NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – It’s cliche to say, but Saturday evening’s ending was almost that of a Hollywood script. Taylor Heinicke, the senior quarterback and one of the most decorated gunslingers in Virginia state history, hits another quarterback for the game-winning touchdown in overtime to upset a heavily favored Louisiana Tech 30-27 on Senior Day.
And how Heinicke can ride off into the sunset…
Not quite yet.
The story might have a sequel if ODU (5-6, 3-4) can find a win down in the Sunshine State against Florida Atlantic on Saturday. “If we can go to Florida next week and win that game and get to six wins, we’re a bowl team,” said Head Coach Bobby Wilder, after his team’s dramatic home finale.
Not to be forgotten was Wilder’s interesting strategy and the play of his normally much maligned defense. Facing a 24-14 deficit at halftime, Wilder decided on something that might have seemed inconceivable for his normally lightening-fast offense…he slowed it down.
“I think we had the ball for 14 minutes in the third quarter, if I’m not mistaken, and they only ran four plays in the third quarter,” explained Wilder, “That flipped the game around. That flipped the momentum.” After giving up 24 points in the first half, the Monarchs yielded a mere three in the final two quarters.
“That was the best they’ve played since I’ve been here. They won that game for us,” said Heinicke, who completed 29-of-38 for 302 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions.
The Monarchs caused two turnovers of their own; a first-quarter fumble, and a crucial interception by Reggie Owens in overtime that set up Heinicke and the offense for the winning score.
Wilder called a run play, but Heinicke read blitz, changed the play at the last second, and threw to sophomore quarterback-turned-receiver David Washington for the game-winner.
“Being a quarterback when I first got here, I never thought I would catch the winning touchdown to win the Oyster bowl,” said Washington.
“Just with everything David’s been through. how much we’ve worked together this offseason, for him to be a receiver, it was a great way to go out, and in overtime,” said Heinicke, “This was the first overtime I’ve ever had here, first time ODU’s ever had here, and it was awesome.”
One more win, and the Monarchs, playing their first ever full FBS schedule, could be playing postseason football.