YPSILANTI, Mich. (AP/WAVY SPORTS) — At Old Dominion’s Media Day, redshirt freshman quarterback Shuler Bentley called it “smart coaching” to hand the ball off to Ray Lawry, the 2014 Conference USA Rookie of the Year.
Did Lawry ever prove that to be a wise statement.
Lawry ran for 223 yards and four touchdowns to lead Old Dominion to a 38-34 come-from-behind win over Eastern Michigan in the season opener for both teams Saturday.
It was hard to ignore the guy behind center. For the first time in four years, Old Dominion played a football game without Taylor Heinicke at quarterback. Bentley completed 18 of 32 passes for 184 yards and a touchdown in his Monarch debut.
Trailing most of the game, Old Dominion twice tied it up on Lawry touchdowns in the third quarter then took the lead — and the game — when the 201-pound sophomore broke away for a 45-yard TD run late in the fourth quarter.
Ahead 38-34 with :25 seconds left to play, it was a true freshman who made the play that sealed the win for ODU. Defensive end Tim Ward batted and then intercepted a Reginald Bell on fourth-and-six, sending his teammates into celebration.
Satchel Ziffer kicked a 20-yard field goal to end the first half.
Eastern Michigan took control early with two touchdowns from Darius Jackson, who ran for 117 yards on 19 carries. Reginald Bell threw two touchdown passes, both to Dustin Creel, and Dylan Mulder kicked two field goals, including a 52-yarder in the fourth quarter.