football-fbs flag

Ed Miller | The Virginian Pilot | September 25, 2018

College football: ODU looks to build on momentum after win against Virginia Tech

NORFOLK -- As he readied for another national radio interview Monday, Old Dominion coach Bobby Wilder felt confident saying that Saturday's upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech was a potential program-changer.

Fair enough. ODU received more national acclaim in the 48 hours after the win than in the previous nine years combined.

But was the 49-35 takedown of the Hokies a season-changer?

We will soon begin to find out, because while the benefits of the Monarchs' stunning win could take years to accrue, whether it has legs this season will be determined much earlier, beginning Saturday at East Carolina.

Once again, the Monarchs will be underdogs, albeit with considerably more bite.

MORE: Week 4 College football upsets

"When you go through an experience like that, you gain tremendous confidence," Wilder said. "We were a team that wasn't feeling very good about ourselves going into (Virginia Tech) so the confidence, the way we practiced this morning; we had an excellent practice this morning. You could feel the energy, you could feel the relief, you could feel the excitement.

"Confidence and momentum are a really big thing in college sports and college football."

It's amazing what pulling off the biggest upset of the college season, and the largest upset of an ACC team in 40 years, will do for a team that had never beaten a Power Five conference foe, much-less a nationally-ranked one.

Off the field, the stunning win has generated the type of publicity money can't buy.

On Sunday, Wilder appeared on NBC Sports Radio. On Monday, he went on The Jim Rome Show on CBS Sports Radio and also on Fox Sports Radio.

ALSO: The longest overtime games in FBS history

Chatting with local media Monday, Wilder pulled up an audio clip of ESPN personality Mike Golic talking about ODU on a segment that asks "Who won the weekend?"

ODU's win was also bandied about on the "Dan Patrick Show."

For his part, Wilder has done his best to take advantage of a moment that "doesn't happen every week" for programs like ODU.

"We're not on the national stage," he said. "We need to seize this moment as much as we can.

"I think it's important to not only talk about it, but continue to get the word out about Old Dominion University and our football program. There's still so many people that don't know who we are or where we are."

The hope is that a win such as Saturday's will echo over many years, potentially providing a boost to recruiting and raising the profile of the program.

Meanwhile, a challenging 2018 schedule is unchanged. ODU is still 1-3, 0-2 in Conference USA, and likely won't be favored in its next three games. After traveling to ECU on Saturday, the Monarchs play defending C-USA champion Florida Atlantic on the road, and then host Marshall.

Wilder invoked a "24-hour" rule for players to bask in Saturday's win. They were back on the practice field Monday morning, which is normally a day off.

Wilder said he felt a palpable sense of pride among the players, one of whom remarked that he now found it easier to put on his ODU gear than he did last week.

MORE: Week 4 FBS highlights

The Monarchs will need all that pride and more crisp execution of the type they had against Virginia Tech to win at ECU, which is 1-2 but beat North Carolina and is coming off a 20-13 loss to unbeaten South Florida.

"East Carolina dominated in every phase of the game other than the scoreboard," Wilder said.

The Monarchs opened as 6 1/2 point underdogs, 22 points less than the line against Virginia Tech.

By comparison, the task ahead Saturday does not look as daunting.

RELATED: Old Dominion Backup QB throws four TDs in biggest win in program history

After beating the Hokies, the Monarchs have to feel that anything is possible.

"I feel really confident that we'll use this momentum and energy from beating Virginia Tech to help us continue to get better this week in practice," Wilder said.

And, he hopes, through the rest of the season.

NOTE: Monarch QB Blake LaRussa and DE Oshane Ximines were selected Monday as C-USA's offensive and defensive players of the week in a vote of media members. A Bishop Sullivan Catholic grad, LaRussa completed 30 of 49 passes for 495 yards and four TDs. Ximines had seven tackles, two sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss in the Virginia Tech victory. 

This article is written by Ed Miller from The Virginian-Pilot and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.