David Washington

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Old Dominion caps first 10-win FBS season with Bahamas Bowl victory over EMU

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Old Dominion (10-3) checked off a few items on the season-long to-do list for the still young FBS program. On Saturday, with a 24-20 victory over Eastern Michigan (7-6) in the Bahamas Bowl, Old Dominion capped the first 10-win season in program history since moving up the FBS and Conference USA with its first bowl victory in its first bowl game in program history. Old Dominion quarterback David Washington passed for three touchdowns and Ray Lawry rushed for 133 yards on the ground in the win for the Monarchs.

Eastern Michigan had their chances on offense against Old Dominion, but racking up 470 yards and owning the lead in time of possession was put to waste against Old Dominion. Settling for a field goal in the fourth quarter from the two-yard line and punting the ball on a fourth and eight from the Old Dominion 48-yard line with under six minutes to play gave the Monarchs a chance to put the game on ice. Eagles quarterback Brogan Roback passed for 300 yards and a couple of touchdowns to lead the Eastern Michigan offense, bringing a disappointing close to an otherwise remarkable season for the Eastern Michigan program.

Old Dominion never trailed in the game. After taking a 10-0 lead into halftime, Old Dominion had to fend off Eastern Michigan in the second half. The Eagles tied the game at 17-17 late in the third quarter but could only score a field goal while Old Dominion tacked on a touchdown in the fourth quarter. The game-winning score came on a five-yard touchdown pass from Washington to Jonathan Duhart.

At the moment, the MAC is still looking for its first bowl victory of the season after dropping to 0-3. Conference USA improved its record to 3-2 this bowl season with the Old Dominion win. Conference USA now owns bowl victories against the American Athletic Conference (Western Kentucky over Memphis in the Boca Raton Bowl), MAC and Sun Belt Conference (Southern Mississippi over Louisiana-Lafayette in the New Orleans Bowl). The lone loss of the bowl season so far came against the Mountain West Conference, with UTSA coming up three points shy against New Mexico in the New Mexico Bowl. Conference USA can even its record against the Mountain West in the Hawaii Bowl when Middle Tennessee takes on Hawaii.

Old Dominion’s 2017 season kicks off on September 2 at home against Albany. The Monarchs will also host North Carolina and play at Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks in September before diving into Conference USA play.

Eastern Michigan will get the 2017 season underway on September 2 at home against Charlotte. The Eagles also play three non-conference game son the road against Rutgers, Kentucky and Army next season.

Old Dominion holds halftime lead in first bowl appearance in school history

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Sandals Royal Bahamian
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Playing in the first bowl game in program history, Old Dominion is certainly not holding back in the Bahamas Bowl against Eastern Michigan. The Monarchs faked a punt on their first possession of the game and took a 10-0 lead on the Eagles with a 47-yard touchdown strike from David Washington to Zach Pascal in the second quarter.

Eastern Michigan’s first offensive possession of the game ended with Old Dominion stuffing the Eagles on a 4th and 2 attempt from the Eastern Michigan 49-yard line. But Old Dominion failed to do anything with the possession starting just inside the Eastern Michigan half of the field by going three-and-out. A brilliant punt by Bailey Cate pinned the Eagles at their own one-yard line (and probably inside their one-yard line). The Eagles ran 11 plays to work out of their own end but ended the drive with a punt. The two teams then exchanged interceptions on the next two possessions before Old Dominion took to the air to get in the end zone.

Much is made about bowl game attendance by some people, and the Bahamas Bowl is certainly not helping to change the bowl game narrative out there.

It may never happen, but I would imagine the attendance of the Bahamas Bowl would be far better if it included Alabama and Ohio State. Maybe they should put a College Football Playoff game in the Bahamas one year?