The William and Mary football team led Old Dominion in the fourth quarter, but the Monarchs scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 13:32 to earn a 41-31 victory on Saturday afternoon at S.B. Ballard Stadium.
Although ODU (9-1, 6-1) outgained W&M (2-8, 1-6) by just 11 yards, 488-477, the Monarchs forced three turnovers and did not commit any en route to claiming the Silver Mace.
Junior quarterback Michael Graham threw for a career-high 353 yards with four touchdowns – all of which came in the first half. Sophomore wide receiver Tre McBride also came up big with five catches for 123 yards and three touchdowns, while classmate Sean Ballard totaled seven receptions for 133 yards and a touchdown.
W&M took an early 7-0 lead on a 51-yard touchdown pass down the middle of the field from Graham to Ballard on a third-and-13. The six-play, 73-yard drive began after the College stopped ODU on a fourth-and-2 at from the Tribe's 28-yard line. Prior to the touchdown strike, W&M converted a key third-and-7 with a 22-yard run by sophomore running back Keith McBride II.
ODU quickly answered with a 39-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Heinicke to wideout Nick Mayers with 5:51 remaining in the opening quarter. W&M appeared stop the Monarchs earlier during the drive, but a third down sack was nullified by a facemask penalty.
Following the ensuing kickoff, W&M responded with a touchdown on the next offensive play when Graham connected with McBride for a 72-yard score down the ODU sideline to go back ahead, 14-7.
The Monarchs narrowed the margin to 14-13 with an 18-yard touchdown pass from Heinicke to Mayers on the following drive. ODU's two-point conversion attempt failed on a run by holder Nate Ong.
ODU took its first lead of the game on a 70-yard punt return for a touchdown by Antonio Vaughan with 12:29 remaining in the second quarter.
The Monarchs added another score when Heinicke threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Blair Roberts with 10:35 left in the opening half. The quick three-play, 16-yard drive began after an interception by ODU's Craig Wilkins.
A 7-yard touchdown pass from Graham to Tre McBride narrowed the margin to 27-21 with 6:54 showing. The eight-play, 78-yard drive was highlighted by a 34-yard strike to Ballard down the W&M sideline and a 16-yard completion to tight end Nolan Kearny on a fourth-and-3 at ODU's 23-yard line.
W&M reclaimed the lead, 28-27, with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Graham to Tre McBride with just 48 seconds remaining in the opening half. En route to scoring the go-ahead touchdown, W&M converted a fourth-and-6 at ODU's 31-yard line with a 23-yard reception by Kearney.
W&M had an opportunity to extend its lead on the opening drive of the second half, but sophomore kicker John Carpenter missed a 38-yard field goal attempt from the left hash wide to the left. However, he kicked a 19-yard field goal with 1:06 remaining in the third quarter to extend the Tribe's lead to 31-27.
ODU took its first lead of the second half on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Heinicke to Vaughan with 13:32 remaining.
The Monarchs added another touchdown to increase its advantage to 41-31 when Tyree Lee found the end zone on a 16-yard scamper with 6:51 remaining.
W&M drove into ODU territory on its following possession, but Graham was intercepted by Paul Morant at the 24-yard line with 4:21 remaining. Although the College forced a late ODU punt, it was unable to mount a drive in the closing two minutes.
Senior linebacker Dante Cook led W&M defensively with a season-high 14 tackles, while junior safety Jerome Couplin III and junior Quincey September recorded 12 and 10 tackles, respectively.
Heinicke led ODU and completed 28-of-43 passes for 291 yards with four touchdowns. Mayers posted nine catches for 131 yards with two touchdowns, while Lee rushed for a game-high 166 yards with a score.
With the win, Old Dominion earned 10 points in the Optima Health Challenge and is now tied with W&M, 20-20.
The Tribe will close out the season when it hosts Richmond for Senior Day next Saturday at 1:30pm.
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