GAME SEVEN: Homecoming - #18/22 Old Dominion vs. #17/23 Towson
By ODU Athletics
Oct. 12, 2011
Game Seven - HOMECOMING - WHITE OUT:
Saturday, October 15, 2011 - 3:30 p.m. (EST)
Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium - Norfolk, Va.
#18/22 Old Dominion Monarchs (5-1, 2-1 CAA) vs.
#17/23 Towson Tigers (4-1, 2-0 CAA)
Radio: ESPN RADIO - 94.1 FM
(Ted Alexander - Play-by-Play; Andy Mashaw - Color Analyst; Demetrious Means - Sideline)
Video: ODUSports.com (subscription required)
CAA Weekly Teleconference Audio: Available on Monarch Media
THE QUICK HITS
Old Dominion enters Saturday's game having moved up three spots in The Sports Network/FatHead.Com Top 25 Poll to No. 18, while the Monarchs made their FCS Coaches Poll debut this week at No. 22.
The Monarchs picked up their first road CAA win and first win as a nationally-ranked program last week at Rhode Island with a 31-23 victory. ODU's first CAA win and first victory over a nationally ranked opponent in week five's 48-33 win over then-#20 UMass.
Old Dominion restarted its football program in 2009 after a 69-year absence and in its three years has compiled an 22-6 overall mark as the best start-up in FCS history.
Old Dominion went 9-2 in its inauguaral season, 8-3 in 2010, and currently stands at 5-1 this season with victories over Campbell, Georgia State, Hampton, #20 UMass, and Rhode Island.
After playing two years as an independent in the FCS, the Monarchs join the CAA, considered by many to be the best FCS conference in the nation, and holds a 2-1 mark in the league. Seven of the CAA's 11 programs were ranked in the national preseason polls and eight are ranked this week - Delaware, New Hampshire, James Madison, Richmond, Towson, Old Dominion, and Maine.
With week six's 31-23 win at Rhode Island, the Monarchs improved to 5-1 on the season, 2-1 in the CAA, 2-1 away from the friendly confines of Foreman Field this season and 9-2 all-time in road games.
Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium continues to be the place to be in Hampton Roads on Saturdays. The Monarchs' 18 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 six.
As a team through week six, the Monarchs are ranked in the Top 20 nationally in Scoring Offense (6th - 37.00), Rushing Defense (14th - 96.33), Net Punting (14th - 38.17), and Sacks (15th - 3.17).
All-Time Vs. Towson: First Meeting
Towson, who finished last season at 1-10 and 0-8 in conference having lost their final nine games of the 2010 campaign are rolling in 2011. Tied a top the CAA standings with Maine and New Hampshire at 2-0 conference records, the Tigers are off to their best start since the 2006 season when they kicked off the season at 4-1.
WELCOME TO THE COMMONWEALTH:
All five of Towson's games to-date have been played in the state of Maryland. The Tigers have gone 4-0 at home including wins over Villanova and Richmond. Their only other away game this season and only loss of the season came in College Park with a 28-3 loss to Maryland.
Saturday's match-up will pit one of the top rushing offenses in the conference and nation against one of the top rushing defenses in the conference and nation. The Tigers enter Saturday 11th nationally and second in the CAA behind James Madison averaging 227.60 yards per game. They will be up against an ODU squad that is currently allowing opponents just 96.33 yards rushing per contest putting the Monarchs 14th nationally in the category and second in the league.
LAST TIME OUT FOR THE TIGERS:
It wasn't until the final play that last weekend's Towson-Richmond contest was decided as Tiger sophomore D.J. Soven kicked a game-winning 27-yard field goal as time expired, lifting Towson to a 31-28 CAA victory over the Spiders. Led by rookie running back Terrance West, who ran for a career high 128 yards, the Tigers reached their own 49-yard line on their last drive. On third down-and-12, sophomore quarterback Grant Enders rolled to his right and completed a 21-yard pass to sophomore Leon Kinnard, giving the Tigers a first down at the Spiders' 30-yard line. After three more running plays by West, the Tigers were at the Richmond ten-yard line with four seconds left. Soven, who had made two of three field goal attempts this season, came on to try the field goal but he had to endure a pair of time outs by the Spiders. Finally, he booted the ball through the uprights to give the Tigers the win. The victory marked the Tigers' second win in a row over a nationally-ranked team.
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 CoachOftheYear.com and vote today and every day for Bobby Wilder, the head coach of the greatest startup program in FCS history.
THE CRAZY CAA RACE:
When the bottom two teams picked in this year's CAA Preseason Poll meet on Saturday, who would have ever thought it would be a battle for the top of the league standings? Towson was picked 11th, while Old Dominion was picked 10th in the Preseason Poll released in late July and now the Tigers have knocked off the likes of Villanova and Richmond and enter Saturday's game nationally ranked with a 4-1 overall mark and 2-0 conference mark. Old Dominion meanwhile enters at 5-1 overall and 2-1 in the conference race.
WELCOME TO THE TOP 25:
When the ODU Football Monarchs take the field on Saturday against the Towson, it will be as a nationally-ranked team in both The Sports Network/Fathead.com and FCS Coaches Polls. 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 in last week's Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top-25 College Football Poll. The Monarchs, made the jump after defeating then-#20 Massachusetts and rose to No. 18 following its 31-23 victory over Rhode Island last Saturday. Following the Monarchs victory over the Rams, ODU made its FCS Coaches Poll debut this week coming in at No. 22. Eight teams in the league are still featured in the The Sports Network Poll with this weekend's opponent, Towson, just ahead of the Monarchs at No. 17. The Tigers, who were picked to finish last in the conference in the CAA Preseason Poll, are currently one of three teams at the top of the league standings with a 4-1 overall record and 2-0 conference mark. They also came in at No. 23, just one spot below Old Dominion, in the Coaches Poll.
EIGHT TEAMS RANKED IN THE CAA:
Eight CAA Football teams appeared in this week's Top 25 for the second straight week. It is the first time ever a league has had as many as eight teams in one week's poll at the FCS level. Prior to its number of eight ranked, CAA Football was the only conference to ever boast seven among TSN's rankings in a single week having done that 14 times.
RISING UP THE RANKS:
It took the ODU Football Monarchs until year three and 27 games to receive its first Top 25 ranking. 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.
STOPPING THE RUN:
The Monarchs are currently 14th nationally and second behind James Madison in the CAA in rush defense. Take a look at how ODU has shut down its opponent's run game.
ODU vs. The Opponent Run Game:
|OPPONENT:||AVG. RUSH ENTERING GAME:||AVG. RUSH VS. ODU:||Campbell||4.5 (2010)||1.2||Georgia State||3.9||2.4||Hampton||5.0||3.3||Delaware||4.8||2.1||UMass||4.2||2.1||Rhode Island||4.9||3.7|
The Monarchs have had a player with two touchdown receptions in a game three times this season. With a pair of catches in the end zone against the Rams last weekend, it marked the second time Larry Pinkard has had two touchdown receptions in a game, also doing so in week five's win over UMass. Nick Mayers also had a pair of touchdown receptions against the Minutemen in week five as well.
A TOUGH PLACE TO PLAY:
The Monarchs picked up a win in a place that's been tough to win for Ram opponents. Entering last weekend's game, Rhode Island was 5-1 over their last six game at Meade Stadium. The Rams have also been known to provide the upset in the CAA as last year they picked up wins over #8 New Hampshire, #3 Villanova, and #19 UMass in 2010.
BLOCK THAT KICK:
Special teams now has 17 blocks to its credit in the last three seasons, including five already in the 2011 season, which according to an unofficial poll of FCS schools are the second most blocks by a school this season. In their 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 have made a block in four of the last five contests.
2011 FCS LEADERS (total blocked kicks)
North Dakota - 6 (4 FGs, 2 PATs)
Drake - 6 (3 FG, 1 PAT, 2 Punt)
Dartmouth - 6 (3 FGs, 2 PAT, 1 Punt)
Portland State - 6 (2 FG, 4 Punts)
Old Dominion - 5 (1 FG, 4 Punts)
Citadel - 4 (4 Punts)
Jacksonville State - 4 (1 FG, 2 PATs, 1 Punt)
Norfolk State - 4 (3 FGs, 1 Punt)
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.
Old Dominion is currently 13-4 all-time and 3-0 this season at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium following its 48-33 win over then-#20 Massachusetts in week five. The Monarchs have won six straight at home with their last loss occcuring on Oct. 9th in a 50-37 setback to Cal Poly. In their last road outing, a 31-23 victory over Rhode Island, ODU improved to 9-2 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.
PLAYING THE RANKED TEAMS:
Towson will be the fifth ranked team the Monarchs will have faced in its three-year history and the second of the 2011 campaign. Old Dominion has faced #12/13 William & Mary (L, 17-21) on September 18th, 2010, #14/16 Cal Poly (L, 37-50) on October 9th, 2010 and #7/6 Delaware (L, 17-27) on September 24, 2011 while the win over the then-#20 Minutemen (W, 48-33) was the Monarchs' first over a Top 25 opponent in four tries on October 1, 2011.
Also testing the Monarchs in their first season of competition in the CAA will be #13 James Madison, #16/15 William & Mary, and #20/25 Richmond.
UPDATING THE NUMBERS - POST RHODE ISLAND:
Craig Wilkins has his first interception of the season and fifth of his career. Eriq Lewis also had an interception late in the fourth quarter to help wrap up the game for the Monarchs. It was Lewis' second interception of the year. Larry Pinkard had his fourth and fifth touchdowns and third and fourth receiving scores of the season. Wide receiver Nick Mayers had his 10th touchdown of his career and third of the 2011 season.
For more information on ODU Football, check out complete game notes