ODU football team overtakes Charlotte, 56-34, to become bowl eligible
Through Harry mini
NORFOLK, Virginia – The Old Dominion football team made a remarkable return to the regular season on Saturday afternoon, beating Charlotte, 56-34, to win their fifth straight game and become eligible for the first time in five seasons.
The match pitted teams with 5-6 records in total, with the winner destined to become bowling eligible and the loser ending for the season. ODU (6-6, 5-3 Conference USA) has not gone to a bowl since beating Eastern Michigan in the 2016 Bahamas Bowl.
The game was a back-and-forth affair, in which ODU lost a 21-point lead. But every time the 49ers struck, the Monarchs fought back. And in the process, they probably punched their ticket to a bowl game.
ODU seems very likely but unsure of going to a bowling alley. Conference USA has seven guaranteed bowl offers, but because North Texas upset the previously undefeated UTSA, there are now eight Bowl-eligible Conference USA teams.
However, not all conferences are meant to fill all of their allotted bowling slots. Additionally, ODU’s CV will stack up against many other six-game winning teams. The Monarchs have not only had five straight wins, but they also have a strong fan base and a great story to tell.
ODU was 1-11 in 2019 and due to the pandemic was one of three FBS schools not to play in 2020. ODU was chosen to finish last in the league and ranked 129e out of 130 FBS teams by CBSSports.
The Head Coach Ricky rahne, the former Penn State offensive coordinator, and his team have been remarkably successful in motivating a 1-6 team to win their last five games.
Rahne said he was convinced his team would receive a bowl offer and that the Monarchs clearly deserved one.
“To be able to train these guys for a few more weeks would be a dream come true,” said Rahne. “I know it’s not guaranteed. There are all kinds of sponsors, politics, TV and things that I’m not aware of here.
“But if you’re a human being who loves college football and you walk into that locker room, there’s a zero percent chance you won’t send this team to a bowl game.
“And if someone decides not to send us to a bowl game, then they’ll probably take candy from the babies and kick the puppies. Because this team deserved it.”
The 56 points were the most points ODU scored in a Conference USA game since joining the league in 2014.
The match marked the 71st annual Oyster Bowl and the winner of the Melvin T. Blassingham MVP award was the wide receiver Ali Jennings III , which had a career day for the Monarchs. The Richmond native, who transferred to the West Virginia ODU, had nine passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns.
Blake watson rushed 18 times for 106 times and two touchdowns and became just the second ODU player to run over 1,000 yards.
linebacker Jordan Young had 11 tackles and completed one before tying the school’s record for career tackles, a record he will almost surely break in a bowl game.
Strategist Hayden wolff completed 17 of 26 passes for three touchdowns and 328 yards. And he agrees with Rahne that ODU won a bowl offer.
“To beat five FBS teams in a row is a tough thing to do,” he said. “Especially after starting 1-6.
“We’ve beaten various good teams. FAU, Middle Tennessee and Charlotte. These are teams that have played and competed at the highest level against Power 5 schools. To beat teams like this, we’re on a roll in this. moment.
“It’s tough to win five games in a row and we’re looking forward to the next one.”
Jennings wore the No.10 jersey in honor of her cousin, Isiah Paige, who was lost for the season last weekend in Middle Tennessee due to injury.
“Isiah is blood,” he said. “This is one of the reasons I decided to come here. I didn’t feel the same without having it there.
“I spoke to Deege (Dwight Galt IV), our head trainer, and he asked if I wanted to wear it and I jumped on it. It was something I was thinking about.
“I told him it was going to bring me luck for this game. And he told me to go get him.”
The score was tied at 28-28 midway through the second quarter after Charlotte scored 21 straight points and the Monarchs appeared to be faltering.
But then Wolff and Jennings proved important to ODU, as they connected on a 51-yard pass that set up a 3-yard Watson touchdown with 2:35 left in the third quarter that gave the Monarchs a 35-28 lead.
Charlotte then reduced the lead, as Jonathan Cruz kicked baskets from 39 and 44 yards, the latter with 10:04 to go to reduce the lead to 35-34.
ODU’s offense then responded again, with Wolff throwing a 32-yard pass to Jennings, an 11-yard pass to Watson and a 25-yard pass in the first year. Jordan bly which gave ODU its first participation in the Charlotte 3.
Two plays later, Watson carried two yards for the touchdown and Rice added the conversation kick to give ODU a 42-34 lead.
Wolff and Jennings put the game almost out of reach with 3:49 remaining when they hit a 36-yard touchdown pass that gave the Monarchs a 49-34 lead.
The ODU defense forced four turnovers, including a fumble recovered and swept into the end zone three minutes from time. Deeve Harris for the final ODU score.
ODU led 14-0 and 28-7 after two first touchdowns set up by interceptions of Joe joe headen and Young, seniors playing their last games at SB Ballard Stadium who also happen to be roommates.
On the second try, Watson carried and pushed his way to the yard line, where he groped into the end zone. Second year tackle Nick saldiveri fell on the ball and was credited with his first career touchdown with 9:15 to go.
Charlotte traveled to ODU 48 on her next possession to see Young intercept, setting up a 65-yard TD, topped by that of Elijah Davis 12-meter race.
After holding Charlotte down, the Monarchs made it 21-0 on a 46-yard touchdown reception from Jennings early in the second quarter. Jennings was well covered and had to lunge while bringing the ball back and hitting the turf at the same time.
After a score from Charlotte, Jennings passed a 34-yard pass to make it 28-7. Charlotte then scored 21 unanswered points to tie the score at 28-28.
ODU administrators expect to know by Sunday December 5 where ODU will play. ESPN announces on December 5 who will play in which bowls. The ODU will be selling game tickets as soon as the Monarchs know their bowl destination.
Rahne said he was planning on going bowling.
“I think we’re going to a bowl game and I’ll call whoever I need to call and I’ll go to their house, walk their dog, whatever they need me to do, because this team has earned the right to playing in a bowl, “he said.
“It would be 11 bowl games in a row for me. I don’t know if I would ever have one more special than this. And that’s because I can be with these guys for a week longer.”
REMARKS: Headen intercepted a pass for the second straight game and the fourth of his career… Headen’s 89-yard return to INT was the longest in school history… Jordan young the interception was his first of the season and the second of his career … Elie Davis scored his sixth touchdown of the season with a total of 12 yards in the first quarter … Nick saldiveri became the first ODU offensive line to score a touchdown when he recovered a Blake watson escaped in the end zone … Ali Jennings caught nine passes for 252 yards and three touchdowns … It was the 10the Once in school history, a player has caught three touchdowns in a game. The most recent was Jonathan Duhart in ODU’s 49-35 victory over Virginia Tech… The 252 receiving yards is the second greatest game in ODU history. Nick Mayers collected 271 yards on reception in 2021 against New Hampshire, when Taylor Heinicke went for 730 yards … For the sixth time this season, Blake watson rushed for over 100 yards, having 18 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns… Watson broke the ODU single-season record for run attempts, since he now has 201. Lawry held the record with 200 in 2016… Watson became the second player to run for over 1,000 yards in one season, joining Ray Lawry, who did it twice. Watson has 1,035 yards, the third longest in school history … With 11 tackles, Jordan Young is a shy of ODU career record with 339, a shy of Craig wilkins. Wilkins also leads the ODU in career fumble recoveries and interceptions … Deeve Harris is the first ODU defensive player to register two defensive touchdowns in the same season … Hayden wolff had a career-high 328 yards and three touchdowns, as he completed 17 of 26 passes … Zack Kuntz caught five assists to give it 71 for the season, which is the third highest number in a single season in ODU history… ODU joins North Texas as the first teams to claim five straight wins for become bowl eligible from Miami, Ohio in 2016. Miami started 0-6 this season. In 2017, Missouri won their first game, lost five in a row, then won six in a row… ODU is bowl eligible for the first time since 2016. ODU was also bowl eligible in 2014, but in his second year of FBS, he had to not have it. enough teams eligible for the bowl.
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