No ‘Middle’ ground: ODU throttled by Middle Tennessee, ensured of losing season

Posted at 6:41 PM, Oct 27, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-27 23:46:30-04

Old Dominion quarterback Blake LaRussa fumbles vs. MTSU

NORFOLK, Va. - Old Dominion is bowl-ed over and done.

Saturday, the Monarchs (2-and-7, 1-and-5 C-USA) were dismantled by Middle Tennessee State (5-and-3, 4-and-1 C-USA) 51-17 at Foreman Field to ensure ODU of its second straight losing season. The Monarchs, who went 5-and-7 in 2017, will suffer back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in program history.

The Blue Raiders led 31-10 at halftime thanks, in part, to a pair of crippling ODU turnovers inside the MTSU 20 yard line. On consecutive possessions, Monarchs quarterback Blake LaRussa fumbled on the MTSU 17 yard line and then threw an interception in the Blue Raiders end zone. The interception was returned 100 yards for a TD by Reed Blankenship to put MTSU ahead 31-10.

ODU head football coach Bobby Wilder

For the game, ODU outgained MTSU 520 yards to 488 yards. However, nine penalties and five turnovers (two fumbles, three interceptions) were the difference in the game.

Travis Fulgham had a career day offensively for the Monarchs. Fulgham hauled in 10 receptions for 215 yards and a touchdown. Kesean Strong ran for 108 yards on the ground and LaRussa completed 26-of-35 passes for 333 yards and two touchdowns in addition to his three interceptions.

ODU, a program that went 10-and-3 in 2016 with a victory in the Bahamas Bowl, the program's first ever bowl game appearance, have three games remaining in 2018. Following a bye week, the Monarchs host North Texas on November 10th and VMI on November 17th, before concluding their season November 24th at Rice.

Bobby Wilder's Year-By-Year Record (thru 2017)
Year: School: Record: Conf./Finish: Postseason:
2009 Old Dominion 9-2 --
2010 Old Dominion 8-3 --
2011 Old Dominion 10-3 6-2/T-2nd NCAA Second Round
2012 Old Dominion 11-2 7-1/1st NCAA Quarterfinals
2013 Old Dominion 8-4 --
2014 Old Dominion 6-6 4-4
2015 Old Dominion 5-7 3-5
2016 Old Dominion 10-3 7-1 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
2017 Old Dominion 5-7 3-5
Totals:  72-37 (.661)   30-18 (.625)    3 Appearances