While the Old Dominion Monarchs walked off the field 41-28 winners over the Hampton Pirates in their first game as an FBS program, they certainly were treated to a fight by a pesky FCS squad that entered the day with a new head coach and with aspirations of spoiling a big day for the home team.
And they would actually be tied with the Pirates, 7-7, until midway through the 2nd when Taylor Heinicke found Zach Pascal from five yards out to make it 14-7. That would be the first of 21 unanswered for the Monarchs as the ODU offense began to find its groove. Hampton would add a score just before the break to make it 28-14, but the Monarchs were able to get it back early in the 3rd on a 41-yard touchdown reception by Antonio Vaughan. The two teams traded touchdowns over the remainder of the game as ODU was able to hold off the Pirates to ultimately pick up the victory.
It wasn't Heinicke's best game (29-40, 281 yards, three TDs, two interceptions), but he was efficient enough to make plays when he needed to. That was despite being outdueled by Hampton's Jaylian Williamson (32-45, 407 yards, three TDs, one pick) today. A few areas where the Monarchs shone: running and stopping the run–as they held an 188-9 edge in that department–getting to the quarterback, sacking Williamson six times; and winning the turnover battle (four to two).
While the Monarchs are 1-0 to start the young season, it wasn't a perfect win by any stretch of the imagination. There's definitely some things to work on before the team heads up to Raleigh to take on N.C. State a week from today.