The Tribe takes on Old Dominion Saturday for the first time in school history. In preparation for this historic matchup, we will be running some online content this week from the Monarchs’ perspective to get a better look at what the game means to both schools. First up, a game preview taken, with permission, from the Old Dominion student newspaper “The Mace & Crown.”
By Ben Decowski
The Old Dominion Monarchs will welcome the William and Mary Tribe to Foreman field on Saturday September 18th as both teams try to add a “W” to the win column. The game will mark the first meeting between the two teams.
The ODU Monarchs and their fans will be hungry for a home win considering the fact that the Monarchs lost their first home game of the season against Jacksonville. William and Mary also lost their first game which was on the road against Massachusetts 27-23.
In the season opener, Monarch redshirted junior quarterback Thomas Demarco threw for a career high 334 yards and two touchdowns. Demarco also threw three interceptions in the first game. The ODU wide receivers will have to work harder on developing a better rapport with their quarterback to cut back on the turnovers if they want to beat the Tribe. Demarco did have a good connection with junior wide receiver Prentice Gill though, connecting six times for 79 yards and a touchdown.
William and Mary’s senior quarterback Mike Callahan threw for 221 yards and two touchdowns against Massachusetts with one interception of his own. Junior tight end Alex Gottlieb was his favorite target with 7 catches for 70 yards.
Both teams had about the same number of rushing yards in their first games with ODU picking up 127 yards while William and Mary rushed for 113 yards.
It is clear that if ODU wants to win this game it is going to be on the back of quarterback Thomas Demarco and the Monarch receivers. Not to be a knock on ODU’s rushing game but the true threat of the Monarchs is definitely Demarco because of his duel threat ability. Demarco has the ability to scramble and he can do it very effectively. In the 2009 season he rushed for 892 yards.
William and Mary currently ranks 8th in passing defense and 9th in total defense in the CAA. Old Dominion had four sacks against Jacksonville in the season opener and one interception but also surrendered 35 points to the Dolphins.
Something to keep in mind is that ODU is an independent team right now and does not belong to the Colonial Athletic Association until the start of next season. William and Mary is already a part of the CAA so the team has played at a higher level of competition than the Monarchs but that is not to say that the Monarchs are completely out of their league.
If the Monarchs lose it will be two early blows and a disappointing start for ODU following up an incredible 9-2 record in the team’s first year. If they win however, it could be a defining victory for the season.
So considering William and Mary was 11-3 last season in a better conference with a higher level of competition, they do seem to be the favorite even though it is a home game for the Monarchs. It is a big and exciting game for ODU though because it can serve as a measuring stick for the young new football program that will be joining William and Mary in the CAA next season.