Old Dominion set off an earthquake that rocked the world of college football Saturday. The Monarchs, who entered their home game against Virginia Tech as a four-touchdown underdog and without a win this season, shocked just about everyone -- no one more than the No. 13 Hokies -- with a 49-35 win in Norfolk.
Monarchs backup quarterback Blake LaRussa may have earned himself the starting job after a 495-yard, four-touchdown performance in which he completed 30 of 49 pass attempts. Senior wide receiver Travis Fulgham caught nine of those passes for 188 yards and a score, while senior running back Jeremy Cox carried 20 times for 130 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The win by Old Dominion, a Football Bowl Subdivision school that once canceled its football program only to reinstate it in 2009, marked the first victory for a Conference USA team over a ranked nonconference opponent in 53 tries, and was the biggest upset by an FBS team in the 14 years of ESPN’s Football Power Index predictions. Old Dominion entered with a 1.8 percent chance of winning, per that ESPN FPI.
What made the result even more unusual were the paths each team took to get to Norfolk on Saturday afternoon. The Hokies, who didn’t play last week because of Hurricane Florence, beat Florida State in Tallahassee to open the season, then smoked William & Mary, 62-17, in Week 2. By contrast, the Monarchs were blown out by Liberty (!!!), 52-10, in their season opener, though they have been gaining on a win ever since, with close losses to Florida International and Charlotte.
At any rate, the game is now in the books and won’t likely soon be forgotten by either side. As is often the case in situations like these, Twitter was the place to be for reactions to one of the upsets of the year.