Monarchs Defeat Norfolk State, 35-18 In NCAA First Round
Nov. 26, 2011
Post-Game Press Conference:
NORFOLK, VA-- Old Dominion University freshman quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for five touchdowns and passed for 269 yards to lead the Monarchs to a 35-18 over crosstown rival Norfolk State in the first round of the NCAA FCS Championships in front of a sold out crowd of 19,818 in Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.
The victory improves Old Dominion to 10-2 overall as they head into the second round. The Monarchs will meet Georgia Southern, the third-seed of the playoffs, in Statesboro, Ga. next Saturday at 1 p.m. on ESPN3. The Eagles were the Southern Conference Champions playing to a 9-2 regular season mark.
Norfolk State, the MEAC Champions who along with Old Dominion were making their first FCS playoff appearance, end the 2011 season at 9-3 overall. The two schools who are just five miles apart will begin a six-year home-and-home series beginning in the 2013 season.
The Spartans struck first on their longest touchdown in school history just one play into the game. Derrick Demps took off for 98-yards on a pass from Chris Walley to put the Monarchs' crosstown rival ahead 7-0 just two minutes into the game.
However, from that point it was all Old Dominion as the Monarchs put together the next fives scores.
Following the Spartan touchdown, the Monarchs' knotted the score at 7-7 on their next possession. A 42-yard pass to Prentice Gill put ODU into Norfolk State territory for the first time in the game and four plays later Taylor Heinicke found Nick Mayers for the first of his two touchdowns to tie the game.
The Monarchs took the lead for good in the latter moments of the opening quarter. A Carvin Powell interception kicked the drive off and after 10-plays and 66 yards, Heinicke connected with Larry Pinkard to give ODU a 14-7 edge with 2:29 in the first quarter.
Eriq Lewis, who leads ODU in interceptions, added to his total to close out the half and the Monarchs went ahead 21-7 on the first play of quarter number two. Heinicke posted his third touchdown pass on a 24-yard throw to Gill, the first of the senior Monarchs two scores.
Midway through the second quarter, the Spartans had a chance to go back onto the scoreboard as Ryan Estep attempted a 37-yard field goal. However the Monarch All-Star Team added another block to its total with Chris Burnette thwarting the attempt, his fourth blocked field goal this season.
Old Dominion wasn't done blocking field goals though. Coming out of the half, Norfolk State's Estep went for a 50-yard attempt on the Spartans' opening drive. However Estep's kick failed to go through the uprights, blocked by ODU's Edmon McClam.
The Monarchs meanwhile put away two more touchdowns on their next two opportunities down field. Heinicke found both Mayers and Gill again and Old Dominion took a commanding 35-7 advantage with just over five minutes remaining in the third quarter.
The Spartans ended their scoring drought on their first drive of the fourth and final quarter with Everett Goldberg connecting on a 48-yard field goal attempt. Norfolk State, on their ensuing possession, added their first touchdown since their first offensive play of the game on a five-yard Victory Hairston reception. Spartan quarterback Chris Walley ran in the two-point conversion, but his squad trailed 35-18 with 3:13 remaining.
Defensively, the Monarchs only allowed the Spartans 43 yards on the ground thanks in part to a team-leading 11 tackles by safety Paul Morant and as a team racking up eight tackles that saw the Spartans lose 55 yards. Linebacker Craig Wilkins added in seven stops and cornerback Markell Wilkins contributed six tackles.
For Norfolk State, Chris Walley finished with 363 yards and a pair of touchdowns, completing 28 of his 43 attemtps. Victory Hairston and Reggie Garrett both lead the receiving unit with 63 yards each. Randy Maynes had seven carries for 35 yards.
Old Dominion was led on the ground by Colby Goodwyn with 14 carries for 41 yards. Mayers finished the game with six catches for 65 yards, Pinkard collected 95 yards on four catches, and Pinkard caught the ball three times for 56 yards.
ADDING TO THE NUMBERS - POST NORFOLK STATE:
Nick Mayers' touchdown sixth and seventh of the season and brought his career total to 14 career touchdown receptions...Larry Pinkard captured his ninth touchdown of the season....Prentice Gill had his fourth and fifth touchdown of the year and now total. 10 for his career.
Carvin Powell captured his third interception and fourth of his career....Eriq Lewis registered his fifth interception, the most INTs by a Monarch in a season...
SCORING AGAINST THE MONARCHS:
Norfolk State's 98-yard touchdown reception was the longest by a Monarch opponent. The previous high came in ODU's loss to Towson as Terrance West had a 54-yard touchdown run for the Tigers.
12TH MONARCH TIME:
The 12th Monarch certainly did their job of being "loud and proud" as the Spartans had 18 penalties call against them, the most of any ODU opponent in history. The previous high was 11 at home against UMass on Oct. 1st in the Monarchs' first CAA win and first win over a ranked opponent, as well as on the road at Fordham and VMI in 2009.
BLOCK THAT KICK:
With a pair of blocked field goals (Chris Burnette and Edmon McClam), the Monarchs are now up to 22 blocks in the last three years and 10 this season, tying for the nation's lead along with North Dakota. Of the Monarchs' 10 blocks this season, five have been field goals.
Chris Burnette blocked his third field goal on the year and fifth of his career. In addition to thwarting field goals against the Tribe and Blue Hens earlier this season, Burnette stopped a 37-yard field-goal attempt by Virginia Union and a 32-yard attempt by Presbyterian back in 2009.
McClam, who holds NCAA Division I record for most blocked PAT's by a single player in a game (FCS or FBS) with three against the Chowan Hawks in the inaugural game in 2009 and is just one blocked PAT shy of tying the FCS record for blocked extra points in a career, blocked his first field goal attempt.
SCORE....AND SCORE AGAIN:
It was the second time this season ODU had a pair of Monarchs with more than one touchdown reception. Against the Spartans in first round action it was Nick Mayers and Larry Pinkard with a pair of touchdown catches from quarterback Taylor Heinicke. The other game was a combo of Thomas DeMarco and Heinicke finding Mayers and Larry Pinkard twice against UMass, ODU's first CAA win and victory over a ranked squad.
SCORE....AND SCORE AGAIN:
It was the second time this season O
YARDS ON THE GROUND:
The 43 yards gained on the ground by the Spartans are the fewest allowed by the Monarchs versus a Division I opponent. The previous low was 50 rushing yards by the Campbell Camels in the 2011 season opener. The all-time low in rushing yardage by a Monarch opponent is 19 - by Chowan, a Division III school ODU faced in it inaugural game in 2009.