NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – There’s no denying what Saturday meant to Old Dominion University football. Head coach Bobby Wilder acknowledged that, saying his team’s 45-42 upset win at Rice was ” the biggest win in school history.”
Playing in blistering Houston, Texas heat and humidity, the Monarchs found a way to hang on for a thrilling 45-42 win, snapping the Owls’ 9-game home win streak, and more importantly, dethroning the defending Conference USA champion in their first ever Conference USA game.
Wilder says the task for his team now is putting that win in perspective. “”I talked to them in our team meeting on Sunday about perspective,” said Wilder on Monday, “how we beat a team that had five starters out on defense, their best receiver was out, their quarterback dislocated his shoulder the first drive of the game when he threw a touchdown pass, and then didn’t return until the second half.”
Wilder was certainly not diminishing anything his own team had accomplished. In his first conference game, quarterback Taylor Heinicke threw for 430 yards, five touchdowns and rushed for another score. Even though he and the offense built a 35-14 third-quarter lead, and a 42-28 fourth-quarter lead, the defense gave up the tying touchdown with 1:05 left in the game.
Heinicke’s quick-hit offense managed to move things down to the Rice 14, and Wilder milked the clocked down to four seconds, setting up sophomore Ricky Seger’s game-winning 24-yarder.
After a rare Monday practice (which ODU needs to get ready for Friday night’s nationally-televised primetime game against Middle Tennessee at SB Ballard Stadium), Wilder said his team looked a little “sluggish,” and that they needed to pick up the tempo.
Wilder once again brought up that word, and warned his team to take caution.
“I talked a lot about perspective and understanding that we beat a team that was wounded, that was clearly better than us, but we found a way to win it,” said Wilder, “Now we’re going to play another team that’s clearly better than us.”