Monarchs' Comeback Just Short: Football Edged Out By Fordham 34-29

October 03, 2009
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Oct. 3, 2009

Box Score

BRONX, N.Y. - The upstart Old Dominion football program almost pulled off the comeback again, but fell just short in its 34-29 loss to Fordham at a soggy Jack Coffey Field on Saturday afternoon.

"There's a lot of positives to take out of this game," said head coach Bobby Wilder. "For the third straight game we have played in a close football game. We will grow more from playing in close football games than from blowing somebody out or getting blown out. You find out more about yourself in these games."

The loss drops the Monarchs to 3-2 on the year, while Fordham picked up its first win of the season on their homecoming to move to 1-3 on the season.

"As head coach of a program that's only played five games, that's what I want, I want us to be put to the test," commented Wilder. "We will grow from it. It tests your character and it tests your belief in your system. I'm proud of our kids because they are responding to that test. Its not just about the wins and losses for Old Dominion right, its about building and developing a football program."

Old Dominion trailed 25-7 at the tail end of the third quarter before pulling the come-from-behind for the third straight contest. Nick Mayers (Va. Beach, Va.) caught a 29-yard pass with 5:47 left in the quarter, the Monarchs' first points since Mayers first touchdown catch in the early moments of the game, to head into the fourth quarter trailing 25-14.

The Monarchs dodged a bullet as Fordham's Kevin Heinowitz's field goal attempt went right on the second drive of the final quarter, but the Monarchs were unable to move further than their own 40 when they returned to the field on offense. Kicker Jonathan Plisco (Newport News, Va.) punted the ball to the Fordham backfield where the Rams' Asa Lucas fumbled the ball. As the ball skipped further and further back, ODU's Marquis Johnson (San Diego, Calif.) recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchdown. The Monarchs then completed the two-point conversion with DeMarco once again hitting Mayers for the third time in the game and cut the Monarch deficit to a field goal, 25-22, with 10:45 remaining in the game.

Although Fordham was able to hit a field goal on the next drive, it was Old Dominion going the distance when they got the ball back. As the rain began to ease up, the Monarchs used 12 plays to cover 93 yards to regain the lead for the first time since midway through the second half. Starting the comeback at their own seven yard line, the Monarchs reached first down six times on the drive, including a dash by DeMarco on third and 14. Carlos Davis (Ft. Washington, Md.) then caught a 17-yard pass from DeMarco and Drew Hareza (McDonald, Md.) upped his mark to 21-of-21 on PATs to give Old Dominion the 29-28 lead with 3:06 remaining.

The lead, unfortunately, only lasted for a minute. The Rams quickly went down field on the ensuing drive, Fordham quarterback John Skelton completed a 47-yard pass and Xavier Martin used three straight carries in ODU territory to make his way in for a touchdown. Fordham, who went for the two-point conversion, failed, but the Rams had reclaimed the lead with 1:50 left at 34-29.

Memories of Jacksonville and the Monarch comeback with less than a minute remaining returned. Old Dominion got to the Fordham 45, but a fumble gave possession back to the Rams with 51 seconds remaining to hold for the win.

Mayers finished the day with 103 yards on six catches, including his two touchdowns. Mario Crawford (Detroit, Mich.) led the ground attack with six carries netting 80 yards.

The Rams totaled 687 yards of total offense led by Martin's 187 yards on 25 carries. Stephen Skelton was the target of 10 of his brother's passes to total 138 receiving yards, closely followed by David Moore's 132 yards on six passes.

DeMarco completed 18 of his 40 passes to go a season-high 240 yards. NFL prospect John Skelton made 28 of his 42 attempts for 402 yards in the air.

The football Monarchs return home for their next two games. Game one of the homestand is Presbyterian on October 10th at 6:00 p.m.


Edmon McClam blocked his fifth PAT of the season. The block became a new FCS record for blocked PATs in a season replacing the previous mark of four set by both Tim Hauck of Montana in 1988 and Ed Groszewski of Cornell in 1991. The record for blocked PATs in a career is seven held by the Grizzlies' Hauck. McClam also hold the FCS record for blocked PATs in a game having thwarted three Chowan extra point attempts in the season opener back on September 5th.

Mychael McJunkins (Kanas City, Kan.) recovered a fumble that led to a Monarch touchdown by Nick Mayers in the third quarter. A.T. Aoeula (Pago, Pago, American Samoa) forced a fumble that was recovered by T.J. Cowart later in the quarter that almost lead to another score when the Monarchs returned to the field on offense. Unfortunately, the ball slipped out of the hands of intended receiver Reid Evans, who looked like he was off and running to cross the endline. Marquis Johnson posted the third fumble recovery of the day and the second leading to a touchdown as he recovered in the endzone for the score. Ten different members of the ODU defense have posted fumble recoveries this sason.

Nick Mayers became the first Monarch to have more than one touchdown reception in a game this season.

Mario Crawford's 52-yard run, one of his six carries on the afternoon, is ODU's longest rush of the season.