Fourth year (27-8, all at ODU)
In a secure room deep below the Powhatan Complex, it's apparent that they have developed human cloning capabilities. Wilder, the
Soph. | 6-1 | 190 | QB
Took a battlefield promotion and ran with it. As a true freshman, he completed 69 percent of his passes for 2,385 yards, with 25 touchdowns and an astonishing one interception in 307 attempts. He's a little bigger and faster than last season and says he's more comfortable with the offense.
Sr. | 6-2 | 240 | LB
All-CAA at outside linebacker last season, he moves to the middle this season, to take advantage of his experience and athletic gifts. Far and away the Monarchs' leading tackler (111), his 14.5 tackles-for-loss were second only to defensive cornerstone Ronnie Cameron.
Sr. | 6-4 | 290 | DT
Third-team All-CAA last year and preseason all-conference pick for 2012. Started all 35 games the past three years, primarily at nose guard. Benefited from playing alongside Cameron, but effective in his own right. Blocked five kicks in his career.
The Monarchs appear to have this one covered. This is the program's last chance for postseason until 2015. Or ever, if the Mayans are correct. ODU cannot win the CAA title and automatic playoff berth that comes with it because of the impending departure for
In its first year as an all-in, competing CAA member, ODU played with house money: no track record; modest expectations; loose and free, with nothing to lose. No reasonable person would have predicted that the Monarchs would win 10 games, go to the playoffs, put up track meet offensive numbers, and their true freshman QB channel
The only thing that coaches hate more than turnovers are distractions. The Monarchs face a potential beaut with the cases against and impending trial of Reid Evans and Markell Wilkins on charges related to rape. Both were significant contributors and leaders within the program who were suspended immediately and indefinitely after their arrests. Coaches forever preach the "next man up" mentality and to rely on those available. Certainly, the players will say all the proper things about the absence of their mates — they support them and miss them, but they have a job to do, and they have to remain focused and blah de blah. But can they simply set aside Evans and Wilkins, and go about their business? The program has been blessedly free of such controversy since it was resurrected several years ago, but this represents a challenge for an outfit that's known mostly sunshine and balloons.
Sept. 1 |
First meeting. The Dukes return nine starters from the team that finished 9-2 and tied for first in the Northeast Conference. Most notable are senior FS Serge Kona, the conference defensive POY, QB Sean Patterson (2,011 yards passing, 23 TD, 8 int) and RB Larry McCoy (1,381 yards, 12 TD).
Sept. 8 | at Hampton | 6 p.m.
The Monarchs won each of the first two meetings, a grind-fest decided by special teams in 2010 and a 45-42 shootout last season. The two teams combined for almost 800 yards, and ODU scored 21 points in the fourth quarter, with QB Thomas DeMarco running for two scores in the last seven minutes.
Sept. 15 | Campbell
The Monarchs have won all three previous meetings against Campbell, dominating the past two by a combined 85-27. The Camels, of the Pioneer League, resurrected their program in 2008. They finished 6-5 overall, 5-3 in the league. A tuneup before things get serious the following week.
Sept. 22 | New Hampshire | noon
Intriguing matchup between Wildcats, who have made eight consecutive FCS playoff appearances, and ODU, which aims for a second postseason berth on its way out the CAA door. UNH returns 14 starters, led by Buchanan Award winner Matt Evans at LB and all five offensive linemen.
Sept. 29 | at
Monarchs won last year 42-28 in a game that wasn't that close. UR went winless in the CAA last season, prompting a coaching change that brought in Danny Rocco. The Spiders have some Peninsula flavor with All-CAA LB Darius McMillan (Phoebus) and productive WR Ben Edwards (York).
Oct. 13 | Villanova
ODU stuffed an uncharacteristically impotent 'Nova team last year 37-14, essentially cruising in the second half. The Wildcats, who won the
Oct. 20 | at
Showdown between the teams picked to finish 1-2 in the CAA. Tigers handed ODU one of only two conference losses last year, 39-35. They got up off the mat to score 15 points in the final three-plus minutes, including the game-winning TD on a 4th-and-29 that will haunt Wilder forever.
Oct. 27 |
Another big-time matchup between CAA powers. The Blue Hens held off ODU in the 'Narchs' CAA debut last season 27-17. As usual, Delaware has plenty of talent, led by All-CAA RB Andrew Pierce (1,279 yds, 16 TD), LB Paul Worrilow (92 tackles) and WR Nihja White (131 career catches).
Nov. 3 | at
ODU dusted the Panthers in Atlanta 40-17 last year. Colby Goodwyn rushed for 184 of ODU's 282 yards on the ground. Three interceptions and a blocked punt for a touchdown were key. Georgia State was picked to finish 11th in its one and only CAA season before departing for the Sun Belt.
Nov. 10 |
The Monarchs had no answer for W&M's Jon Grimes (227 yards), but held on for a 35-31 win because the Tribe defense couldn't hold in the fourth quarter, and ODU cornerback Eriq Lewis came up with two interceptions in the final minutes. Likely the last meeting between the two for quite a while.
Nov. 17 | at
The regular-season finale figures to have a bearing on postseason, in terms of matchups and potential seedings. ODU won the first meeting last season 23-20, shutting out JMU in the second half as the Dukes lost three offensive linemen to injuries. Heinicke was the difference, accounting for 286 yards.