NORFOLK (WAVY) – Old Dominion’s quest to turn around what was a 5-7 season in 2017 begins on Saturday in Lynchburg, when the Monarchs meet in-state rival Liberty.
Coach Bobby Wilder, who’s program begins its tenth season of football, says his team is heading into a “hornets’ nest.
“The fact that they’re hosting another FBS team in the state, they want to prove they’re as good, if not better than us,” said Wilder during his team’s Mediay Day.
The two teams last met in 2013, with ODU pulling out a thrilling 21-17 victory at SB Ballard Stadium. Saturday’s matchup will be the first time the two teams have met as FBS programs.
“As I’ve explained to our players, it’s going to be a phenomenal atmosphere there,” said Wilder. “They want to be a quality FBS program, they’re doing everything they can to be a quality FBS program, and I don’t have any doubt in my mind it’s going to be a tough physical football game.”
And that’s just the opener.
Wilder made it clear, his team’s objective is to win the East Division of Conference USA. Five of the seven teams in the division made a bowl game last season.
“I think the east could arguably be one of the…most competitive divisions in college football this year,” said Wilder. “I’m not saying it’s the best or the most talented, but most competitive. Everyone we play each week is going to be a challenge.”