Old Dominion faces another in-state foe in Virginia

Sep 10, 2022; Greenville, North Carolina, USA;  Old Dominion Monarchs quarterback Hayden Wolff (11) throws the ball against the East Carolina Pirates during the first half at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Old Dominion aims to knock off another in-state neighbor on Saturday afternoon when it faces Virginia in Charlottesville.

The Monarchs (1-1) have had success against the state’s other Power Five program, Virginia Tech, beating the Hokies for the second time in five seasons on Sept. 2 in Norfolk.

Old Dominion has only faced the Cavaliers (1-1) once before, leading late before losing 28-17 to a 21st-ranked Virginia team on its previous visit to Charlottesville on Sept. 21, 2019.

“That makes the games so exciting,” Monarchs coach Ricky Rahne said of playing another regional rival. “Then, it becomes about managing our own emotions and expectations a little bit and that’s what we’ve got to continue to focus on.”

The ODU offense is led by Hayden Wolff, who has passed for 440 yards, three touchdowns and an interception so far this season. Top target Ali Jennings III leads the nation with 322 receiving yards on 13 catches (24.8-yard average) and has caught all three of Wolff’s TD tosses.

The Monarchs — who moved from Conference USA to the Sun Belt this season — followed up the season-opening win against Virginia Tech with a 39-21 loss last Saturday at East Carolina. The Pirates’ Holton Ahlers passed for 270 yards and two touchdowns.

Old Dominion will face another veteran, left-handed quarterback in Virginia’s Brennan Armstrong, whose school-record streak of 18 consecutive games with at least one TD pass ended last Saturday in a 24-3 loss at Illinois.

The Cavaliers managed 222 yards of offense against the Illini, their fewest in a game since 2017 — and 62 came on one play, a catch by Lavel Davis Jr.

“All the things that I saw in the game are correctable,” first-year UVA coach Tony Elliott said. “I’ve got to challenge the staff, myself and the players to make sure that we own the mistakes, that we don’t point fingers, that we don’t try and pass the blame on anybody else, but look at the man in the mirror. If we do that, we’ll learn from this experience and hopefully it’ll make us better going forward.”

–Field Level Media

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