NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University Football jumped out to a 42-7 lead over Southern Miss and finished off a 51-35 victory over the Golden Eagles Saturday evening at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium.
Anthony Wilson finished with a game-high 17 tackles and a sack, one off of TJ Ricks’ record of 18, while Ricks finished with 11 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Old Dominion (7-3, 5-1) tied school records with five forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and five takeaways, as well as six sacks.
Trailing 42-7, Southern Miss (5-5, 3-3) pulled to within 42-28 with three-straight Ito Smith touchdowns. After an ODU punt, the Golden Eagles got the ball at their own 15. Tim Ward sacked Keon Howard on first down and Rashaad Coward sacked Howard in the end zone for a safety on third down to make the score 44-28.
The following Southern Miss possession, Bunmi Rotimi sacked and forced a fumble by Howard that Rashaad Coward and ran in for a seven-yard touchdown to make the score 51-28.
Howard hit Marquise Ricard for a 55-yard touchdown pass under four minutes remaining to make the final score 51-35.
On Southern Miss’s opening drive, Sean Carter forced a Keon Howard fumble that TJ Ricks recovered and took to the Southern Miss five-yard line. Three plays later, Ray Lawry bowled in from two yards out for a 7-0 ODU lead.
On the first play of the next Southern Miss drive, Ricks forced and recovered a Howard fumble at the Southern Miss 28. David Washington tossed a 22-yard completion to Jonathan Duhart and Lawry ran in from two-yards out for a 14-0 ODU lead.
Another Southern Miss turnover, a Brandon Addison interception, gave ODU the ball at the Golden Eagle 43. Lawry caught a 28-yard pass to set up a three-yard touchdown run from Jeremy Cox to make the score 21-0.
Southern Miss got on the board with a two-yard run from Howard to cap an eight play, 64-yard drive to make the score 21-7 early in the second quarter.
ODU made the score 28-7 on a five-yard touchdown pass from Washington to Duhart to complete a six play, 62-yard drive.
The Monarchs made the score 35-7 with 1:19 left in the first half on a Washington to Travis Fulgham 39-yard touchdown to complete a four play, 92-yard scoring drive. A 46-yard run by Lawry put ODU at the Southern Miss 39.
Jeremy Cox had a 67-yard touchdown run, the longest of his career, and finished with 77-yards on four carries, while Lawry had 71 yards on 17 carries. Lawry and Cox had two touchdowns apiece.
Washington finished 12-of-18 for 144 yards and two touchdowns.
The story of the day was the defense, as Wilson and Ricks led the way, but several others had big games. Sean Carter had eight tackles and a forced fumble. Oshane Ximines had five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble, while Coward had five tackles, a sack, a safety, and the touchdown return.
Notes: Zach Pascal’s 53-yard opening kickoff was the second longest kickoff return in ODU FBS history … Sean Carter forced the first fumble of his career in the first quarter … TJ Ricks recovered his fourth career fumble … Nick Ferrari-Smith played for the first time in his ODU career and had a tackle on special teams … TJ Ricks became fourth ODU player to have two fumble recoveries in same game … He broke the ODU career record with his sixth career forced fumble on the second Southern Miss possession … Ricks forced his seventh career fumble in the third quarter … Ray Lawry scored two first quarter touchdowns to tie Antonio Vaughan with 37 career touchdowns … Brandon Addison intercepted his second interception of the season … Brandon Simmons returned his first career kickoff 31 yards in the second quarter … Zach Pascal recorded a second quarter catch, his 46th-straight game with a catch … David Washington tossed his 20th and 21st touchdown pass of the season in the second quarter … Travis Fulgham now has a touchdown catch in six-straight games … Ryan Londree started the first game of his career … Jeremy Cox’s 67-yard touchdown run was the longest run of his career.