Jason Cooper

HISTORY IS MADE: ODU WINS POPEYES BAHAMAS BOWL

December 23, 2016
By ODU Athletics

NASSAU, BAHAMAS - Ray Lawry rushed for 133 yards and David Washington tossed three touchdown passes as Old Dominion defeated Eastern Michigan 24-20 in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl to win the first bowl game in school history.

Old Dominion (10-3, 7-1 C-USA) took a 10-0 lead into halftime, but Eastern Michigan (7-6, 4-4 MAC) tied the score at 17 to end the third quarter.

Washington led ODU on a seven play, 72-yard drive capped by a five-yard touchdown pass to Jonathan Duhart. The defense made a pair of stops in the fourth quarter and ODU hung on for the historic win.

EMU cut the score to 10-7 on the first drive of the third quarter with a Brogan Roback to Sergio Bailey five-yard touchdown pass, but ODU came right back with a David Washington to Travis Fulgham 31-yard touchdown pass.  Lawry started the drive with a 23-yard run.

Brad Davis got ODU on the board first with a 34-yard field goal to give the Monarchs a 3-0 lead. The kick capped a 16 play, 58-yard drive that was kept alive on a fake punt on fourth and 2, with Jeremy Cox picked up three yards. Ray Lawry ran for 25-yards on the opening drive.

ODU scored its first bowl touchdown in the second quarter on a 47-yard touchdown pass from David Washington to Zach Pascal to complete a six play, 80-yard drive, that was set up by a Denzel Williams interception in the end zone. Lawry had a 14-yard first down run on the drive.

Notes: The Popeyes Bahamas Bowl was the first bowl appearance for the Monarchs … Redshirt freshman cornerback Jamez Brickhouse made his first career start … Ray Lawry broke his own single-season rushing record on the first drive of the game. Lawry rushed for 25-yards on the opening drive … Kicker Brad Davis made a 34-yard field on the opening drive, his 10th field goal of the season … The 16 play, 7:17 opening drive of the game, was the second longest drive in plays, and time this season for ODU. ODU had a 17 play, 9:34 drive against Marshall … David Washington’s second quarter interception was his fifth of the season … Denzel Williams intercepted a pass in the end zone in the second quarter to stop an Eastern Michigan drive, his second pick of the season. Williams had missed the five previous games with an injury … Zach Pascal caught a touchdown pass for the third-straight game … Jamez Brickhouse had a career high 11 tackles … The first half defensive shutout was ODU’s first, first half shutout of the season … Washington had his 11th multiple touchdown pass game of the season … Safety Christian Byrum had a career-high 11 tackles … Zach Pascal now has 30 receiving touchdowns in his career, second most in ODU history …  ODU is one of 19 FBS teams to have 10 wins this season.

Old Dominion Quotes
December 23, 2016 / Popeyes Bahamas Bowl Post-Game Press Conference

BOBBY WILDER, Head Coach
Opening remarks
“I just want to say how excited we are to win the game, but number two how grateful we are for how we were treated this week by everybody associated with the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl – all the wonderful people we met. This was a life-changing experience. We talked about this all week. We made memories to last a lifetime, and to win the game makes it that much more special. But you can get caught up so many times in college athletics with wins and losses that you forget the experiences you have. I met so many people that had nothing to do with this bowl game – whether it was at the hotel, or when we left the Atlantis, it just reminds me how special everybody is here.”

 Talk about the enjoyment during the post-game celebration
“That’s always fun, especially when it happens like it did at the end of that game.  That’s the first close game we had this year. Our previous 12 games were decided by at least 10 points, and over the last five years we’ve been the best team in the nation in one-score games.  To have it happen that way… everything that was critical happened at the end of the game – our defense getting two stops on one drive at the end, and then ending the game with Ray Lawry with the ball in his hands, and the way David (Washington) ran the operation – I think there were about five minutes left in the game when we ran the clock out going down the field. David is so good at that. For a guy who has only played 17 games at quarterback… today he surpassed the number of games he played at wide receiver, which is 16. As of right now he’s second all-time in the history of college football to Ryan Taneyhill in terms of yards receiving (and) passing.  That just speaks to who he is, who we are.”

Talk about how the team was picked to finish low in Conference USA and how you’ve come so far to win 10 games.
“When we met in August, these guys set their goals. That (the low expectations) was certainly something we thought about and talked about, but we knew we had to prove it to ourselves before we could prove it to anyone else. I would say after today that we proved a lot to ourselves. This is the most memorable season I’ve been a part of and it’s got a lot more to do with stuff away from football than it does on the field. This is a special group. I know with David (Washington) and T.J. (Ricks), no matter what they do, no matter where they end up playing, professionally, or when they hang the pads up, they’ll always be back. They’ll always be part of this family. I’ve never been a part of a team that liked each other this much --  just genuinely liked each other.”

“There is so much we can do. So much this program can accomplish. I’m sure Ray (Lawry) would agree with me – we haven’t won a game yet next year. We haven’t won one game. But what David and T.J. and those guys (other seniors) did was teach us that if you believe in something, you can do something special…. We just won 10 games. That’s pretty cool.”

T.J. RICKS, Sr., LB (Defensive MVP)
Talk about the defensive effort.
“The defense… we just came to the sideline and talked to each other and just told each other to trust each other. Do your 1/11th on the field. If one guy does his job and everybody else does their job, we’ll be good on defense.”

You appeared emotional after the game. Can you talk about that?
“It’s my last collegiate game at Old Dominion. We went out with a win. This is probably the favorite team I’ve been on since I’ve been here. It just came with emotion.”

On how he has seen the program emerge
“In 2014 we went 6-6. We were bowl eligible, but… it was a transition year. Then last year the loss to FAU was devastating.  We just told each other we don’t want to feel like this ever again. So we just, in the off-season, winter workouts, pushed ourselves during camp. We just learned how to play with each other and trust each other.”

RAY LAWRY, Jr., RB (Offensive MVP)
How can you carry the momentum from this win into next season?
“Just ride with the momentum. Just carry it on in the offseason. Go hard in the workouts during camp and get ready for the season next year.”

Is this better than if you had been named all-conference?
“One hundred percent. This is way better. Winning a bowl game, the first bowl game ever, it was a great feeling.”

DAVID WASHINGTON, Sr., QB
This is the third straight year ODU and EMU have played a close game. Can you talk about how you’ve managed to win those games?
“Coach Wilder does a really good job (in practice) of putting up in situations during practice where the score is tied, or we are down and we have to come back or take the lead.  So, it just got back to practice and things started clicking like they are supposed to.”

On how he has seen the program emerge
“It’s really special. I know I haven’t been here since the program started, but I’ve been here for five years, when it was young. It kind of feels like it’s my baby. We just took it (the program) to a bowl game, then won the bowl game. It’s pretty special.”

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