Tigers dominated by Monarchs
Old Dominion avenged last year’s homecoming defeat, handing the Tigers 31-20 (3-4, 2-2 Colonial Athletic Association) their second conference loss of the season Saturday.
Sophomore running back Terrance West did not play but was standing on the sideline the whole game.
“Terrance had an extremely severe loss in his family this week,” Ambrose said. “He was in no way shape or form ready to go.”
Though it is unclear when the decision to not play West was made, Monarchs’ Head Coach Bobby Wilder said that he found out shortly before the game.
“We didn’t make any changes or adjustments,” Wilder said. “I didn’t say anything to the players. I didn’t make an announcement about it because I felt that they had some really good backs also and we knew [senior quarterback Grant] Enders was going to be a load running the ball based on what he did last week against Maine.”
Senior Dominique Booker replaced West at running back and had 38 yards on 10 carries.
The Monarchs (6-1, 3-1 CAA) jumped to a 10-point lead early in the first quarter.
Following Old Dominion’s opening 61-yard field goal drive, Fred Credle popped Towson’s Derrick Joseph on the ensuing kickoff and forced the ball loose. The Monarchs recovered the fumble and only took seconds to capitalize on the Tigers’ early turnover.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke connected with Antonio Vaughan in the end zone to extend Old Dominion’s early lead.
Throughout the game, the Monarchs used a hurry-up offense to throw off the Tigers’ defensive rhythm.
Before the Tigers ran on offensive play, Old Dominion had run 17 plays and had 10 points on the scoreboard.
“We were trying to push the tempo,” Wilder said. “We put a couple of calls in where we tried to go even faster, we tried to catch them. We noticed that they were running some calls off of a wristband, defensively, some of their blitzes, so we were trying to push the tempo even more until the end.”
Heinicke completed 26 of 39 pass attempts for 264 yards with an interception and touchdown and was Old Dominion’s leading rusher with 71 yards and two touchdowns on the ground.
“I haven’t seen anybody yet that has stopped that kid and I don’t think anybody is going to,” Ambrose said. “I don’t think there is a quarterback out there that I’ve seen so far on film that has mastery over his offense like that kid does.”
Late in the fourth quarter, sophomore cornerback Tye Smith picked off Heinicke in the end zone.
The interception is Towson’s first of the season.
“When you look at [the Tigers] statistically, they’re leading the league in fewest yards allowed,” Wilder said. “I felt like this was going to be a tough game. I had said to Taylor this week was going to be a major challenge, and he knew it, our guys knew it. I thought his performance was outstanding. The interception was one of those when you have faith in your receiver, you put the ball up there, and our receiver got chewed up and spit out on that route. The corner did an excellent job.”
For the second week in a row, Enders led Towson in both rushing and passing.
Enders had 94 yards and a touchdown on the ground while completing 26 of 41 pass attempts for 290 yards and both a touchdown and interception.
Towson chipped away at a 25-point deficit late in the third quarter, but the game was too far out of reach.
The Tigers were down by 11 with less than five minutes remaining in the game in the red zone in a 4th-and-4 situation when Enders floated the ball up to senior wide receiver Tom Ryan. The ball slipped off of Ryan’s fingertips in the corner of the end zone.
The Monarchs ran out the remaining 4:26 on the clock to seal the win.