Football Monarchs Victorious in Battle of the Silver Mace
Nov. 12, 2011
Post-Game Press Conference:
WILLIAMSBURG, Va. - The No. 11 Old Dominion Football Monarchs concluded the 2011 regular season at 9-2 overall and 6-2 in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) action with its 35-31 victory over William & Mary at Zable Stadium on Saturday and are now looking towards the playoffs in only their third season of play.
The Monarchs won the inaugural "Battle for the Silver Mace" and were presented a replica of the Norfolk Mace at the end of the contest.
Angus Harper, who finished the game with a trio of touchdowns, broke tackle on a seven-yard run with just under three minutes remaining in the game to give the Monarchs the 35-31 edge and corner Eriq Lewis, back after missing the last three games with a high ankle sprain, intercepted a pair of passes from Brent Caprio in the Tribes' final two drives in the closing minutes of the game.
After recovering a William & Mary fumble in their own end zone and keeping the Tribe deep in their own territory on the next time down the field, ODU opened up scoring. The Monarchs needed just four plays to cover 58 yards and go up 7-0 at the 4:27 mark. Starting their first scoring drive from their own 42, Taylor Heinicke connected with Larry Pinkard for a five-yard gain and followed by hitting Mayers for a 31-yard reception to the Tribe 11. Angus Harper then ran 11-yards to collect his seventh touchdown of the 2011 campaign to put ODU up 7-0.
William & Mary tied the game up at 7-7 on the ensuing possession to close out first quarter action. Leading rusher Jonathan Grimes, who ended the game day 227 yards on 38 carries, tore downfield for 25 yards to the left corner of the end zone for the first score on the day for the Tribe.
Heinicke, the three-time CAA Rookie of the Week, put the Monarchs back on top running and spinning into the end zone with the second quarter drive start. Making his third rushing touchdown of the season at the 12:15 mark of the second quarter, Heinicke saw the Monarchs use seven plays over 60 yards to take the lead 14-7.
However, just like Old Dominion's first score, the Tribe answered. Grimes punched in his second touchdown of the game with 8:53 remaining in the second quarter.
Both schools blocked field goals to keep the score knotted at 14-14.
The Monarchs made their third blocked field goal of the season as Chris Burnette kept Drake Kuhn's 35-yard attempt from going through the uprights.
Old Dominion had a chance to go ahead at the half with a 57-yard field goal attempt by Jarod Brown. The field goal, which would have been Browns' career mark, was blocked by Quincey Septemeber and the teams went into the intermission tied at 14-14.
The Tribe kicked off scoring in the third quarter. William & Mary took nearly five and half minutes on the drive to go ahead 21-14 for its first lead of the game. D.J. Managas capped the 11-play, 79-yard drive with a four-yard touchdown reception at the back of the end zone.
William & Mary made its way deep into ODU territory to close out the third quarter and continued its possession into the fourth quarter with Grimes pushing his way over the end line for his third touchdown of the season. Tying his career mark, he gave the Tribe a 28-21 advantage with 12:36 left in the game.
The Tribe's lead only lasted one minute and 43 seconds though. The Monarchs quickly got the ball down field in six plays thanks and ended with Angus Harper posting his second touchdown of the day.
However, William & Mary took a 31-28 lead on a 31-yard field goal with 6:44 left.
Harper carried the ball five times accounting for 42 of the Monarchs' following 74 yard drive resulting in the redshirt freshman's third and game-winning touchdown. The ODU charge downfield that gave ODU the 35-31 edge was aiding by a 15-yard reception by Nick Mayers, and Hensley recovering a fumble by the Monarchs inside the red zone.
There was still time on the clock though for William & Mary to use. The Tribe had 2:48 to work with and got to within striking distance at the Monarchs' own 33. However, Tribe quarterback Brent Caprio's pass landed in the hands of Eriq Lewis.
ODU punter Jonathan Plisco made his first appearance of the game after the Monarchs were unable to move the chains. Punting the ball 35 yards, the Tribe still had a chance for the game starting at their own 41 with 1:23 remaining.
The Tribe again got to within striking distance at the ODU 37. Caprio went deep but found ODU's Eriq Lewis yet again to seal the victory for the Monarchs.
The Tribe's loss, which now ties the series at 1-1 between the two schools, drops them to 4-6 overall and 2-5 heading into the final week of regular season play.
The Monarchs meanwhile, after playing 11-games straight, head to their bye week.
Heinicke finished the game completing 30 of his 39 passes for 273 yards in the victory for the Monarchs. Mayers led the receiving corps with 101 yards on nine catches.
The Tribe's Caprio completed 20 of his 28 attempts in the air for 245 yards. Grimes accounted for 227 of William & Mary's 258 yards on the ground, while Mangas led the receivers with 76 yards on six receptions.
Defensively for the Monarchs, linebacker Craig Wilkins became the first Monarch to ever crack the century mark for tackles in a season with his eight stops. Fellow linebacker John Darr, making the start in place of the injured Alex Arain, made a team-leading 10 tackles. Corner Markwell Wilkins and safety Paul Morant also joined Craig Wilkins with eight tackles apiece.
Old Dominion will now wait for the selection committee to make its decision about the Monarchs' first ever playoff berth at 10 a.m. on November 20th on ESPNU.
RECAPPING YEAR THREE - THROUGH THE REGULAR SEASON
Old Dominion, who restarted its football program in 2009 after a 69-year absence, in its three years has compiled an 26-7 overall mark as the best start-up in FCS history. Old Dominion went 9-2 in its inaugural season, 8-3 in 2010, and currently stands at 9-2 this season with victories over Campbell, Georgia State, Hampton, #20 UMass, Rhode Island, Villanova, #9/10 James Madison Richmond, and William & Mary.
WELCOME BACK E-LEW:
After missing three games with a high-ankle sprain, corner Eriq Lewis returned with some pretty impressive plays.
Lewis forced his third fumble of the season during the Tribes' first drive of the game with the William & Mary offense at the Monarchs' own 13. Lewis now has a team-leading three forced fumbles having also recorded forced fumbles in games with Hampton and Delaware.
With his two late interceptions sealing the game for ODU, Lewis brings his total to a team-leading four picks. It is also the first time in school history a Monarch defender has more than one interception in a game. Lewis is third on the list in career interceptions with Devon Simmons having made seven and Craig Wilkins six to-date.
UPDATING THE NUMBERS - POST WILLIAM & MARY:
Carvin Powell registered his second fumble recovery of the season and sixth of his career. Powell also had a fumble recovery against Delaware.
Angus Harper with his seventh touchdown of the year in the Monarchs' first score, his eighth of the 2011 campaign to tied the game at 28-28 with just over 10 minutes remaining in the game, and ninth of the season to score the game-wining touchdown.
Heinicke ran in his third touchdown.
Reid Evans captured his third touchdown of 2011 and 12th of his career.
THE TRIO OF TDs:
Angus Harpers' three touchdowns in Saturday's game against the Tribe is tied for the second best single-game performance. Thomas DeMarco holds the record with his four rushing scores against N.C. Central in 2009. DeMarco also had three touchdowns in games with Virginia Union, VMI, and Georgetown in 2009 as well.
BLOCK THAT KICK:
Monarchs made their eighth block this season and third blocked field goal of the year late in the second quarter against the Tribe. ODU has made a total of 20 blocks in its three-year history. ODU also had blocked field goals in games with James Madison - in which Craig Wilkins blocked the potential game-tying Duke 47-yard field goal attempt, as well as a 48-yard field goal attempt against Delaware blocked by Burnette.
It was Burnette's fourth blocked field goal of his career. In addition to thwarting field goals against the Tribe and Blue Hens this season, Burnette stopped a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Virginia Union and a 32-yard attempt by Presbyterian back in 2009.
Antonio Vaughan, who tied the game at 21-21 with his 27-yard pass to Reid Evans, is no stranger to throwing the football. The News-Herald Male Athlete of the Year at Hertford County High School completed 43 of 69 passes for 857 yards and 14 scores as signal caller before switching to wide receiver at Old Dominion.
Zable Stadium was sold out for Saturday's ODU-William & Mary match-up with 12,259 in attendance to witness the Monarch victory.
Craig Wilkins' eight tackles in Saturday's win over William & Mary give him 101 stops (56 solo, 45 assisted) to become the first Monarch in the programs' history to accumulate 100 or more tackles in a season. Wilkins led the Monarchs with 74 tackles in 2010, while former Monarch Mychael McJunkins led the squad in 2009 with 85 stops. To date, Wilkins has 240 tackles in his three year career.