Old Dominion and UTSA opened C-USA competition with what was one of the sloppiest games of the year thus far.
Both teams struggled on offense and defense alike, with a particular emphasis on poor special teams play.
UTSA started the game with three consecutive three and outs as starting quarterback Dalton Sturm went 0 for 4 and got sacked twice. He would finish the day 8 for 17 with 103 yards and an interception, getting benched in the third quarter for second-string graduate transfer Jared Johnson.
UTSA’s best quarterback was wide receiver Brady Jones, who threw a reverse pass to Johnson in the third quarter for an 8-yard touchdown. It was his only pass and the Roadrunners’ final score of the day.
On the other side of the ball, Old Dominion quarterback David Washington went 21 for 35 with 207 yards and two touchdowns. UTSA’s pass defense was carved to pieces as open looks were available by the boat load for Washington.
The Monarchs were able to move the ball downfield with ease through their run game as well. Sophomore running back Jeremy Cox carried the ball 22 times for a career-high 103 yards and two touchdowns. All together ODU gained 238 yards on the ground to bring their total to 445 on the day.
In addition to their high efficiency offense, Old Dominion forced two takeaways on UTSA and capitalized on both. The first of which may have been the play that decided the game. With a one point lead in the second quarter, Sturm forced a pass into the endzone that was intercepted by ODU’s Brandon Addison. ODU would drive the turnover downfield and score their second touchdown of the day with 26 seconds remaining in the half.
Sturm fumbled the ball on the opening play of the second half while attempting a hand-off to running back Jarveon Williams. ODU recovered the ball on UTSA’s 23-yard line to setup another touchdown.
UTSA also gave a lot of help to the Monarchs via penalties, with a total of 8 for 69 yards.
UTSA’s sole upside was the delayed emergence of their run game. Running backs Jalen Rhodes and Jarveon Williams combined for 161 yards on the ground, a number that probably would have been enough for the win had the Roadrunners played cleanly in other facets of the game.
The Monarchs didn’t turn the ball over a single time and gained 27 first downs to control the ball for 32 minutes and beat the Roadrunners to get a leg up on conference competition.
Old Dominion will travel to face a struggling Charlotte program next week while the Roadrunners will lick their wounds over a bye week before facing Southern Mississippi in San Antonio.