Football Monarchs Release Historic First C-USA Schedule, Open at Defending Champion Rice
IRVING, Texas – Old Dominion University’s first football season in Conference USA will begin at the reigning C-USA Champion Rice and hosting conference powers Middle Tennessee and Marshall, as announced today by the C-USA conference office.
The Monarchs’ 2014 schedule features four teams who played in bowl games last season, including Rice, Middle Tennessee, Marshall and Vanderbilt, and two who were bowl eligible in Western Kentucky and Florida Atlantic.
“What an exciting time for Old Dominion University, our program, and our loyal fan base. Our players and coaches are looking forward to the 2014 season and our first year in C-USA” ODU Head Coach Bobby Wilder said. “Our goal is to earn our way from the bottom to the top of the league as soon as possible. We all realize we face a challenge this season with 11 FBS opponents. We will embrace that challenge.”
ODU opens its 2014 season with a home contest against Hampton University on Aug. 30 before heading down tobacco road to ACC foe N.C. State on Sept. 6. This will be the fourth meeting between ODU and the Hampton Pirates, with the Monarchs winning the previous three. Old Dominion will play the Wolfpack for the first time in school history, who are led by Head Coach Dave Doeren, who will begin his second season as head coach. The Wolfpack had four alumni play in the Super Bowl on Sunday, including Seattle Seahawks quarterback, Russell Wilson.
“We are really excited to be starting our C-USA football membership this fall with a fantastic conference schedule and the ability to compete for a conference football championship. I feel the conference rewarded ODU with an outstanding schedule featuring two of the top East Division programs with Marshall and Middle Tennessee visiting S.B. Ballard stadium within the first three weeks of conference play,” ODU Athletic Director Dr. Wood Selig said.
“Our road trips should be exciting as well with travels to Houston to start conference play against Rice, and completing our conference play after Thanksgiving in Boca Raton, FL against Florida Atlantic. It is a balanced conference schedule that will provide our student athletes and fans with three months of CUSA excitement this fall,” adds Selig.
The Monarchs host Eastern Michigan in their first FBS home contest on Sept. 13. The Eagles were 2-10 in 2013 and are led by first-year head coach Chris Creighton.
The first Conference USA game for the Monarchs will be at 2013 C-USA Champion, Rice on Sept. 20. The Owls were 10-4 and defeated Marshall in the conference title game last season, with the 10 wins tying the most in a single-season in school history. The Owls played Mississippi State in the Liberty Bowl
On Sept. 27, the Monarchs host Middle Tennessee in the C-USA home opener. The Blue Raiders were 8-5 in 2013, won five-straight games and ended the season in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.
Old Dominion hosts its second-straight C-USA opponent when Marshall visits Norfolk on Oct. 4. The Thundering Herd were 10-4 last season and defeated Maryland in the Military Bowl. Marshall returns the 2013 C-USA Player of the Year in quarterback Rakeem Cato.
The Monarchs hit the road again as they travel to UTEP on Oct. 11, coached by Sean Kugler, who played for the Miners and was previously an assistant coach. UTEP returns third-team freshman All-America Aaron Jones at running back.
ODU has a bye on Oct. 18 before heading to fellow C-USA newcomer Western Kentucky on Oct. 25. The Hilltoppers posted an 8-4 record last fall in the Sun Belt Conference. WKU is led by first-year head coach Jeff Brohm.
Old Dominion plays its third-consecutive road contest when it heads to SEC member Vanderbilt on Nov. 1. The Commodores are coming off back-to-back, nine win seasons for the first time in school history, going 9-4 in 2013 and defeating Houston in the BBVA Compass Bowl. Vanderbilt is led by first-year coach and former Stanford defensive coordinator Derek Mason.
After nearly a month away from playing at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium, ODU will return home for two-straight home games, starting Nov. 8 against Florida International. The Panthers are coached by Ron Turner who is in his second season with the program.
The Monarchs receive a second bye of the season on Nov. 15 and return to host Louisiana Tech on Nov. 22 in their final home game of the 2014 season. The Bulldogs are coached by Skip Holtz, the former head coach at East Carolina and South Florida, and son of ESPN Commentator and former South Carolina and Notre Dame Head Coach, Lou Holtz.
ODU closes the season in C-USA on the road on Nov. 29 at Florida Atlantic. FAU finished 6-6 in 2013 and ended the year on a four-game winning streak. They are coached by first-year head coach, Charlie Partridge. The Owls play at 29,419-seat FAU Stadium, the only stadium in the country that has a view of the Atlantic Ocean.
The renewal process for ODU football season tickets will begin in late February, with a May 1 deadline for orders and 2014 ODAF membership. For more information, contact the Athletic Ticket Office at 757-683-4444 or the ODAF office at 757 683-6963.