FIRST ROUND: Old Dominion vs. Norfolk State

November 22, 2011
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

Nov. 22, 2011


Game Twelve:
Saturday, November 26, 2011 - 1:30 (EST)
Foreman Field at S.B. Stadium - Norfolk, Va.
#10/10 Old Dominion Monarchs (9-2, 6-2 CAA) vs.
#19/22 Norfolk State Spartans (9-2, 7-1 MEAC)

INTERNET:  ESPN3 (Jim Barber - Play-by-Play; Jay Walker - Color Analyst) 

Radio: ESPN RADIO - 94.1 FM  (Ted Alexander - Play-by-Play; Andy Mashaw - Color Analyst; Demetrious Means - Sideline)

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CAA Weekly Teleconference Audio: Available at the CAA Press Box at

MEAC Weekly Teleconference Audio:  Available at

Bobby Wilder Post Selection Show Press Conference Video: Available on Monarch Media

Bobby Wilder Post Selection Show Video: Available on Monarch Media

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•  Old Dominion enters Saturday's game after racking up a 9-2 overall record and 6-2 mark in CAA action.  The Monarchs, who had a bye-week last week, enter the playoffs on a four-game win streak.   

•  The Monarchs will be a Top Ten program for the second straight week.  Old Dominion is No. 10 in The Sports Network/ poll for the second consecutive week and fell back a spot to No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll despite a bye week.

•  Old Dominion restarted its football program in 2009 after a 69-year absence and 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.

•  After playing two years as an independent in the FCS, the Monarchs joined the CAA, considered by many to be the best FCS conference in the nation.   After no selection on the preseason all-conference team and picked to finish 10th in the preseason poll, Old Dominion tied for second in league play with a 6-2 CAA record and had 11 Monarchs honored on All-CAA teams announced on Monday highlighted by CAA Defensive Player of the Year Ronnie Cameron.

•  Five of the CAA's 11 programs are in the post-season, the most of any conference - James Madison will play Eastern Kentucky in other first round action, while New Hampshire, Maine, and Towson all received byes.  The Wildcats face Montan State, Towson hosts Lehigh, and Maine is on the road at Appalachian State in second round action.

•  Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium continues to be the place to be in Hampton Roads on Saturdays.  The Monarchs' 20 home games, all have been sellouts.  While the last two season's have averaged 19,782, additional seating has brought Foreman Field's capacity to 19,818.  ODU is currently sixth in average attendance through Week 12. 

•  As a team through Week 12, the Monarchs are ranked in the Top 20 nationally in Net Punting (9th - 37.80), Scoring Offense (9th - 35.82), Sacks (10th - 3.09), Total Offense (16th - 433.18), and Turnover Margin (16th - .91)

•  Individually in the national stats this season Jonathan Plisco ranks second in Punting (46.06), just .62 yards behind Davie Harrington of Idaho State.  Cornerback Eriq Lewis is 19th in Interceptions (.44).  Kicker Jarod Brown is tied for 10th in Field Goals (127), and Aaron Evans comes in at 22nd in Kickoff Returns (25.57)

VOTE FOR WILDER:  There are numerous post-season coaches' awards, but only a few that are determined by fans. For the Liberty Mutual Coach of the Year Award, winning is only part of the equation. Created in 2006, the award recognizes one college football coach from each NCAA division (I-FBS, I-FCS, II and III), rewarding them for their sportsmanship, integrity, responsibility and excellence. Winners will receive $50,000 to donate to a charity of their choice, a $20,000 grant to each school's alumni association and the Coach of the Year trophy. Go to Bobby Wilder, the head coach of the greatest startup program in FCS history. 

All-Time Vs. Norfolk State:  First Meeting

FIVE MILE RIVALS:  A rivalry that was to begin in 2013 will begin a little earlier than planned.  The two schools were slated to meet for the first time in 2013 when ODU travels to Norfolk State on Sept. 14, followed by the return visit of NSU on Sept. 13 at ODU. The contract extension adds four additional games to the series, beginning on Sept. 12, 2015 with a game at Norfolk State, and then home and home through 2018. The ODU-NSU series is as follows:

Sept. 14, 2013 - at Norfolk State 

Sept. 13, 2014 - at ODU 

Sept. 12, 2015 - at Norfolk State

Sept. 10, 2016 - at ODU 

Sept. 9, 2017 - at Norfolk State

Sept. 8, 2018 - at ODU 

A FIRST FOR ALL: Crosstown rivals Norfolk State are also making their first FCS post-season appearance.  While the Monarchs earn one of 10 at-large berths, the Spartans were one of ten automatic bids to the playoffs as the MEAC champions.  

THE "757": The bulk of both teams rosters comprise members of the Hampton Roads community, an area long known for a hotbed of college football talent.  The Spartans boast 31 student-athletes from the area, while the Monarchs have 40 from the Norfolk, Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, and Hampton communities.

COMMON GROUND: Both being in the city of Norfolk and the fact that each team didn't have a bye week until the final week of the regular season isn't the only thing these two schools have in common.  Both schools took on Hampton in the regular season.

The Spartans battled Hampton in Week Seven in the "Battle of the Bay" defeating the Pirates, 34-24 in MEAC conference action behind quarterback Chris Walley's 265 yards and three touchdowns and running back Randy Maynes 14-yard run for the game-clinching touchdown with 7:43 left in the game.  For the Monarchs it was 45-42 Week Three win as Larry Pinkard returned a blocked punt five yards and Thomas DeMarco ran for two touchdowns in the last seven minutes.

RISING UP THE RANKS:  It took the ODU Football Monarchs until year three and 27 games to receive its first Top 25 ranking on October 3, 2011 coming in at No. 21 in The Sports Network Poll.  Looking at other recent start-up programs, it took Coastal Carolina 32 games to achieve a national ranking when they came in at No. 24 in The Sports Network Poll in their third year on Nov. 8, 2005.  That season the Chanticleers finished 9-2 and were the Big South co-champions.  

WELCOME TO THE TOP 25: When the ODU Football Monarchs take the field on Saturday vs.Norfolk State, it will be as a nationally-ranked team in both The Sports Network/ and FCS Coaches Polls for the seventh consecutive week and as a member of the Top Ten for the second straight week. 


Sports Network:     Coaches:
Week One:      RV      NR    
Week Two: RV NR
Week Three: RV NR
Week Four: RV RV
Week Five: RV RV
Week Six: 21 RV
Week Seven: 18 22
Week Eight: 21 22
Week Nine: 15 16
Week Ten: 12 12
Week Eleven: 11 11
Week Twelve: 10 9
Week Thirteen 10 10

In another first for the ODU Football program, the Monarchs were ranked in the Top 25 for the first time in school history coming in at No. 21 eight weeks ago in The Sports Network/ FCS Top-25 College Football Poll following a 48-33 win over then-#20 UMass, the Monarchs first ever Top 25 victory.  Following ODU's 31-23 victory over Rhode Island the next weekend, ODU made its FCS Coaches Poll debut during week seven coming in at No. 22.  ODU steadily moved up the ranks until it cracked the Top Ten at the conclusion of the season with a 35-31 win at nearby William & Mary to end the regular season on a four-game win streak and a 9-2 overall and a 6-2 record in its inaugural season of CAA play. 

WHAT DOES THE CRYSTAL BALL HAVE IN STORE FOR THE WINNER?:  The winner of the Old Dominion-Norfolk State first round game will travel to face Georgia Southern in Statesboro, Georgia in the second round to be held on Saturday, Dec. 3. Winners of the Southern Conference title, the Eagles are the No. 3 national seed and were one of 12 teams to receive first-round byes.


Old Dominion is just one of a handful of programs that have brought football to their campuses the last few years.  Here are some recent start-up programs:

School: Conference: Year Starting:
Georgia State CAA 2010 (enters CAA in 2011)
Lamar Southland 2010
South Alabama       FCS - Independent     2010
FBS - Sun Belt      2014
UT-San Antonio FCS - Independent 2011
FBS - Sunbelt 2014
Charlotte FCS - TBA 2013
Mercer Pioneer 2013
Stetson Pioneer 2013

START-UP SUCCESS:  Here is a look at schools that have started football programs over the last few years:

School: Year Started: First Season Record:
South Alabama           2010 10-0*
Old Dominion 2009 9-2
Robert Morris 1994 7-1-1
Coastal Carolina 2003 6-5
Georgia State 2010 6-5
FIU 1997 5-6
South Florida 2001 4-6
UT-San Antonio 2011 4-6
Lamar 2010 5-6
Florida Atlantic 2001 4-6
Jacksonville 1998 4-5
Bryant 1999 3-6
Campbell 2008 1-10

(* - Six games against non-Division I opponents)


School: Second Year: Second Season Record:
Coastal Carolina          2004 10-1
Old Dominion 2010 8-3
South Florida 1998 8-3
Robert Morris 1995 6-4
Bryant 2000 5-5
Campbell 2009 3-8
Georgia State 2011 3-8
Jacksonville 1999 3-6
Florida Atlantic 2002 2-9
FIU 2003 2-10


School: Third Year: Third Season Record:
Old Dominion  2011 9-2 (PLAYOFFS)
Coastal Carolina         2005 9-2
South Florida 1999 7-4
Robert Morris 1996 9-2
Bryant 2001 7-2
Bryant 2001 7-2
Campbell 2010 3-8
Jacksonville 2000 3-8
Florida Atlantic 2003 11-3
FIU 2004 3-7

START-UPS IN THE POST-SEASON:  How have recent start-ups fared in the post-season.  The bench mark of the FCS has been Coastal Carolina, which made its first playoff appearance in year number four falling 42-28 to Appalachian State in the first round of the FCS playoffs in 2006.  Robert Morris, who started their program in 2001 played for nine seasons before winning the inaugural NEC title in 2010 to head to the post-season.  The Colonials fell to North Dakota State, 43-17 in the first round last season.

Other recent start-ups have gone from the FCS (or I-AA level) to FBC status and reached bowl games.  Florida Atlantic, who played at the FCS level from 2003-2006, went to the New Orleans Bowl in its second season of FBS status where they defeated Memphis, 44-27.  FIU, who also started at FCS status when they began their program in 2004, reached the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl last season in their fifth year as an FBC school where won against Toledo, 34-32. 

EDDIE ROBINSON AWARD FINALIST LIST:  Old Dominion head coach Bobby Wilder is among the 20 finalists announced Monday for the 25th Eddie Robinson Award, which honors the national coach of the year in the Football Championship Subdivision.

The winner of the Robinson Award, presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by, will be announced at the national awards banquet on Friday, Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas - the night before the national championship game.  A panel of over 150 sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters, writers and other dignitaries will select the Robinson Award winner.

JERRY RICE WATCH LIST:  True freshman quarterback Taylor Heinicke was added to the Jerry Rice Watch list prior to the Moanrchs' kick with Richmond in week ten.

The Rice Award, presented by The Sports Network and sponsored by, will honor the outstanding freshman in the Football Championship Subdivision. The legendary Rice, who played in the FCS (then Division I-AA) at Mississippi Valley State, will present the award at the national awards banquet on Jan. 6 in Frisco, Texas.  The new award allows Rice to join three other football legends whose names adorn the top individual awards in the FCS: the Walter Payton (FCS outstanding player) - of which quarterback Thomas DeMarco is a watch list honoree, Eddie Robinson (FCS coach of the year) awards, and the Buck Buchanan Award (FCS outstanding defensive player). 

Since taking over as the Monarchs' signal caller at halftime of week five against UMass, Heinicke  has passed for 1497 yards completing 165 of his 233 attempts with just one interception (Towson).  He has earned CAA Rookie of the Week three times this season and was named Third Team All-CAA.

Cornerback Eriq Lewis was also a member of the Jerry Rice Watch List earlier in the season being among the first freshman named to the awards' first ever initial list of potential Freshmen of the Year.  Lewis missed three games with a high ankle sprain, but recently returned in the Monarchs' regular season finale with William & Mary to earn ODU's first ever CAA Defensive Player of the Week honoros as his two pivotal interceptions during the Tribe's final two drives helped seal a 35-31 victory for the Football Monarchs.

WELCOME TO THE CAA:  Entering its inaugural season in the CAA, the ODU Football Monarchs were picked 10th in the conference's Preseason Poll announced at CAA Football Media Day at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland and no Monarchs were named to an preseason all-conference team.


1.  William and Mary (12) 

2.  James Madison (4)

3.  Delaware (2) 

4.  New Hampshire (2)

5.  Massachusetts (1)

6.  Richmond

7.  Villanova

8.  Rhode Island (1) 

9.  Maine

10.  Old Dominion

11.  Towson

FAST FOWARDING FROM CAA MEDIA DAY: Who believes those preseason predictions anyway?  The Football Monarchs predicted to finish 10th in the league in the preseason poll finished in a tie for second in the league.  And after having no Monarchs named to the preseason all-conference teams, Old Dominion had 11 Monarchs named All-Conference highlighted by CAA Defensive Player of the Year Ronnie Cameron.

The Monarchs had four named First Team All-CAA - wide receiver Nick Mayers, defensive lineman Ronnie Cameron, linebacker Craig Wilkins, and punter Jonathan Plisco, while cornerback Eriq Lewis was named Second Team All-CAA. Quarterback Taylor Heinicke, wide receiver/punt returner Reid Evans, offensive lineman Jermey Hensley, kicker Jarod Brown, and defensive lineman Chris Burnette were among the five Monarchs named to the CAA's Third Team.

2011 CAA FOOTBALL FINAL STANDINGS (Conference Record, Overall Record)

1. Towson (7-1, 9-2)

2t. Old Dominion (6-2, 9-2)

2t. Maine (6-2, 8-3)

2t. New Hampshire (6-2, 8-3)

5t. Delaware (5-3, 7-4)

5t.. JMU (5-3 7-4)

7. William & Mary (3-5, 5-6)

8. Rhode Island (2-6, 3-8)

9. Villanova (1-7, 2-9)

10. Massachusetts (0-0, 5-6)

11. Richmond (0-8, 3-8)

SELLOUT:  The Monarchs, who have sold out all 20 home games in three seasons of actions, are a hot ticket even on the road.  Zable Stadium, home of the William & Mary Tribe, was sold out for the week 11 ODU-William & Mary match-up with 12,259 in attendance to witness the Monarch win.

PLAYING THE RANKED TEAMS:  ODU is 2-1 this season against the Top 25 and 2-4 all-time against opponents appearing in the polls.  The Monarchs captured their first victory over the TopTen in week nine's 23-20 win over then #9/10 James Madison.

#12/13 William & Mary (L, 17-21) on September 18th, 2010 

#14/16 Cal Poly (L, 37-50) on October 9th, 2010 

#7/6 Delaware (L, 17-27) on September 24, 2011  

#20 Minutemen (W, 48-33) on October 2, 2011

#17/23 Towson (L, 35-39) on October 15, 2011

#9/10 James Madison (W, 23-20) on October 29, 2011

WAITING FOR STATS APPEARANCE:  True freshman Taylor Heinicke's name does not appear in the conference or national stats due to the fact he had not played in the minimum 75% of games played to qualify.  Appearing following the half of the Week Five game with UMass, Heinicke has appeared in seven of ODU's 11 games, resulting in him appearing in only 64% of the Monarchs contests played. 

However, if his name did appear....His 252.9 passing yards per game would have ranked him second in the CAA and 19th nationally, his 155.0 pass efficiency rating would lead the conference and place him sixth nationally, and his 290.4 yards of total offense per contest would put his name second in the CAA and 10th nationally. 

BLOCK THAT KICK:  Special teams now has 20 blocks to its credit in the last three seasons, including eight in the 2011 season, which according to an unofficial poll of FCS schools are tied for the second most blocks by a school this season.  

2011 FCS LEADERS (total blocked kicks)

North Dakota 10 (6 FGs, 4 PATs)

Citadel:  9 (9 Punts)

Portland State: 9 (2 FG, 7 Punts)

Drake:  8 (3 FG, 2 PAT, 3 Punts)

Old Dominion:  8 (3 FG, 5 Punts)

Murray State: 7 (1 FG, 3 PAT, 3 Punts)

Weber State: 7 (7 punts)

Dartmouth:  6 (2 FGs, 2 PAT, 2 Punts)

Nicholls State:  6 (2 FGs, 4 PATs)

Norfolk State:  6 (2 punts, 4 FGs)

Most recently, it was Chris Burnette blocking ODU's third field goal of the year keeping a 35-yard William & Mary attempt going through the uprights on the Tribe's final drive of the second quarter with the score knotted at 14-14.   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.

In week 10, Jakwail Bailey blocked his second punt of the 2011 season against Richmond.

In week nine, Craig Wilkins blocked a 47-yard James Madison field goal attempt in last moments of ODU's 23-20 win over the Dukes leading the Monarchs to their first Top 10 victory in school history.

In week five, Jakwail Bailey blocked a UMass punt that results in a safety, giving the Monarchs a 26-25 lead they would not relinquish late in the third quarter.  For his efforts, Bailey was named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week.  

The Monarchs also blocked a 48-yard Delaware field goal attempt, recording a block for its third consecutive contest. 

In week three's game with Hampton true freshman James Faircloth blocked a Pirate punt resulting in Larry Pinkard returning the ball five-yards for a touchdown to open up the fourth quarter in the 45-42 victory.  It was the third time in the two-game series with the Pirates that ODU has blocked a punt attempted by Hampton.

In week two's 40-17 win at Georgia State, Alex Arain blocked his second career punt that was picked up by Blair Roberts and returned for a touchdown.  Additionally, Paul Morant blocked a punt in the victory. 

HOME/AWAY:  Old Dominion is currently 15-5 all-time and 5-1 this season at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium following its 42-28 win over Richmond in week 10.  The Monarchs captured back-to-back hoome wins following a 39-35 set back to Towson, which had snapped a six-game home game win streak for ODU that had dated back to Oct. 9th, 2010  in a 50-37 setback to Cal Poly.  

In their last road outing, a 35-31 victory over William & Mary, ODU improved to 4-1 this season and 11-2 all-time on the road.  ODU's last road loss was a  a 27-17 setback at #6/7 Delaware on Sept. 24 of this season after having won seven straight away from the friendly confines of Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium. Prior to the Blue Hen loss, the Monarchs last loss on the road was a 34-29 setback at Fordham on Oct. 3, 2009. 

MORE PEOPLE WATCH THE MONARCHS WIN:  A new attendance mark was set in the Monarchs' home opener against Campbell in week one thanks to new seats in the loge level of the Ainslie Game Day Building. 19,818 people were in attendance to witness the Monarchs' 41-14 victory over the Camels.

SOLD OUT:  The Old Dominion University football program begins its third season of competition and its first as an official member of the Colonial Athletic Association this fall, and for the third consecutive year the Monarchs have sold through their season ticket allocations at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.

Since starting football in 2009, Old Dominion University has sold out of all available season tickets, setting national attendance records for start-up Football Championship Subdivision programs. The Monarchs ranked fourth in both accumulated and average attendance in 2010 and a total of 395,856 fans have entered through the turnstiles in the 20-games played at Foreman Field the last three seasons.

ODU fans purchased more than 14,000 season tickets for the 2011 season, with 400 of those tickets sold to 140 members of the football waiting list. The waiting list, created in 2009, currently has 1,710 members who are the first group contacted when season tickets become available.

MEETING OF NATIONAL CHAMPS:  The ODU Football Monarchs have had some experience with playoff teams this season.  The Monarch met three straight national champions these past few weeks.  In week eight, ODU faced Villanova - winners of the 2009 FCS National Champioship.  Week nine it was James Madison - winners of the 2004 FCS National Championship. In week 10, it was Richmond, who won the title in 2008.

For More Information On ODU Football, Check Out Complete Game Notes