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Old Dominion University Wins First Game on the Road

Old Dominion University's football team chalked up another win Saturday to go 3-0 at the start of its inaugural season, beating Jacksonville University in Florida in the Monarchs' first road game.

The game was a nail-biter right up till the very end when Dorian Jackson's 32-yard reception from quarterback Thomas DeMarco gave ODU a 28-27 come-from-behind victory over the Dolphins.

Dolphin kicker Donovan Curry attempted a 52-yard field goal in the closing seconds, but the ball sailed wide right and the Monarchs' win was assured.

The Dolphins, who went undefeated last season, came out strong on the first drive of the game. Elliot Finkley, who had a pair of touchdowns in

Jacksonville's season-opening win, caught an 11-yard pass from Josh McGregor in the corner of the end zone for the quick score. ODU's Edmon McClam, however, blocked the extra point, the fourth time he has thwarted the opposition from earning the PAT.

The Monarchs reached fourth and long on their first offensive drive of the afternoon, returning possession back to the Dolphins, but it wasn't long before ODU had the ball back. Defensive back Donald Smith snagged a pass from Dolphins quarterback McGregor. Moving the ball down field, the Monarchs tried to light up the scoreboard on a field goal attempt, but Drew Hareza's kick went wide.

Jacksonville upped the score to 13-0 with three minutes remaining in the opening quarter. McGregor connected with Rodney Sumter on a 12-yard pass to cap an 11-play, 71-yard drive.

The Monarchs started to clamp down on the Jacksonville offense for most of the second quarter. The Dolphins, who converted five of eight times on third down in the first quarter, were limited to converting on one of three from third down in the second period. Old Dominion broke onto the scoreboard when rookie running back Mario Crawford inched his way into the end zone to conclude a 14-play drive. Crawford's touchdown brought the trailing Monarchs to 13-7.

Sam Bell had a 27-yard reception for Jacksonville, scoring with 24 seconds left in the quarter to give the Dolphins a 20-7 edge heading into halftime.

The third quarter started off with a bang. A quick score saw the Monarchs trail just 20-14 with 13:37 in the stanza. ODU's Markell Wilkins recovered a fumble and two plays later ODU was in the end zone. After the recovery at the Jacksonville 34, Crawford dashed down field for 32 yards to the two-yard line, giving the Monarchs first and goal. Moments later, Crawford crossed the end line for his second touchdown of the afternoon.

The Monarchs missed a second field goal attempt to close out the third quarter and Jacksonville responded with a fast touchdown reception to open the fourth period. Larry Thompson caught the ball for the Dolphins' fourth touchdown, making the score 27-14.

DeMarco then made things exciting with a 47-yard touchdown sprint with just over 10 minutes left in the game.

With 2:08 left on the clock, the Monarchs moved the ball 91 yards to take their first lead of the afternoon. The drive was capped off by a 32-yard pass from DeMarco to Jackson.

The Dolphins had one drive left in them, but Curry's failed field goal attempt ended the hard-fought game in favor of the Monarchs.

"I'm very impressed with our players," said head coach Bobby Wilder at the end of the game. "I give a lot of credit to Ron McCrone, Jacksonville's defensive coordinator. He is sharp. It took our offensive guys a little while to figure things out, but when our offensive coaches figured it out and what he was doing on what down and distance, you saw what happened in the fourth quarter. I was very impressed that our entire operation, players and coaches, stuck together and finished this thing the right way."

DeMarco finished the game with 136 yards on the ground and completed 16 of 38 attempts for 175 yards in the air. Reid Evans led the receiving corps with 86 yards on seven carries.

Defensively, Craig Wilkins made seven tackles, including seven solo stops. Donald Smith and Chad King each had six tackles. Smith had a five-yard interception return and King had four tackles that cost Jacksonville 20 yards and a 10-yard sack.

The Monarchs return to action against Monmouth at Foreman Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26.

This article was posted on: September 21, 2009

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Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.