NC State vs. Old Dominion Preview

Where: Carter-Finley Stadium (Raleigh, NC)
Kickoff: 6:00 pm

This is Old Dominion’s first year as an FBS program and they’ve hitched their wagon to Conference USA. Strangely enough ODU mothballed their program back in 1940 and only resurrected it 5 years ago in 2009. ODU’s Head Coach is Bobby Wilder, who’s in his sixth year at the school (the first year was spent recruiting and building the program before playing in 2009). Like every other school today they run the spread offense with a 4-3 defense with a hybrid LB. Last year the Monarch’s went 1-4 against FBS opponents, the worst being a drumming at the hands of UNC losing 80-20, while the lone win was against Idaho. The Monarch’s do return 14 starters from last year (4 Off, 10 Def) so there is experience but as I’ll cover later, and what we know as State fans, experience doesn’t equal good.


Up-temp offense after two cups of coffee; that’s what ODU has described it as the past few years. It’s a constant high pace offense to keep defenses from switching personnel and looking at the defensive alignment for potential weak spots to exploit. For several years they have depended on this style thanks in large part to their talented Quarterback, Senior Taylor Heinicke. With the move to the FBS level, Coach Wilder is tweaking the offense to dedicate more to the run to try and off-set the likely reduction in big plays downfield due to bigger, more talented secondaries.

Expect a solid performance from Heinicke, smart decisions to prevent turnovers, high completion percentage, and reading defensive alignments to keep the chains moving while picking his moments to strike big. The increase in running will turn to several players but if Week 1 against Hampton is any indication, then expect to see a lot of Sophomore RB Gerard Johnson, who ran for 137 yards against the Pirates. One reason the Monarch’s may be focusing more on the run this season is because of the step up in competition. Another reason may be due to the youth in their receiving corps. Of their 19 receivers listed on their depth chart for the State game, 13 are in their first or second year. Only one player, R-Sr Antonio Vaughan, is an upperclassman. Heinicke spread the ball around against Hampton where Zach Pascal, Vaughan, Nick England, Melvin Vaughn, and RB Cam Boyd all caught at least 3 passes. Expect to see ODU attack State’s soft pass defense often.

ODU Players to Watch (OFFENSE)

#14 QB – Taylor Heinicke (SR) 6-1 213: Against Hampton Heinicke was 29-40-2 for 281 yds & 3 TDs. Heinicke passed for +4000 yds and 33 TDS in 2013, 10 TDs came against FBS competition. Heinicke has passed for over 11,000 yards and rushed for over 1,000 yards in his career, only 11 other players have ever done this at the Div. 1 level.

#30 RB – Gerard Johnson (SO) 5-9 194: Johnson rushed for 137 yards on 22 carries and 1 TD for a 6.23 YPC.

#31 RB – Cam Boyd (SR) 5-6 171: Rushed for 37 yds on 4 carries with 2 TDs and caught 4 passes for 18 yds against Hampton.

#5 WR – Antonio Vaughan (R-SR) 5-8 172: Against Hampton he had 5 catches for 79 yds and 1 TD (15.8 YPC). Entering the 2014 season, for his career, Vaughan has 167 catches for 2248 yds and 21 TDs (13.5 YPC).

#6 WR – Zach Pascal (R-SO) 6-2 211: Against Hampton 8 catches for 99 yds and 2 TDs. (12.4 YPC)

#7 WR – Nick England (R-SO) 6-0 185: England is a transfer from Florida International, playing his first season with ODU. Against Hampton England had 4 catches for 39 yds.


While NC State’s defense will be facing another quality, experienced QB and a balanced attack, State’s Offense won’t have the same problem. This may be just the game this offense needs to get things clicking and build some confidence. ODU returns 10 starters on defense but if those starters weren’t very good last year, especially against FBS opponents, then how much better could they be this year? In 2013, against FBS opponents, ODU gave up on average 50.4 PPG. That’s not what I would call a stout defense.

ODU’s offense may be experiencing a youth movement but the defense isn’t, at least with the their starters. The backups on the other hand are mostly in their second season. ODU’s defense also has some JUCO transfers this season to help with the transition to FBS level competition and some have cracked the starting lineup, DE Poncho Barnwell and OLB Martez Simpsom. ODU may have listed a 4-3 base D but one of their OLB is a hybrid, which allows easier transition while on the field to a nickel package, and defends against a spread offense. Free Safety Fellonte Misher is the leading tackler from 2013 where he had 95 tackles. Just as ODU’s Offensive Line is small for FBS standards, so is the Defensive Line and is their weakest point.

ODU Players to Watch (DEFENSE)

#24 FS – Fellonte Misher (JR) 6-2 207: Misher lead ODU with 95 tackles in 2013 and had 2 INTs in 2013. ODU is looking for a leader on the defensive side of the field and Misher is the obvious choice.

#25 ROVER – Andre Simmons (SR) 6-0 211: Simmons was second on the team in 2013 with 78 tackles.

#41 MLB – Richie Staton (SO) 6-1 230: Staton doesn’t start, he’s actually DJ Simon’s backup, but last year Staton was fourth on ODU with 72 tackles and lead the Monarch’s in Tackles For Loss (TFL) with 10.5 and Sacks (4).

#42 MLB – DJ Simon (SR) 6-1 222: Simon is the starting MLB but recorded only 39 tackles in 2013. He also had 6.5 TFL and led ODU with 3 INTs last year.

#96 DE Terrell Reid (R-SO) 6-2 267: Reid is a backup DE but last year he recorded 31 tackles, 6.5 TFL, an 3 sacks. Expect to see him as the biggest presence on the DL when he’s in the game.


The Pack should be able to easily move the ball against the ODU defense. If it can’t things are worse than we feared and it’s going to be a long night and season. On the other side of the ball this should be a telling night for State’s defense, where ODU may not be a top notch offense in the country; they are still capable of scoring with a good QB. If the Pack defense has truly improved during the off-season then they shouldn’t have a problem out scoring ODU and essentially cover the spread. On the other hand, if the Pack’s defense is as bad as I fear it is, well let’s just say Saturday night will be good for fantasy teams and we’ll have a shootout on our hands.


NC State 38, ODU 31

About 1.21 Jigawatts

Class of '98, Mechanical Engineer, State fan since arriving on campus and it's been a painful ride ever since. I live by the Law of NC State Fandom, "For every Elation there is an equal and opposite Frustration."

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Home Forums NC State vs. Old Dominion Preview

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  • #55527

    4 things I am not worried about finding out:

    Is Jacoby a D1 QB? Yes
    Is the team well conditioned? Yes
    Does this team have character? Yes
    Will this team get better as underclassmen get experience? Yes

    3 things I am concerned about:

    Do we know if our OL is ‘Studly’?
    Are our LB’s up to ACC standards?
    Will our secondary jell?

    If I were an ODU coach or player, I would be worried that the Wolfpack defense is pissed off and wanted to take it out on ODU. More worried about that than the offense continuing to improve and we couldn’t stop ’em. And as Mr. DOG said, how much is the Pack going to keep under wraps?


    I know our OL ain’t studly. I am hoping for confident.

    Mostly agree with other points listed above. Brissett is definitely a vast improvement over what we had.


    I just hope our OL is at least sturdy, if not studly.


    Okay. How about this. Will the OL hopefully overachieve?


    Jigawatts’ statement about State having a severe lack of talent, I think, cuts to the chase as far as the “state” of Wolfpack football since CTC departed.

    No defense of Amato is intended, but since Tom O’Brien was hired as our HC, we have had little if any significant talent, with little hope on the horizon in my opinion.

    I really don’t have a strong opinion of Coach Doeren one way or another at this point, but as I head out to the stadium this afternoon, I’m not expecting much from us except that we should beat down a physically inferior team. Just how long it’ll take remains to be seen, but I look for it to be decided before halftime.

    Just watching Oklahoma run up a 31-0 lead at Tulsa makes me long for a return of real football at CF. I wonder how that would feel again? Not that we’ve ever on Oklahoma’s level, but I’m just wondering how it would feel to at least get back to the point of pounding the cupcakes again rather than struggling against almost every opponent we face.


    Yeah, chuckles had talent, it was just all DL and positionless “athletes.”

    Plus, they were pretty much uncoached because Amato.

    Also, I meant to say “competent” for OL. Forgive me all my typos, tis the day after foot surgery, and I is high.

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