Old Dominion Monarchs (Sun Belt) vs Virginia Tech Hokies (ACC)
Time and Date: 7:00 PM ET, September 2
Broadcast Network: ESPNU
Location: S.B. Ballard Stadium - Norfolk, VA
Spread: VA Tech - 7*
Point Total: O/U 48*
ESPN FPI: VA Tech 66.3%
All-Time Series: The Hokies and the Monarchs have met three times before with Virginia Tech winning two. Their last meeting came in 2019 when the Hokies won 39-17 in Blacksburg. Old Dominion’s only win in the series came in 2019 under Bobby Wilder when the Monarchs took it 49-35.
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
The Old Dominion Monarchs were excited to jump from C-USA to the Sun Belt this summer. The excitement continues as they open the season at home against an in-state, Power Five opponent. Ricky Rahne begins his second season at the helm in his third year with the team. The Monarchs did not play in 2020 and finished 2021 with a 6-7 record. The season ended in a loss to Tulsa at the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Understandably after sitting the entire program out a full year, ODU didn’t start playing their best football until the second half of last season. They won their last five games of the regular season.
Key to ODU’s game plan will be redshirt sophomore quarterback Hayden Wolff. Standing at 6’5” and weighing 235 pounds, Wolff is an imposing figure that’s only going to get better. He threw ten TDs with seven interceptions in 2021 while completing 62.8% of his passes for 1933 yards.
Look for Wolff to connect plenty of times with tight end Zack Kuntz. Kuntz was a first-team All-Conference USA selection last season with 73 receptions: the second most in the nation among tight ends. Kuntz also caught five touchdowns last season and was ODU’s leading receiver in nine of their thirteen contests.
The Monarchs have the tools to surprise some people after being picked to finish last in the Sun Belt East in the conference’s media poll.
For those who followed Old Dominion’s time in Conference USA, a very familiar face will be Virginia Tech’s QB1. Former Marshall quarterback Grant Wells will get the start at quarterback for the Hokies. VA Tech’s 2021 QB1, Braxton Burmeister, is now at San Diego State.
Wells was not exceptionally accurate with his previous team, so it should be interesting to see to what extent he has improved.
The Hokies have two strong linebackers in Alan Tisdale and Dax Hollifield, but it remains to be seen if they have brought back enough depth in the defensive line and in the backfield to be competitive in the ACC.
Maybe I’m crazy, but I really like Old Dominion’s chances to pull the upset here. VA Tech is a team that’s rebuilding, they have some big questions in the backfield, and hiccups can be expected in the first game with a new coach. If the offense does their thing and the defense catches a few breaks, Old Dominion wins this by ten.