Villanova could not overcome a strong start by the Old Dominion Monarchs, or the Wildcats inability to hang on to the football, and lost the first ever meeting (football) of the schools by a margin of 37-14 on Homecoming day.
ODU got on the board with 10:47 left in the opening quarter on a 42 yard touchdown pass from the Monarch’s outstanding freshman QB Taylor Heinicke to wide receiver Antonio Vaughan. The score came a mere nine seconds after the Monarchs Devon Simmons recovered a Dustin Thomas fumble at the Wildcats 42 yard line. The Monarchs failed to convert the extra point.
A short time later the Monarchs boosted their lead to 13-0 on a 53 yard run by Lorenzo Smith and a Jarod Brown extra point. Villanova gave the Homecoming crowd a chance to cheer when it marched 57 yards in 11 plays to score on a 6 yard pass from Thomas to Joe Price. Mark Hamilton converted the extra point to make the score 13-7 with 2:43 left in the first quarter.
After the Monarchs added a 32 field goal by Brown to take a 16-7 lead, The Cats imploded when Thomas again fumbled and ODU’s Craig Wilkins recovered it at the Villanova two yard line. Heinicke ran it in from the one yard line to expand the lead to 23-7. To their credit, Villanova did not throw in the towel, instead they marched 77 yards in 11 plays to score on a 20 yard burst by Austin Medley. However, ODU closed out the first half by driving 75 yards in 11 plays to score with 24 seconds left. The score came on a 16 yard pass from Heinicke to Nick Mayers. The half ended with the Monarchs up 30-14.
In the second half, Old Dominion took a 37-14 lead after Thomas was picked off deep in Villanova territory. The Monarchs Angus Harper plunged in from the 1 yard line for what turned out to be the last score of the afternoon. At this point, Thomas was replaced at QB by freshman Chris Polony, who played the rest of the way.
All in all the Wildcats lost the ball 4 times – three fumbles and one interception. Consequently, the Wildcats were forced to chase the Monarchs from behind the entire game. With the loss, the Wildcats fell to 1-7, 0-5 in the CAA. With the win, the 21st ranked Monarchs are now 6-2 overall, 3-2 in the CAA. Next up for Villanova is a game against the Maine Black Bears at 3:30pm on Saturday, October 29 at Villanova Stadium. ODU will entertain James Madison next Saturday.
The Wildcats were without senior cornerback James Pitts, who was out with an injury.
You can view a full photo slideshow of the game below: