Rahne, Monarchs Look to Bounce Back


Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Clark, taken from ODU v Hampton

Originally published September 23, 2021.


When you come out to S.B Ballard Stadium this Saturday night, be sure to rock your ‘Hudson Blue’ attire, as the Monarchs will be debuting their new Hudson Blue uniforms. It was revealed last spring during the offseason that the Hudson Blue uniform was made to honor the rich history of Carol Hudson, known as the ‘gold standard’ of sports media relations at ODU.


The Old Dominion football team is back in action and is looking to bounce back from a tough 45-17 loss against a very talented and undefeated Liberty squad last weekend down in Lynchburg, VA. The Monarchs(1-2) will host the Buffalo Bulls(1-2), who are also coming off of a two game skid in the final non-conference matchup of the regular season. Kickoff is slated for 6pm.


It’ll be another special Saturday night in Norfolk because the color reveal, nicknamed ‘Hudson Blue’ honors the now retired ODU sports media relations specialist, Carol Hudson. Fans can join in the legacy the color represents for ODU in both the mens and womens basketball teams uniform color of choice, alternative uniforms for the baseball team, and the hockey and lacrosse team colors as well.


Since the return of football at Old Dominion in fall 2009, the Monarch team hadn’t dawned the color yet, which second-year football head coach, Ricky Rahne, pushed for. The color will make its way onto the gridiron this weekend and debut under the lights for the first time in the football program’s history.


Key factors on the offensive side of the ball will be based on the Monarchs being able to run the ball, having totaled 641 rushing yards on the ground. Averaging almost 200 rushing yards per game so far, look for Rahne to establish some sort of run-game this Saturday night with his young core of running backs. This includes Sophomore, Elijah Davis and freshmen, Jon-Luke Peaker who both are averaging six to seven yards per carry with 414 yards together on the run.


If you can establish the run game, passing will have more opportunities and can create success through the air. The Monarchs have been the more ‘run heavy’ team so far this season because of the lack of offense through the air. Quarterback DJ Mack Jr. has completed 33-70(47 percent) of his passes this season for 335 yards, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Last week, Mack Jr. completed 15 of his 27 pass attempts for 134 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Tight End Zack Kuntz and wide receiver Stone Smartt both recorded career highs last weekend in receptions. Kuntz scored a touchdown and caught four balls for 60 yards, as Smartt recorded 27 yards on four passes.

Photo Courtesy of Nicholas Clark, taken from ODU v Hampton

On the other side of the ball, the defense for the Monarchs have put the pressure on the opposing quarterbacks thus far, as they have recorded eight total sacks that is tied for third most sacks in the C-USA. Amorie Morrison, Marcus Haynes, Deeve Harris and Cory Jackson are the four defensive ends on the team who have made sacks this season, with three of the monarchs recording their first sacks in their careers.


The front seven are pivotal in locking down the opposing offenses. Linebackers Ryan Henry and Jordan Young have to continue their momentum from career high games last weekend in Lynchburg. Henry recorded a career-high of nine tackles against the flames. Young recorded six tackles and is fourth in school history, with 268 career tackles. If the defensive line cannot get the pressure on the QB, the linebackers and secondary need to step up and manage the game.


It wasn’t all so bad in last weekend’s loss. Senior kicker Nick Rice broke the school record in career field goals made as he nailed his 50th kick and surpassed Jarod Brown, who held the record at 49 and was ODU’s all-time leader in points scored. Rice is 50-64 on field goals in his career and has a perfect resume of 6-6 on the season thus far.


The Monarchs will have their hands full this weekend because the Bulls are coming into the weekend on a 2-game losing streak and are searching for their second win this year. The running attack is the lethal part of the Bulls’ offense. They average 236 yards per game and have ten rushing touchdowns of the total twelve touchdowns on the season so far. The Bulls average 32 points a game, as the Monarchs average around 25 points a game.


It will be another fun night under the lights on Saturday as the Monarchs debut their new uniforms in front of passionate fans. In honoring Carol Hudson, we can be sure that the Monarch will bring their own gold standard to the field promising another awesome game in our home turf arena.