down field on all five plays of the drive. The redshirt sophomore carried the ball all 49 yards of the drive capped by a 27-yard dash into the end zone. DeMarco currently leads the team in carries with 420 total yards averaging 60.0 yards per game on the ground. Additionally, seven of his 21 touchdowns has come from his ground attack.

The Monarchs had four interceptions against Presbyterian back on October 10th - Devon Simmons (Va. Beach, Va.), Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan.), Markell Wilkins (Hampton, Va.), and Craig Wilkins (Va. Beach, Va.) - the most interceptions ODU has recorded to date. On the year, Wilkins and Simmons lead the Monarchs with three interceptions apiece.

Junior linebacker Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan.) has led the Monarchs in tackles in five of ODU's seven game so far. Against Presbyterian, all nine of his stops were solo tackles, the most solo tackles by a Monarch to date.

Kicker Drew Hareza's (McDonald, Pa.) PAT streak stopped on October 10th versus Presbyterian. After making his first 24 extra points, the Blue Hose blocked Hareza's PAT attempt following Desmond Williams' nine yard TD run. Hareza has converted 29 of his 30 attempts on the year.

And no, we're not talking about the howitzer you hear being shot off before the Monarchs run onto Foreman Field. Old Dominion has scored on the first drive in five of its games thus far - and almost added another in the October 10th contest with Presbyterian. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Monarchs took the ball down to the Presbyterian four-yard line and nearly punched through for the touchdown. Unfortunately, the Monarchs fumbled the ball and the Blue Hose recovered making it the only home game ODU has not on its opening drive.

Edmon McClam (Cowart, S.C.) blocked his fifth PAT of the season in the October 3rd contest at Fordham. The block became a new FCS record for blocked PATs in a season replacing the previous mark of four set by both Tim Hauck of Montana in 1988 and Ed Groszewski of Cornell in 1991. The record for blocked PATs in a career is seven held by the Grizzlies' Hauck. McClam also holds the FCS record for blocked PATs in a game having thwarted three Chowan extra point attempts in the season opener back on September 5th.

The Monarchs made the most of Ram fumbles back on October 3rd. Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan.) recovered a fumble that led to a Monarch touchdown by Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) in the third quarter. A.T. Aoeula (Pago, Pago, American Samoa) forced a fumble that was recovered by T.J. Cowart (Va. Beach, Va.) later in the quarter that almost lead to another score when the Monarchs returned to the field on offense. Unfortunately, the ball slipped out of the hands of intended receiver Reid Evans, who looked like he was off and running to cross the endline. Marquis Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) posted the third fumble recovery of the day and the second leading to a touchdown as he recovered in the endzone for the score. Ten different members of the ODU defense have posted fumble recoveries this season.

Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) became the first Monarch to have more than one touchdown reception in a game this season in ODU's game at Fordham on October 3rd. The redshirt freshman made a 25-yard catch in the first minute and a half against the Rams, the second straight game he made a touchdown catch in the opening minutes of a contest. Mayers also recorded a 29-yard reception midway through the third quarter helping ODU spark its third straight come-from-behind contest. The wide receiver then caught the two-point conversion from quarterback Thomas DeMarco to kick-off the fourth quarter scoring for the Monarchs. Three weeks ago, Mayers earned a spot in the starting line-up against Monmouth, starting in place of the injured Marquell Thomas (Va. Beach, Va.). Mayers had a 55-yard catch on ODU's first drive of the game against the Hawks to give Old Dominion a 7-0 lead in the first two minutes of the game.

Mario Crawford's (Detroit, Mich.) 52-yard run against Fordham on October 3rd, one of his six carries on the afternoon, is ODU's longest rush of the season. Crawford was leading the ground crew before suffering a shoulder injury. He is currently second on the stat sheet in rushing running the ball an average of 53.0 yards per game

Freshman wide receiver Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) started September 26th's Monmouth contest in place of the injured Marquell Thomas (Va. Beach, Va.). Mayers ran 55 yards on ODU's first drive of the game to give Old Dominion a 7-0 lead over the Hawks the first two minutes into the game.

The Monarchs are 1-2 in making the fourth quarter comeback this season.

Old Dominion trailed for a majority of Sept. 19th's contest at Jacksonville until its last drive. The Monarchs used a 91-yard, 10-play drive starting from its own nine-yard line with 2:08 remaining in the game. Freshman wide receiver Reid Evans (Hampton, Va.) accounted for four of ODU's first downs getting the Monarchs to the Jacksonville 32. Then quarterback Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) threw a 32-yard touchdown to Dorian Jackson (Colonial Heights, Va.) to tie the game at 27 all. Drew Hareza (Davidsonville, Md.) connected on his 14th straight PAT to give Old Dominion the lead 28-27 with 45 seconds left. Jacksonville got the ball down to the ODU 35, but a 52-yard field goal attempt went wide to give the Monarchs their third straight win.

The Monarchs, who trailed at one point 31-21 on September 26th to Monmouth, almost made its second straight come-from-behind victory. ODU made it a three-point game with just under seven minutes left. Monmouth's Kenny Amsel fumbled a punt return as Marquis Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) recovered at the Hawk's 15. On the next play, Desmond Williams (Windsor, N.C.) took off for 15 yards and Hareza's PAT had the Monarchs trailing just 31-28. Monmouth controlled possession the rest of the way however not allowing the ODU offense to return to the field and garner another scoring opportunity.

The Monarchs for the third straight game made a fourth quarter comeback, but fell just short. Old Dominion trailed 25-7 at the tail end of the third quarter Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) caught a 29-yard pass with 5:47 left in the quarter, the Monarchs' first points since Mayers first touchdown catch in the early moments of the game, to head into the fourth quarter trailing 25-14. The Monarchs dodged a bullet a Fordham field goal attempt went right on the second drive of the final quarter, but the Monarchs were unable to move further than their own 40 when they returned to the field on offense. Punter Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) punted the ball to the Fordham backfield where the Rams' Asa Lucas fumbled the ball. As the ball skipped further and further back, ODU's Marquis Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The Monarchs then completed the two-point conversion to cut the Monarch deficit to a field goal, 25-22, with 10:45 remaining in the game. Although Fordham was able to hit a field goal on the next drive, it was Old Dominion going the distance when they got the ball back to regain the lead. Carlos Davis (Ft. Washington, Md.) caught a 17-yard pass from DeMarco and Drew Hareza (McDonald, Md.) upped his mark to 21-of-21 on PATs to give Old Dominion the 29-28 lead with 3:06 remaining. The lead, unfortunately, only lasted for a minute. The Rams quickly went down field on the ensuing drive. Although Fordham, who went for the two-point conversion and failed, reclaimed the lead with 1:50 left at 34-29. Old Dominion got to the Fordham 45 on its final drive, but a fumble gave possession back to the Rams with 51 seconds remaining to hold for the win.

The Monarchs have blocked at least one kick in five of the seven games played so far this season - five blocked PAT attempts and a pair of blocked field goal attempt. Edmon McClam (Cowart, S.C.) set an NCAA record with three blocked PATs against Chowan and then had a block of the extra point on Jacksonville's first touchdown, which proved to be crucial as ODU left D.B. Milne field with a one-point victory, 28-27. McClam blocked his fifth PAT of the season at Fordham to set an FCS season record. (See OOPS...I DID IT AGAIN & RECORD SETTING DAY for more on McClam's blocked kicks). Chris Burnette (Randallstown, Md.) captured ODU's two other blocked kicks thwarting field goal attempt against Virginia Union and Presbyterian.

While September 5th saw a lot of firsts for the Old Dominion football Monarchs, there was another first on Sept. 19 against Jacksonville. The 28-27 thrilling come from behind victory was not only the Monarchs' first road win, but the victory over the Dolphins was also the first ever Division I (FCS) win.

There may be 11 defenders on the field, but the 12th one is in the stands. Head coach Bobby Wilder wants the ODU fans to be the 12th defender for the team by becoming the loudest when the opponent is on the offense. Thanks to the noise at the stadium the last two Saturdays, the crowd helped the opponent commit 30 penalties at Foreman Field this season.
12th Monarch Stats:
Chowan: Seven Penalties
Virginia Union: Eight Penalties
Monmouth: Three Penalties
Presbyterian: Four Penalties
Campbell: Eight Penalties

Help the Monarchs further its home field advantage by washing Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium in blue with your very own 12th Monarch T-Shirt available at the ODU University Village Bookstore or at the ODUSports.com online store.

Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) solidified his position at starting quarterback in the second game of the season as the redshirt sophomore captured five touchdowns and completed 13 of his 18 attempts for 198 yards. DeMarco carried the ball into the endzone three times against Virginia Union, including the game's first two scores. He ran the ball in for a touchdown in the third quarter, this time crossing the line backwards pushing against a pile of Panther defenders. To date, DeMarco has 21 touchdowns to his name, 14 from the air and another seven running the ball himself into the end zone.

The defense put out a potentially momentum changing situation against Virginia Union. After a Monarch pass was intercepted, Virginia Union's return brought gave the Panthers first and goal at the ODU 5. The ODU defense held, however, forcing the Panthers to hit a field goal instead of a touchdown. Rookie defensive back T.J. Cowart (Va. Beach, Va.) broke up a pass in the endzone, classmate Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.) allowed Virginia Union to gain only a yard on the next play, and a miss fired pass kept the Panthers from the touchdown.

Captain Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.), who was a member of the "fire department" that put out the fire by preventing Virginia Union from penetrating the endzone, finished the game with 10 tackles, including a nine-yard sack, along with a pair of pass break-ups and a 32-yard interception. Wilkins and the defense held the Panthers, who averaged 156 yards on the ground, to just 66 yards in the game. Additionally, the Monarch defenders had six tackles for loss pushing back Virginia Union for a total of 33 yards.

Not only was September 5th a record setting day with the Monarchs playing its first Division I-FCS football game, but it was also a record setting day for sophomore defender Edmon McClam (Coward, S.C.). The 6-6, 260 lbs. defensive lineman set an 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. The previous FCS record was held by Everette Pedescleaux of Northern Iowa with a pair of blocked extra point attempts against the Delaware Blue Hens on December 1, 2007. Four FBS athletes have blocked two PAT's in a single game (Corey Nelson, Air Force vs. Colorado St., Nov. 11, 2000; Josh Buhl, Kansas St. vs. Syracuse, Dec, 29, 2001; Kareem Bland, Middle Tenn. vs. North Texas, Nov. 23, 2002; Linval Joseph, East Carolina vs. Kentucky, Jan. 2, 2009) but never three. McClam's blocking prowess also ties the FCS record for combined block kicks in a game (includes blocked punts, PATs, FGs). The last time an FCS student-athlete blocked three kicks of any type in one game was Brandon Tinson of Colgate vs. Towson on Sept. 30, 2000 (all three were punts).

Redshirt freshman punter Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) led the nation in punting averaging 51.25 yards per punt after game number one. Plisco totaled 205 yards against the Hawks back on September 5th, with three of his four punts inside the 20. To date, Plisco ranks third in the nation in the category at 45.07 yards per punt.

Kicker Drew Hareza (McDonald, Pa.) totaled 18 of the Monarchs' 36 points against Chowan with five field goals and three extra points. His five field goals that went through the uprights in the first two quarters against the Hawks ties the FCS record for field goals in a half (Dean Biasucci, Western Caro. vs. Mars Hill, Sept. 18,1982 (1st); Tony Zendejas, Nevada vs. Northern Ariz., Oct. 16, 1982 (2nd); Ryan Weeks, Tennessee Tech vs. Chattanooga, Sept. 9, 1989 (2nd).)

Should the Monarchs sellout every game this season, Old Dominion could be top five in FCS attendance in the country in its first year of play. So far, the Monarchs have sold out their first four games at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

Rank: - School: - Games: - Average:
1.- Appalachian State - 8 - 25,161
2. - Montana - 9 - 23,923
3. - Delaware - 6 - 21,609
4. - Jackson St. - 4 - 21,263
5. - Ga. Southern - 6 - 18,168
6. - N. Dakota St. - 6 - 18,032
7. - Harvard - 5 - 17,360
8. - Southern U. - 4 - 16,323
9. - Tennessee St. - 5 - 15,444
10. - James Madison - 9 - 15,362

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

School: - FCS/FBS: - Year Started: - Record First Season:
Bryant - FCS - 1998 - 2-5
Campbell - FCS - 2008 - 1-10
Coastal Carolina - FCS - 2003 - 6-5
Jacksonville - FCS - 1998 - 4-5
Robert Morris - FCS - 1994 - 7-1
FIU - FBS - 2002 - 5-6
Florida Atlantic - FBS - 2001 - 4-6
South Florida - FBS - 1997 - 5-6

The following schools are adding football in the next few years:

School: - FCS/FBS: - Conference: - Year Starting:
Georgia State - FCS - CAA - 2010
Lamar - FCS - Southland - 2010
UT-San Antonio - FCS - Southland - 2011
Charlotte - FCS - TBA - 2013
South Alabama - FCS - Independent - 2012
FBS - Sun Belt - 2013

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 its first season of Division I FCS play. ODU has an 11-game schedule, including seven home dates at the $24.8 million renovated Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The schedule is 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.

Old Dominion last fielded a football team in 1940, back when the school was known as the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary. Then known as the Braves, the Norfolk Division had its first football game on Sept. 26, 1930 and was then disbanded in 1940. On June 21, 2005 by a 14-0 vote, the ODU board of visitors approved a plan that would see NCAA Div. I-AA (now known as FCS) football played at a remodeled Foreman Field provided that:
• A consultant's report indicating community support for a program.
• The acquisition of land to meet practice and other athletic needs.
• Pledges of at least $8 million for a football endowment.
All three criteria were met and Old Dominion kicks off today.

Response for Monarch football has been overwhelming:
• 14,377 season tickets sold with season ticket applications made available in Feb. 2008.
• The school had to unfortunately turn away 296 season ticket orders for a total of 1,065 season tickets due to demand.
• The ODU student ticket allotment of just under 4,000 tickets were all distributed in three days. Over 1,200 ODU students were in line when distribution began on Monday, August 24th at 8 a.m. and over 2,500 student tickets were handed out on the first day. By Tuesday night, only approximately 100 student tickets were available.

The Monarchs return home for their final two home games of the 2009 season. ODU hosts Georgetown on Halloween and North Carolina Central on Homecoming on November 7th.