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Football Makes It Two-In-Row With 49-17 Victory Over Virginia Union

Courtesy: ODU Athletics
         
Release: September 12, 2009
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Sept. 12, 2009

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NORFOLK, Va. -- Redshirt sophomore Thomas DeMarco (Palm Desert, Calif.) ran the ball into the Monarch endzone three times along with throwing for 198 yards and two touchdowns to help lead the Old Dominion football to its second victory of the season, a 49-17 victory over Virginia Union.

The Monarchs, who improve to 2-0 on the season, raced out to a 14-0 first quarter lead with DeMarco running in each of the scores. The Panthers meanwhile fall to 1-2 overall.

On the third play of the game and less than a minute after the opening whistle, Virginia Union quarterback Noel Alexander fumbled the ball after being sacked eight yards behind the line of scrimmage. Junior A.T. Aoelua (Pago, Pago, American Samoa) picked up the ball on the Panthers' 26-yard line to begin ODU's first scoring drive.

Six plays later, the Monarchs were in the end zone. DeMarco capped a six-play drive on third and goal with two-yard rush for the quick 7-0 ODU lead.

Then on the kickoff, ODU pulled off the onsides kick and regained possession leading to another Monarch touchdown. Working their way from the ODU 44-yard line, the Monarchs found themselves scoring another touchdown and going up 14-0 with 9:11 remaining in the opening quarter.

Starting the second quarter, DeMarco captured his first touchdown from the air. Mere seconds in, DeMarco connected with Dorian Jackson (Colonial Heights, Va.) for 14-yard pass for the 21-0 lead.

The ensuing play, however, saw Virginia Union light up the scoreboard. Cheston Hickman had a 39-yard pass to Queen Wesley to get inside the red zone and two plays later Alexandre Stevens had a three-yard run to make it 21-7.

Then on the following Monarch possession, redshirt freshman Bobby Cooper (Davidsonville, Md.) had his pass incepted by the Panthers' Zach Hope and returned 22 yards to the ODU five. The defense held as T.J. Cowart (Va. Beach, Va.) and Craig Wilkins (Washington, D.C.) helped keep Virginia Union to only one yard on the next two plays and a Cheston Hickman incomplete pass forced the Panthers to kick a field goal as they trailed 21-10 at the 10:33 mark.

Wilkins had another huge play for the Monarchs midway through the second half. The freshman captain caught a Hickman pass for a 32-yard return getting the Monarchs to the Panther third-yard line. DeMarco then tossed the ball into the end zone looking at Michael E. Williams (Manassas, Va.) for the reception. Williams reached up for the ball and tipped it with his hands, but junior tight end Matt Carrillo (La Miranda, Calif.) was able grab a hold of the ball and keep control for ODU's fourth touchdown of the night.

ODU made it 35-10 heading into the half. After DeMarco hit Jackson twice for a total of 39-yards, running back Mario Crawford (Detriot, Mich.) took off for a 41-yard dash for the first of his two touchdowns in the game.

DeMarco scored the Monarchs' lone touchdown of the third quarter with his third rushing tally as he crossed the line with his back pushing against a pile of Panther defenders. Virginia Union countered on the next drive going 69-yards down field on the drive, including an 11-yard pass to Jos Jean-Pierre for the Panther score.

Ahead, 42-17 entering the final quarter, the Monarchs kept the Panthers off the scoreboard and added in their seventh and final touchdown of the night. Cooper helped the Monarchs get into Panther territory with a 36-yard pass to Carlos Davis (Ft. Washington, Md.). As the Monarchs inched closer and closer, running back Mario Crawford (Detriot, Mich.) finished out the drive scoring on fourth and goal.

Crawford finished the night 71 yards on 10 carries, while in the air Reid Evans (Hampton, Va.) made five catches for 57 yards. Jackson recorded 79 yards worth of receptions on four catches.

Defensively, Wilkins finished the game with 10 tackles, including a nine-yard sack, along with a pair of pass break-ups and his 32-yard interception. Right behind Wilkins on the stat sheet was Mychael McJunkins (Kansas City, Kan.) with eight stops, including five solo tackles.

The Monarchs return to action next Saturday. Old Dominion faces its first road test at Jacksonsville on September 19th. Kick-off is slated for 1:00 p.m.

MONARCH MOMENTS:

• Virginia Union, which was fresh off a 45-0 blanking off Central State and gave up only 19 points to East Stroudsburg, gave up the most points since 2007.

• Virginia Union entered Saturday's contest having averaged 156 yards on the ground. Tonight the Monarchs limited the Panthers to just 66 yards.

• Punter Jonthan Plisco, who entered tonight's game with a nation-leading 51.25 yards per kick, averaged 41.3 tonight. All three of his punts, including his long of 52, went inside the Virginia Union 20.

• Kicker Drew Hareza went 7-for-7 on all his PAT attempts. He did however miss his lone field goal attempt, a 42-yarder.

• The Monarch defense had six tackles for loss pushing back Virginia Union for a total of 33 yards.

• Media Hype: Follow all of Saturday's press coverage on twitter.

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