Wednesday, April 24, 2024

ODU Shocks No. 10/13 Virginia Tech, 49-35

Blake LaRussa threw for 495 yards and four touchdowns. (Southside Daily photo/Courtesy of Chuck Thomas, ODU Athletics)
Blake LaRussa threw for 495 yards and four touchdowns. (HNNDaily photo/Courtesy of Chuck Thomas, ODU Athletics)

In front of a record crowd of 20,532, Old Dominion University football stunned No. 10/13 Virginia Tech 49-35 Saturday night in Norfolk.

Junior quarterback Blake LaRussa entered the game in ODU’s second offensive series and threw for 495-yards, four touchdowns and rushed for one.

The win is ODU’s first over a power-five opponent since restarting football in 2009.

After Virginia Tech tied the score at 35, the Monarchs retook the lead on a 29-yard touchdown pass from LaRussa to Jonathan Duhart to give ODU a 42-35 lead with five minutes remaining.

The Hokies drove to the ODU 21 but a fourth down pass from Willis fell incomplete. The Monarchs iced the game with a 40-yard touchdown run from Jeremy Cox for a 49-35 final.

Chamarri Conner got the scoring started for Tech with an 87-yard touchdown run one play after an ODU punt to put the Hokies up 7-0.

ODU tied the score on its following drive, going 75-yards in six plays capped by a 14-yard touchdown pass from LaRussa to Duhart. The big play on the drive was a 20-yard scramble by LaRussa and a 37-yard completion from LaRussa to Hasaan Patterson.

The Hokies took the lead with a Josh Jackson to Sean Savoy touchdown 28-yard touchdown pass midway through the second quarter.

The Monarchs made it a 14-14 game at halftime with a four-yard score from LaRussa to Duhart.

Steven Peoples helped Tech to a 21-14 lead with a one-yard score early in the third quarter, but the Monarchs came right back with a 65-yard drive capped by a one-yard run from LaRussa to tie the score at 21.

Damon Hazleton took Tech’s first play of their following drive for a 72-yard touchdown catch, but once again ODU hung around with a 25-yard strike from LaRussa to Fulgham to once again knot the score at 28.

ODU forced Virginia Tech into a three and out, ODU took its first lead of the night on a 15-yard run from Cox. LaRussa to Duhart for 27-yards set up the touchdown run.ODU’s win marks the first time a Conference USA team has knocked off a ranked opponent since Houston defeated No. 22 Penn State in 2012.

John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo
John Mangalonzo ( is the managing editor of Local Voice Media’s Virginia papers – WYDaily (Williamsburg), Southside Daily (Virginia Beach) and HNNDaily (Hampton-Newport News). Before coming to Local Voice, John was the senior content editor of The Bellingham Herald, a McClatchy newspaper in Washington state. Previously, he served as city editor/content strategist for USA Today Network newsrooms in St. George and Cedar City, Utah. John started his professional journalism career shortly after graduating from Lyceum of The Philippines University in 1990. As a rookie reporter for a national newspaper in Manila that year, John was assigned to cover four of the most dangerous cities in Metro Manila. Later that year, John was transferred to cover the Philippine National Police and Armed Forces of the Philippines. He spent the latter part of 1990 to early 1992 embedded with troopers in the southern Philippines as they fought with communist rebels and Muslim extremists. His U.S. journalism career includes reporting and editing stints for newspapers and other media outlets in New York City, California, Texas, Iowa, Utah, Colorado and Washington state.

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