ODU's Duane brings international flavor to Myrtle Beach Bowl

Ethan Duane
Posted at 11:01 PM, Dec 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-14 23:01:54-05

NORFOLK, VA (WTKR)- Mebourne, Australia, isn't your typical football hotbed, but Old Dominion punter Ethan Duane is representing his native land well. His crew back in the land down under has noticed the Monarchs' turnaround that has put Duane on the path to the postseason.

"It really only hit me the last few days when we've had a little time off and we started getting back to practice," the freshman punter said. "I had some comments from family and friends about the start of the season and what we turned it into."

Of course, the Monarch offense being at its best means that Duane will not be all that busy, but that's what everyone is hoping for when Old Dominion takes on Tulsa in Monday's Myrtle Beach Bowl. It will be a good chance for the silver and blue to experience some December football, an opportunity that didn't look all that likely back in the middle of October.

"It means the world," Duane said of ODU's bowl qualification. "It just shows that everyone's been doing their job, working hard. There's ups and downs through the season, always, regardless of who you are, but I feel like we've had a bit more turmoil than most people, given how our season got taken and we've had a lot of time off practicing."

The Monarchs' journey is well-documented. After a 1-11 season in 2019, Old Dominion's season was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic. This year saw the squad start out 1-6 before turning a corner and catching fire, winning five straight games to end the campaign and earn a bowl berth. Ricky Rahne's club has not lost since October 16, when Western Kentucky topped the Monarchs at S.B. Ballard Stadium. ODU is one of only three teams to ever win at least six games after a 1-6 start.

"All that hard work is paying off," Duane pointed out. "We're starting to come together and we're getting what we need to do done."

The freshman punter and his teammates depart on Thursday morning for Myrtle Beach where the Monarchs will practice and spend some time around town between then and Monday's kickoff. While Duane is looking forward to the game and a hopeful win, he's also excited about whatever experiences the trip may bring.

"It's a first for me, I know it's a first for a lot of the new freshmen and, honestly, I'm not sure what we've got in store down there, but I'm going to enjoy every minute of it."

The goal- win the game and come back to Norfolk with a bowl victory. It would be a feat that would not only make Old Dominion fans proud, but a group of people on the other side of the world cheering on a freshman with a powerful leg.

"Being an international from Australia, I can't say many people back home have ever seen a friend, son, whoever it is play in a bowl game and especially bring a ring back," smiled Duane. "I'm pretty excited to get back there and show them all what I've got."

Old Dominion and Tulsa kick off on Monday at 2:30 PM. Be sure to catch reports from News 3 from Myrtle Beach on air and online beginning Friday.