(WAVY) — Old Dominion is a 29 point underdog in its Saturday afternoon showdown in Blacksburg against 13th ranked Virginia Tech. It will be the Monarchs ninth time playing a team from a Power Five conference. Last week, ODU (2-1) lost at home to North Carolina 53-23. Virginia Tech (3-0) meanwhile, manhandled ECU 64-17 in Greenville. The Monarchs are 0-8 in games against Power Five programs.
17-year-old freshman Steven Williams, the youngest quarterback in FBS, will make his first career start. He entered last week’s game late in the second quarter and played the rest of the game, earning the starting position in the process.
With the odds stacked against his team, coach Bobby Wilder knows his team in for a challenge at Lane Stadium.
“This is clearly the best team we’ve ever played,” Wilder said. “I thought North Carolina was a good team, I think Virginia Tech is a better football team.”
Old Dominion leads the nation with 16 sacks per game, one better than the defending national champions Clemson. The defense will be asked to step up once again on Saturday.
“This is a team that almost beat the national champions in the ACC championship game,” Wilder said. They’ve got Clemson at home next week. They’re good in all three phases. Offensively, they’re close to 500 yards and 40 points (per game). Defensively, it’s typical Bud Foster; under 14 points a game, 46 yards per punt. Everything they do, they do well.”
Wilder has a vote in the Coach’s Poll and he voted the 13th ranked Hokies 11th. Like ODU, Tech has a freshman quarterback, Josh Jackson, a redshirt.
Justin Fuente, in his second season as Hokies head coach, says he’s not looking past ODU and he has a respect for his counterpart.
“The people in this state give Bobby credit,” Fuente said. “I’m not sure he gets enough credit on a national level for the job he’s done at ODU. To literally build that thing from scratch is a fantastic job.”
Kickoff from Lane Stadium is 2:00. The game can be viewed on internet based ESPN 3.