GAME EIGHT: #18/22 Old Dominion at Villanova

October 19, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 19, 2011

Villanova Game Notes

Game Eight:
Saturday, October 22, 2011 - 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Villanova Stadium - Villanova, Pa.
#18/22 Old Dominion Monarchs (5-1, 2-1 CAA) vs.
Villanova Wildcats (1-6, 0-4 CAA)

TV: None
Radio: ESPN RADIO - 94.1 FM
(Ted Alexander - Play-by-Play; Andy Mashaw - Color Analyst)
Video: (subscription required)
Livestats: Gametracker

CAA Weekly Teleconference Audio: Available on Monarch Media

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• Old Dominion enters Saturday's game having drooped back three spots in The Sports Network/FatHead.Com Top 25 Poll to No. 21, while the Monarchs held steady in the FCS Coaches Poll this week at No. 22.

• ODU dropped its first home CAA contest with last weekend's 39-35 heartbreaker to #18/23 Towson.  The Monarchs picked up their first road CAA win and first win as a nationally-ranked program in week six at Rhode Island with a 31-23 victory. ODU's first CAA win and first victory over a nationally ranked opponent in week five's 48-33 win over then-#20 UMass.  

• Old Dominion restarted its football program in 2009 after a 69-year absence and in its three years has compiled an 22-7 overall mark as the best start-up in FCS history.

• Old Dominion went 9-2 in its inauguaral season, 8-3 in 2010, and currently stands at 5-2 this season with victories over Campbell, Georgia State, Hampton, #20 UMass, and Rhode Island.

• After playing two years as an independent in the FCS, the Monarchs join the CAA, considered by many to be the best FCS conference in the nation, and holds a 2-2 mark in the league.  Seven of the CAA's 11 programs were ranked in the national preseason polls and nine are ranked this week - Delaware, New Hampshire, James Madison, Richmond, Towson, Old Dominion, and Maine.

• With week seven's loss to Towson, the Monarchs improved to 5-2 on the season, 2-2 in the CAA, 3-1 at home and 13-5 all-time at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

• Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium continues to be the place to be in Hampton Roads on Saturdays.  The Monarchs' 18 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 seventh in average attendance through week six. 

• As a team through week six, the Monarchs are ranked in the Top 25 nationally in Sacks (5th - 3.57), Scoring Offense (5th - 36.71), Tackles for Loss (11th - 8.14), Net Punting (13th - 38.02),Total Offense (20th - 419.29), and Rushing Offense (23 - 114.14).  

• Individually in the national stats this season Jonathan Plisco ranks second in punting (46.84)  and defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron ranks 15th in TFLs (1.71).

All-Time Vs. Villanova:
First meeting

The Villanova Wildcats, who brought home an FCS National Championship in 2009, have one of the youngest teams in the CAA taking the field on Saturday. Against New Hampshire two weeks ago, the Wildcats, who are 1-6 overall and still looking for their first CAA win at 0-4, played 17 first- year players, including 11 true freshmen, five redshirt freshmen and a transer. In that game, Villanova started seven true freshmen and one redshirt freshman in the game. Entering this season, Villanova is coming off a three-year run where they tallied a 33-9 overall record and a 19-5 CAA mark.

The Monarchs serve as Villanova's homecoming opponent this season.

Wildcat freshman linebacker Dillon Lucas joins the Monarchs' Eriq Lewis on the Jerry Rice Watch List for National Freshman of the Year. Lucas is second on the Wildcat defense with 59 tackles and ranks 15th in the conference.

Villanova dropped a 34-10 decision to the No. 13 James Madison in Harrisonburg last week, as the Dukes scored 28 unanswered points in the game's last 23 minutes. Redshirt freshman quarterback Dustin Thomas returned to action after missing four games with an injury and threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to junior wide receiver Kenny Miles to put the Wildcats ahead 7-0 near the midpoint of the second quarter and Villanova also led 10-6 after junior Mark Hamilton kicked a 41-yard field goal early in the second half. Hamilton added another field goal following the half but the Dukes offense took off from there.

Thomas finished the day 11-of-24 for 127 yards and the touchdown pass to Miles, while also throwing two incerceptions. He also carried the ball 12 times, including breaking away for a 26-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Junior wide receiver Dorian Wells had four catches for 25 yards, while freshman wide receiver Clay Horne had two receptions for 36 yards.

Junior defensive back Ronnie Akins had a game-high 12 tackles and led three Villanova players that tallied at least 10 stops.

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 and vote today and every day for Bobby Wilder, the head coach of the greatest startup program in FCS history.

When the ODU Football Monarchs take the field on Saturday at Villanova, it will be as a nationally-ranked team in both The Sports Network/ and FCS Coaches Polls for the second consecutive week.

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 two weeks ago in The Sports Network/ FCS Top-25 College Football Poll. The Monarchs, made the jump after defeating then-#20 Massachusetts and rose to No. 18 following its 31-23 victory over Rhode Island on week six. Following the Monarchs victory over the Rams, ODU made its FCS Coaches Poll debut this week coming in at No. 22.

Following week seven's loss to Towson, the Monarchs dropped three spots in the TSN Poll to No. 21, while remaining at No. 22 in the Coaches Poll.

Nine CAA Football teams appeared in this week's Top 25. It is the first time ever a league has had as many as nine teams in one week's poll at the FCS level. Prior to this week's ranking release, the CAA had eight teams in the rankings. CAA Football was the only conference to ever boast seven among TSN's rankings in a single week having done that 14 times.

It took the ODU Football Monarchs until year three and 27 games to receive its first Top 25 ranking. 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.

Angus Harpers' 64-yard touchdown run last week against Towson was the longest play from scrimmage in ODU's history. But that record stood just briefly when Nick Mayers had a 93-yard reception from Taylor Heinickelate in third quarter.

The previous longest run from scrimmage was a 53-yard run by Colby Goodwyn at Georgia State this season, while the longest pass completion was 62-yards by Thomas DeMarco to Prentice Gillagainst Cal Poly on Oct 9, 2011. The play was also the longest by a Towson opponent this season.

Linebacker Craig Wilkins, who earned CFPA National Linebacker of the Week following his performance in week six against Rhode Island, led the Monarchs with double digit tackles for the second time this season. The Washington, D.C. native had six solo and seven assisted tackles for 13 total against the Tigers in week seven.

Wilkins also had 17 stops against Hampton in week three as he led the ODU defense with 17 tackles replacing his previous high of 11 stops in last year's game with nationally-ranked Cal Poly. It was also a new record for stops by a Monarch defender in a game, replacing the previous of 14 by Ronnie Cameronin last year's season finale at N.C. Central.

He currently leads the Monarchs with 70 total tackles over the course of the Monarchs' seven games this season ranking sixth among the conference's defenders.

The six sacks, led by 2.5 by defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron, recorded by the Monarch defense last week against Towson were the most this season. Previous high was five against Campbell and then-#20 UMass.

Cameron, who is averaging .86 quarterback takedowns a game is third in the CAA in the category and 15th nationally.

Taylor Heinicke's 360 passing yard are the second most in ODU history just below Thomas DeMarco's407 yards at Monmouth on September 25 2010.

Last time the Monarchs threw for over 300 yards in a game was when redshirt senior Thomas DeMarco, who is working his way back from a high ankle sprain, passed for 310 yards in a week one victory over Campbell.

Over the course of the Monarchs' 29 games play thus far, Old Dominion has passed for over 300 yards five times.

Nick Mayer's 166 receiving yards versus the Tigers last weeekend was another school record. The previous high was 154 yards by Prentice Gillat Monmouth on Sept. 25 of last season.

It was Mayers' second 100+ yard receiving game. He was the first Monarchs to catch for 100 yards having done so in the Monarchs' loss at Fordham in 2009.

Through ODU's 29 total games play, a Monarchs has registered 100 or more yards of receiving six times.

Prior to Towson's Terrance West's 47 and 54-yard touchdown runs, the longest scores against Old Dominion this season came from Hampton's Jeremy Jermin as he had a 42-yard fumble recovery and from Delaware on a Tim Donnelly to Rob Jones 32-yard pass.

Midway through the thid quarter in last week's game against Towson, the Monarchs took a 35-24 lead on one of the wildest plays in ODU history. Safety Carvin Powell intercepted a Tiger pass in the endzone setting up the Monarch drive to start at their own four-yard line. Then rookie Taylor Heinicke threw a 93-yard pass to Nick Mayers who tore down field but had the ball stripped at the Towson 3. As the ball rolled its way into the endzone, senior Prentice Gilljumped on top of it to score the touchdown for the Monarchs.

The Monarchs are second behind James Madison in the CAA in rush defense. Take a look at how ODU has shut down its opponent's run game.

Campbell4.5 (2010)1.2Georgia State3.92.4Hampton5.03.3Delaware4.82.1UMass4.22.1Rhode Island4.93.7

Towson 5.1 4.7

Special teams now has 17 blocks to its credit in the last three seasons, including five already in the 2011 season, which according to an unofficial poll of FCS schools are the second most blocks by a school this season. In week five, Jakwail Baileyblocked 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 have made a block in four of the last six contests.

2011 FCS LEADERS (total blocked kicks)
Portland State - 7 (2 FG, 5 Punts)
North Dakota - 6 (4 FGs, 2 PATs)
Dartmouth - 6 (2 FGs, 2 PAT, 2 Punt)
Drake - 6 (3 FG, 1 PAT, 2 Punt)
Citadel - 5 (5 Punts)
Murray State - 5 (1 FG, 1 PAT, 3 Punts)
Old Dominion - 5 (1 FG, 4 Punts)
Jacksonville State - 4 (1 FG, 2 PATs, 1 Punt)
Norfolk State - 4 (3 FGs, 1 Punt)
Presbyterian College - 4 (2 FGs, 2 Punts)
Texas-San Antonio - 4 (2 FGs, 1 PAT, 1 Punt)
Youngstown State - 4 (3 PATs, 1 Punt)
Elon - 4 (4 punts)

For more information on ODU Football, check out complete game notes