Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#329 ODU vs.
#330 Virginia
Saturday, September 21, 2019 at 7:00pm EDT
Written by Ricky Dimon



#329 Old Dominion University
#330 University of Virginia


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The undefeated Virginia Cavaliers head back to non-conference action for a home date with the Old Dominion Monarchs at Scott Stadium on Saturday night.

Lightning doesn’t strike twice

Old Dominion, which had last week off after falling 31-17 at Virginia Tech, has lost eight straight road contests to Power Five schools by an average of 30 points. That is not to say, however, that the Monarchs are hopeless. After all, they famously upset the Hokies just one season earlier. That came via a 49-35 decision when Virginia Tech was ranked 13th in the nation. This time around, ODU trailed 17-3 at halftime and pulled within 24-17 early in the fourth quarter following QB Stone Smartt’s second touchdown run, but the Hokies scored less than two minutes later to restore a two-score cushion. Smartt completed 16 of 30 passes for 122 yards and rushed for 48 more and two scores. Lala Davis rushed for a career-high 81 yards on 11 carries.

“Offensively, it was really the tale of two halves,” head coach Bobby Wilder noted. “We had 24 plays for 70 yards in the first half, and really it all came on that first drive, the field goal. After that, we just couldn’t get anything going…. Then we came out in the second half and we ran 49 plays for 254 yards. We converted three times on fourth down in the second half.”

Bryce is nice

Virginia’s Bryce Perkins is quickly emerging as one of the top quarterbacks in the ACC. The senior transfer from Arizona State engineered a comeback 31-24 win over Florida State last week and will now hope to avoid a letdown against Old Dominion–marking the first-ever meeting between the in-state schools. Virginia scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter against the Seminoles, including two in the final 6:02 as Perkins went 17-of-19 in the second half–including 16 consecutive completions after the break. Perkins completed 30 of 41 passes (both career highs) for 295 yards with one TD to go along with 46 rushing yards.

“How do you stop him?” asked fourth-year head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who has the Cavaliers 3-0 for the first time since 2005. “We’re not growing the program at the rate we’re growing it without Bryce Perkins. He plays within the system really well and he plays outside the system really well, and we need both.”

Wayne Taulapapa, a 5’9” sophomore running back who missed Virginia’s Sept. 6 win over William & Mary with an injury, had 18 carries for 53 yards and a career-high three touchdowns.

“I love Wayne,” Mendenhall said. “His heart, his consistency, his trustworthiness, how physical he is, how mature he is. The combination between him and Bryce in the short-yardage situations, they just wouldn’t be stopped.”

Linebackers Zane Chandler (25 tackles, five tackles for loss, two sacks) and Jordan Mack (20 tackles, five for loss, four sacks) have combined for 45 tackles and six sacks through three games.

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Virginia is 1-3 against current Conference USA teams with all three losses coming since 2013. The Cavaliers should be able to get the job done this weekend, but it may not be easy. Old Dominion can still take heart from its 2018 upset of Virginia Tech and it played the Hokies close enough two weeks ago. The Monarchs know they can compete with ACC opposition. Moreover, both teams like to keep the ball on the ground. ODU has rushed 82 times this season while attempting just 54 passes. The clock is going to be on the move, which will be a detriment to the Wahoos’ bid to make it a complete blowout.

Prediction: Old Dominion Monarchs

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Joe Reed hauled in career-high eight balls for 83 yards and a touchdown, while Terrell Jana finished with career highs of seven receptions and 85 yards. The Cavaliers racked up 415 total yards of offense and 39:44 in time of possession. That is in large part due to Perkins, who is in complete control of the offense. The over is 5-2 in the Monarchs’ last seven on the road, 6-1 in their last seven against opponents with winning records, and 5-1 in their last six following a loss. It is also 5-2 in the Cavaliers’ last seven overall, 7-2 in their last nine non-conference contests, and 4-1 in their last five following a win. Look for this one to go over the total.

Prediction: Over

Written By Ricky Dimon

A 2006 graduate of Davidson College, Ricky is based in Atlanta, Georgia. Prior to joining the Winners & Whiners Staff, he worked with various websites in the sports handicapping industry and is generally a fan of going with the hot hand while in most cases showing a willingness to take favorites and give the points. Beyond the four major sports, Ricky is an avid tennis fan—and writer—and covers the ATP Tour on a daily basis.