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Football Pushes Past Gardner-Webb, 14-7

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: October 02, 2010
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Oct. 2, 2010

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NORFOLK, Va. - Thomas DeMarco scored the game-winning touchdown from five yards out late in the fourth quarter to give Old Dominion University football a 14-7 win Saturday night.

After the ODU stopped the Bulldogs deep in their own territory, Monty Smalley returned the punt 32 yards to the Bulldogs' 20, it took the Monarchs just three plays for DeMarco to his paydirt.

After both teams scored touchdowns in the opening quarter, it was a battle of field position, with ODU's punter Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) coming up big with a 47.2 yard average, and putting five punts inside the 20.

The ODU Football Monarchs garnered their first home victory with a 14-7 win over Gardner-Webb, after suffering losses to Jacksonville and nationally ranked William & Mary in their first two appearances at Foreman Field. They improve to 3-2 overall.

The injury plagued Gardner-Webb Bulldogs dropped their third-straight after their stunning victory over Akron. The loss dropped the Bulldogs to 2-3 on the year.

It was three and out for Gardner-Webb on the game's first possession and the next drive saw the Monarchs score on its opening drive for the third time this season. ODU covered 73 yards in nine plays ending with Mario Crawford (Detroit, Mich.) claiming his first touchdown of the year, Crawford's touchdown run followed by Jarod Brown's point after (Yorktown, Va.) gave the Monarchs the early 7-0 edge with just 10:56 left in the opening quarter.

The Monarchs' on-side kick, recovered by Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.), looked to continue the momentum for ODU. Unfortunately, Gardner-Webb regained possession on the next Monarch snap as Cedric McGowan managed to intercept Thomas DeMarco's (Palm Desert, Calif.) first pass of the drive.

Although the Runnin' Bulldogs got to within nine yards of a touchdown, on third and goal T.J. Cowart (Va. Beach, Va.) knocked down a pass intended for Jamal Patmon in the end zone, setting Gardner-Webb up for a 27-yard field goal attempt. Deron Mayo (Hampton, Va.) swooped in and blocked the field goal attempt by the Bulldogs' Ryan Gates with Paul Morant (Hampton, Va.) returning the kick 11 yards to the 21.

On the next Gardner-Webb drive, the Bulldogs tied the score up at 7-7 with 3:00 left in the first quarter.

After punter Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) booted the ball to 45 yards to the Monarchs' 45, the Bulldogs' James Perry III returned the ball 33 yards to flip the field for Gardner-Webb. Just four plays and 36 yards later, Richard Jules found the gap in the line for a nine-yard touchdown to help tie the game.

It wasn't until late in the fourth quarter that Monarchs managed to break the 7-7 stalemate for the win.

Monty Smalley's (Richmond, Va.) 32-yard punt return set up the Monarchs for their touchdown run taking ODU down the Bulldogs' 20 to start the drive. The Monarchs would need just three more plays after that.

Prentice Gill (Los Angles, Calif.) had another big run, tearing downfield for 13 yards putting the Monarchs at first and goal from the seven. A pair of carries by DeMarco would get the Monarchs over the end line. A five-yard run by DeMarco, followed by Brown's point-after gave the 14-7 final margin.

DeMarco, whose game-winning touchdown was his 20th rushing score, finished the game connecting on 15 of his 30 attempts in the air, gaining 130 yards.

On the ground, Crawford netted 47 yards on 14 carries, while DeMarco registered 43 yards rushing. The Bulldogs put the ball into the hands of Patrick Hall 23 times during the course of the night, ending with 53 yards.

Gill once again led the receiving corps with 76 yards on six receptions.

Morant and linebacker J.J. Williams led a defense, which held the Bulldogs to 3 of 9 on third-down conversions and 24 yards of total offense in the second half. Both ended with a game-high 10 tackles.

Total, the ODU defense collected five sacks by six different Monarchs for 38 yards and 12 tackles for 49 negative yards for Gardner-Webb.

The ODU Football Monarchs, in the midst of a three-game home stand, will take on Cal-Poly on Saturday, October 9th at 6 p.m. at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. The Mustangs will be the second nationally ranked team the Monarchs will face this season. Cal-Poly entered the weekend ranked 15th in the Sports Network Poll and 14th in the FCS Coach's Poll.

MONARCH MOMENTS:

OPENING WITH A BANG:

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 its opening drive in three of its games this season. Mario Crawford's four-yard rush over the end line makes it the it the tenth time in the 16 game history of the program the Monarchs have done so. Additionally, it was the earliest the Monarchs have scored this season.

BLOCK THAT KICK:
Special teams now has nine blocks to its credit. Deron Mayo had a blocked field goal during the first quarter to preserve ODU's 7-0 lead against the Runnin' Bulldogs. Alex Arain blocked a punt last weekend at Monmouth, while Chris Burnette has two blocked PATs and Edmon McClam holds an FCS record with five blocked PATs.

FIRST AND HOPEFULLY NOT LAST:
Mario Crawford's touchdown was his first of 2010 and the seventh rushing touchdown of his career. He is second on the career list behind Thomas DeMarco's 20.

NUMBERS ON THE RISE:
Thomas DeMarco's game-winning touchdown was his 20th touchdown as a Monarch and team-leading third of the season.

BATTED DOWN:
T.J Cowart had three pass break-ups tonight, bringing his career total to 10. He now tops the career pass break-up list.

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