One year ago, when William and Mary, a CAA heavyweight and national championship contender, visited upstart Old Dominion, the heavily favored Tribe struggled to pull away, and barely pulled out a victory in the final minutes.
When the Monarchs visited the Tribe Saturday, the script was flipped. ODU was the heavily favored team, and the College was the firm underdog. Despite the disparity, the underdog once again put up a strong fight, as Old Dominion needed a late score and two interceptions to seal the 35-31 Monarch victory in Williamsburg.
“We couldn’t slow them down when we needed to, stop them much less, and it sort of turned into a scoring contest,” head coach Jimmye Laycock said. “We had our chances, up until the end there, and then we just made a couple bad decisions on some throws.”
Down by four late in the fourth quarter, the Tribe (4-6, 2-5 CAA) offense was driving down into ODU territory, but junior quarterback Brent Caprio threw an interception on a missed play on the right side. Old Dominion took over in their own territory with 1 minute, 50 seconds remaining, but the defense held tight, called two timeouts and tipped a pass to give the offense the ball back with 1:23 left on the clock. The Tribe once again drove into ODU territory with a chance to score the winning touchdown, but Caprio was again intercepted by cornerback Eriq Lewis to seal the game.
On the game, the College had 503 total yards to ODU’s 500, but turned the ball over three times while forcing none of its own. Caprio finished 20 of 28 for 245 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
“I thought [Caprio] did a really fine job there. We put him on some misdirections, some throws he had to make on first and second down,” Laycock said.
Old Dominion took the lead in the first half on a 58-yard drive highlighted by a 33-yard pass from quarterback Taylor Heinicke to wide receiver Nick Mayers. Angus Harper ran the ball in from 11 yards out to give the Monarchs the score. The Tribe had the first chance at it, but freshman wide receiver Tre McBride fumbled the ball near the goal line, and the Monarchs recovered in their own end zone.
The Tribe would tie the game at the end of the first quarter when senior tailback Jonathan Grimes took a handoff at the ODU 25 and, seeing the defenders overloaded on the right side, cut the ball back left and beat the defender to the corner to tie the game.
The Monarchs took the lead early in the second quarter when Heinicke ran the ball in from 11 yards out, but the Tribe came back to tie the game on an 80-yard drive in response, capped off by a five-yard run by Grimes. Grimes carried the ball 38 times — a school record — for 227 yards and three touchdowns.
“It was an emotional game,” Grimes said. He, along with the other seniors, played his last game in Williamsburg. “I was very proud of the effort that all the guys made.”
The Tribe took the lead back on a 79-yard drive in the 3rd quarter when Caprio threw a four yard touchdown pass to senior wideout D.J. Mangas. The Monarchs came back and tied it quickly when Heinicke threw a 27-yard pass to Reid Evans.
“We had a very difficult time getting in rhythm,” Laycock said. “We had a very difficult time tackling. That’s come back and that’s kind of been a sore thing for us for a number of games … We’ve got to play better than that.”
The Tribe then took the longest drive of the game, a 17-play, 80-yard drive finished by a two-yard run by Grimes, his third of the game. The Monarchs were able to move the ball down the field with equal precision, and after a couple big runs, they were able to tie the game again on a one-yard run by Harper.
The College was able to come back on the next drive — led by a 36-yard run by Grimes — and got down to the ODU 14. Facing a fourth and 2, Laycock elected to kick the field goal, and it was good to give the Tribe a 31-28 lead. The Tribe’s normally stout defense wasn’t able to stop the Monarchs’ rushing attack, however, and the Monarchs eventually ran it in for the game-winning touchdown.
“We knew what they were going to do. That’s the style of game that they play,” junior linebacker
To view a slideshow from the game, click here.