news odu falls to south alabama 27 20 season ends on five game losing streak
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ODU falls to South Alabama, 27-20: Season ends on five-game losing streak

odu footballODU’s 2022 football season started with promise with a stunning win over Virginia Tech. It ended with a thud in a 27-20 loss to South Alabama.

The Monarchs (3-9, 2-6 Sun Belt) wrapped the season with a five-game losing streak, their last win being a 49-21 blowout of nationally ranked Coastal Carolina last month.

Injuries were a key – ODU lost tight end Zack Kuntz and wide receiver Ali Jennings III, two of their top playmakers, and the offense never seemed to get back on track in their absence.

Credit, though, to the kids who were on the field for Saturday’s finale for making things interesting. ODU led 20-13 at halftime and was in the game into the final minutes.

South Alabama (10-2, 7-1 Sun Belt) ran almost seven minutes off the clock on its final TD drive, which covered 69 yards and was capped by a 2-yard pass from quarterback Carter Bradley to DJ Thomas Jones with 6:40 left.

ODU appeared to tie the game on its next drive when QB Hayden Wolff found Isiah Paige for a 25-yard touchdown.

The score, however, was wiped off the board by a chop-block penalty. Three plays later, Wolff was sacked, ending ODU’s hopes of a comeback.

“We’re never going to give up, no matter what we’re always going to fight,” said Wolff, who completed 21 of 36 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns.

“It’s hard, this one hurts, to not go out with a win for our seniors, the guys that are leaving,” Wolff said. “We were put in the right place in the first half by our coaches and went out there and executed.

“We did not execute in the second half. We made so many mistakes, things we can control.”

ODU coach Ricky Rahne was somber at game’s end. Asked about how hard his team worked, he shrugged his shoulders, and made reference to ODU President, Brian O. Hemphill, Ph.D., and Dr. Wood Selig, the Monarch director of athletics.

“Dr. Hemphill and Dr. Selig pay me to go out and win games,” Rahne said. “They don’t pay me for moral victories. We’ve got to find a way to win those close games. We were in the majority of these games and just didn’t find a way to close them out. And that’s my job.”

Notable

Blake Watson, the 5-foot-9, 192-pound junior running back from Queens, broke the 100-yard rushing mark for the ninth time in his career and combined for 198 total yards.

Linebacker Jason Henderson collected 18 tackles a week after being carried off the field at Appalachian State. Henderson played in obvious pain with his leg tightly taped. He had a chance to set the FBS record for most tackles in a season, but he had just two tackles at App State before going out and fell short of the 25 he needed on Saturday.

Texas Tech’s Lawrence Fluegence set the record of 193 in 2002. Henderson finished with 186, and is third on the single-season tackles list.

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

In addition to being the editor of Augusta Free Press, I've written seven books, including Poverty of Imagination and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, both published in 2019, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For my commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to my YouTube page, youtube.com/chrisgrahamAFP. Want to reach me? Try [email protected].

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