There are no scrimmages or preseason games in college football. Season openers are firm to move surprises, even for gifted teams.
With 16 starters behind from a 10-win team, Old Dominion is some-more gifted than most. But an opener that done adult as a probable tune-up incited into a scuffle in a second half Saturday night in a 31-17 win over Albany.
A solid sleet and realistic Great Danes sum to keep things sincerely unsightly, if never wholly in doubt.
“We won a ballgame, that is important,” manager Bobby Wilder said. “But we have a lot that we need to urge on.”
The heading rushing group in Conference USA final season, ODU was incompetent to flesh a smaller Football Championship Subdivision competition between a tackles. Through 3 quarters, most of a rushing yardage came on a span of prolonged runs.
Quarterback Blake LaRussa, creation his initial career start, threw dual interceptions, and a Monarchs, who committed only 10 turnovers in 13 games final season, done 3 in a opener.
“I can’t remember a final time we mislaid a turnover conflict by dual turnovers,” Wilder said.
ODU managed only 285 sum yards. And with only 8:42 to play, Albany pulled within a touchdown when Karl Mofor ran 31 yards adult a center inexperienced into a finish zone.
ODU answered quickly, regulating a 55-yard touchdown pass from LaRussa to Jonathan Duhart with 7:51 remaining, to pull a lead behind to 14.
The Monarchs’ invulnerability clamped down from there. ODU had 7 sacks .
“I suspicion we came out with good energy; we suspicion we were focused,” defensive finish Bunmi Rotimi said. “… we suspicion we came out in a second half a small lackluster, though we really picked it up, we really got any other behind up. We didn’t keep a heads down.”
If it wasn’t all ODU could have wanted in an opener, it was a start – and a program’s 11th true win over an FCS foe.
LaRussa, a redshirt sophomore from Bishop Sullivan High, finished 14 of 20 passes. Backup Jordan Hoy, a youth college transfer, was 4 of 6.
LaRussa rebounded from his second interception to chuck a game-sealing touchdown to Duhart.
“We had a good look, only a one-on-one with a 6-3 Duhart on a corner,” he said. “With us, that’s an all-day shot as an offense.”
ODU led 21-3 during halftime notwithstanding committing dual first-quarter turnovers. The Monarchs outgained Albany 173-69 by 30 minutes.
The Great Danes’ gave ODU’s initial turnover – a LaRussa interception – right behind when linebacker Marvin Branch picked off Albany’s Will Brunson on a subsequent play.
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The Monarchs took over during a Great Danes’ 48, and Ray Lawry ran 41 yards dual plays after for ODU’s initial score.
ODU struck again when Darrell Brown returned a punt 30 yards to a Albany 41. A 28-yard run by Gemonta Jackson dual plays after got a round to a 3. Brandon Jackson scored from 2 yards out to put a Monarchs adult 14-3.
ODU changed 45 yards in 13 plays for a final measure of a half, converting dual third downs and a fourth down along a way. Jackson scored from a yard out to top a expostulate with 42 seconds left in a half.
The Monarchs found a using inside formidable most of a half, though kept during it, gaining 103 yards on 20 carries.
Jeremy Cox’s initial career fail after 235 carries in 23 games gave Albany a round during midfield, and led to a 37-yard margin idea by Ethan Stark.
The Great Danes were blank final season’s Colonial Athletic Association rushing leader, All-American tailback Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks, who was out with a knee injury.
Albany finished 7-4 final year and narrowly missed a FCS playoffs. The Great Danes kick Buffalo in their 2016 deteriorate opener, their initial win over a Bowl Subdivision team.
Albany’s regulation for success was a lot like ODU’s. The Great Danes singular their mistakes – committing few turnovers and penalties – and relied on a prolific using game.
And for a time in a fourth quarter, it looked like that regulation competence only work.