If you consider the mantra of “Any Given Sunday”, the thought that any team can beat another, and Not For Long, to describe the potential for success and a career to come to pass in an instant in the NFL, then it’s worth considering that NCAA must surely be an acronym for Never Count Against Anyone?! The unpredictability of the game is just one of the many reasons thousands of people pack stadiums all over America every weekend from early September till late December and for the lucky few into playoff season. Everybody loves to see an upset, unless it’s your team on the receiving end of said upset!
Which brings me to Saturday night.
At 5115 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk, Virginia lies Foreman Field home of the Old Dominion University Monarchs. Despite first being formed as a team in the ‘30s under the guise of William and Mary Norfolk Division Braves (catchy name) the current ODU Monarchs have only been in existence since 2009 and although they’ve recorded winning conference seasons and a 2016 Bahamas Bowl victory they are hardly a team on the lips of college football fans across America let alone the world.
Carrying an 0-3 record in to a game against 13th ranked Virginia Tech, off to a 2-1 start to, doesn’t lend itself to much hopes of victory either and after a 38-0 trouncing in the same fixture last year, ODU went in to the game with no one giving them a chance.
60 game time minutes and one backup QB later and you have the story of the greatest football upset this season, if not in any sports. Virginia Tech took the lead through a 87 yard Steven Peoples (20 rushes, 156 yards, 2 TD) run but ODU bounced back with a 14 yard touchdown pass from LaRussa who had come off the bench for the second series of the game. The game went back and forth with Virginia Tech taking the lead and ODU tying it up until the Monarchs took their first lead of the game with a bruising 15 yard run from running back Jeremy Cox to make it 28-35. Two minutes later and a 13 yard touchdown reception from Virginia’s Chris Cunningham had the game all square. The usually strong Virginia Tech defence couldn’t hold the Monarchs at bay and a touchdown pass from LaRussa (30/49, 495 yards, 4 TDs) and another powerful running touchdown from Cox with just a minute to go ended the game, sent the 20,000 fans inside Foreman Field on to Foreman Field, and put the nation on upset alert!
It might not have been the shock of Appalachian State going in to the Big House and turning over Michigan in 2007, or had the last second excitement of “The Play” but it certainly showed that anything can still happen on “Any Given Saturday”
This guest piece was written by Oli Hodgkinson who is a Patriots and Boston College Eagles fan. He has followed the game since 2010 thanks to his brother who introduced him to the game via Madden. You can follow Oli on Twitter at @OJHodgkinson.
picture from cbssports.com