NORFOLK, Va. -- Old Dominion fell to FIU, 28-20, in the weather-delayed home opener on Saturday night at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The game was also ODU's first Conference USA game of the season.
Old Dominion (0-2, 0-1 C-USA) jumped out to a 17-0 lead early in the second quarter behind a pair of touchdown receptions from Jonathan Duhart, who finished the game with three receptions for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
However, FIU (1-1, 1-0 C-USA) scored a pair of touchdowns late in the first half to close the gap to 20-14 at the break.
Following an hour and 53-minute delay during halftime due to lightning, the Panthers outscored ODU, 14-0, in the second half to pull out the victory. The Monarchs had an opportunity to potentially pull even with under four minutes to play, but Blake LaRussa's pass to Travis Fulgham in the endzone fell incomplete.
ODU struck first with a six play, 75-yard drive capped with a four-yard touchdown pass from Steven Williams to Jonathan Duhart. The key play of the drive was a Williams to Duhart completion for 63-yards to convert a third and six.
The Monarchs added to the lead with an 83-yard touchdown toss from Blake LaRussa to Jonathan Duhart to make the score 14-0. The play is the fourth longest completion in school history, and career longs for both players.
Nick Rice added to the score with a 30-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
James Morgan hit C.J. Worton for 47-yard to pull FIU to within 17-7.
Rice added to the lead with a 39-yard field goal to push the lead to 20-7 midway through the second quarter.
The Panthers cut into the lead with a James Morgan to Tony Gaiter IV 11-yard touchdown pass with 14 second left in the first half to make the score a 20-14 at the break.
La Russa completed 8-of-15 passes for 143 yards and a touchdown for the game, while Steven Williams went 11-for-22 for 160 touchdowns and a touchdown.
Defensivley, Lawrence Garner posted a game-best 16 tackles. Oshane Ximines had six tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks.
Notes: Sean Carter and Nick Clarke were game captains along with Isaiah Harper and Oshane Ximines … The 63-yard completion from Williams to Duhart was the longest play of the young season … Duhart has now caught a pass in 30-straight games he has played … Oshane Ximines had a sack, forced fumble on FIU’s first drive, his school record 22nd career sack, and record-breaking eighth career forced fumble, breaking a tie with TJ Ricks … Justin Noye recorded his first career interception in the first quarter … Donta Anthony made his first career catch in the second quarter … The 83-yarder from LaRussa to Duhart is the fourth longest pass play in school history, and longest since 84-yarder from David Washington to Jeremy Cox at FAU in 2016 … Isaiah Spencer had his first career rush and catch … At the beginning of halftime the game went into a one hour and 53 minute weather delay … Lawrence Garner had a career-high 16 tackles … Garner had 13 tackles in 2017, he has 27 so far through two games in 2018 … ODU threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns, surpassing last year’s single-game high of 240-yards at FIU … After eight penalties in the opening game, ODU had just three tonight … ODU’s 60-game sellout streak ended with a crowd of 19,243.