Football Monarchs Take on East Carolina in Season Opener on Saturday
GREENVILLE, N.C. - The Old Dominion University Football Monarchs travel to East Carolina to take on the Pirates on Saturday, Aug. 31 in the first ever FBS game in school history.
• The historic game for ODU will be broadcast on Fox College Sports. Brendan Burke will have the play by play while Ben Leber will add color commentary. Leslie McCaslin is the sideline reporter.
• ODU is 38-10 under head coach Bobby Wilder, appearing in the FCS playoffs the only two years they were eligible for a postseason bid.
• The Monarchs went 11-2 in 2012, earning the No. 4 national seed in the FCS playoffs, advancing to the FCS quarterfinals and ranking No. 6 in the final polls.
• Junior quarterback Taylor Heinicke was named the 2012 Walter Payton Award Winner, the FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy. He passed for an FCS single-season record 5,076 yards while tossing 44 touchdowns and running for 11 more. The Atlanta, Ga. native threw for an NCAA Division I record 730 yards in ODU's thrilling 64-61 triumph over New Hampshire last year on Sept. 21. Heinicke also set an NCAA Division record with 791 yards of total offense in that game.
• ODU is transitioning to FBS and Conference USA in 2013 before playing a full C-USA schedule in 2014. The Monarchs play five at FBS programs East Carolina, Maryland, Pittsburgh, Idaho and North Carolina.
Leading the Way
The Monarchs are led by their 11 seniors this season, including five players who were members of the first ODU football squad in 2009.
3 Marquel Thomas* WR Virginia Beach, Va.
15 Aaron Evans CB Newport News, Va.
21 Paul Morant LB Hampton, Va.
36 Colby Goodwyn RB Hampton, Va.
39 Jarod Brown K Yorktown, Va.
46 John Darr* LB Forestville, Md.
73 Jack Lowney* OT Narberth, Pa.
77 David Born OG Bakersfield, Calif.
78 D.J. Morrell OT Norwalk, Conn.
95 Nate Barnes* DT Newport News, Va.
98 Alex Johnson* DE New Canton, Va.
* Member of the first team in 2009
ODU lost leading receiver Nick Mayers to graduation, but returns three players that caught 55 passes or more and seven touchdowns apiece. Antonio Vaughan is the leading returning wide receiver, catching 60 passes for 885 yards last season. He was named second-team All-CAA. Blair Roberts caught 56 balls for 707 yards, while Larry Pinkard had 55 catches for 830 yards, while missing one game.
100 Yard Receiving Games
Date Opponent Player Receiving Yards
9/1/12 Duquesne Blair Roberts 104
9/22/12 New Hampshire Antonio Vaughan 143
10/13/12 Villanova Antonio Vaughan 103
11/17/12 at James Madison Antonio Vaughan 123
12/1/12 Coastal Carolina Larry Pinkard 154
12/8/12 Georgia Southern Antonio Vaughan 146
Offensive Line Returns
Last year, the same offensive line started every game for ODU. Four of the starters return. Left tackle Jack Lowney, left guard David Born, center Josh Mann and right tackle D.J. Morrell all return for the Monarchs. Morrell started all 13 games last season at guard, and will slide out to play tackle this season. Sophomore Connor Mewbourne will take Morrell's spot at right guard, while sophomore Troy Butler will be the top backup at center and guard.
The defensive line lost two starters from a year ago, but newcomer Chris Smith and linebacker turned defensive end, Terrell Reid, will start on the defensive line. Senior captain Nate Barnes will also start for the first time in his career. The Newport News native lost 30 pounds and will move from nose guard, where he played last year, to defensive tackle. Sophomore Andrew Everett started a pair of games last year at defensive end, recording 19 tackles, and is slated to start at the other defensive end position.
Senior John Darr is one of five players from the 2009 team, and he has had an outstanding fall camp. Darr started all 13 games at linebacker last season and finisher third on the team in tackles with 75, and also was third on the team with 10.0 tackles for loss. Sophomore Caleb Taylor is the leading returning tackler from last season, with 87 tackles and 13.5 tackles for loss. He did all that and did not start at linebacker until the fifth game of the year at Richmond.
Newcomers, One and All
With the Monarchs' transition to FBS, ODU is going from 63 to 85 scholarships. Out of 97 players on the team, 56 have never played a snap for Old Dominion. Of those 56 players, 34 have never played a college football game while 26 are new to the program, dating back to the 2012 spring semester.
New Players on Two-Deep
Several players, both on offense and defense, that have never before played for ODU are on the Monarchs' two-deep. On the offensive side, there are three true freshmen, three redshirt freshmen and three junior college transfers. On the defensive side of the ball, there are six true freshmen, three redshirt freshmen and three JUCO transfers.
The Crowds will Come
The likely sell out of 50,000 seat Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium will be more than double the highest attendance the Old Dominion Monarchs have ever played in front of. The only crowd larger than a sold-out Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium that ODU has played in front of, was 23,051 to end last year's regular season at James Madison.
Just two players on Old Dominion have experience playing against an FBS opponent. Redshirt junior captain, Andre Simmons, who transferred to ODU from Vanderbilt, and Nick England, a transfer from Florida International. England has to sit out this season after transferring to ODU this fall.
Largest Crowds ODU has Ever Played in Front of
Date Opponent Attendance
11/17/12 at James Madison 23,051
9/1/12 Duquesne 20,068
9/15/12 Campbell 20,068
9/22/12 New Hampshire 20,068
10/13/12 Villanova 20,068
10/27/12 Delaware 20,068
11/10/12 William and Mary 20,068
12/1/12 Coastal Carolina 20,068