HOUSTON, TX (WAVY/AP) – A season that has featured extreme highs and extreme lows has come to a close for Old Dominion. The Monarchs (4-7, 2-6 Conference USA) had no answer for a punshing Rice rushing attack, and suffered a 27-13 loss heading into the offseason.
Juma Otoviano busted up the middle for an 80-yard tie-breaking touchdown run and added another breakaway in the fourth quarter.
The Owls (2-11, 1-7) rushed for 275 yards on 77 carries while completing just six passes for 96 yards.
Virginia Beach’s Blake LaRussa, the former walk-on from Bishop Sullivan Catholic school who cemented the starting job with a historic outing against Virginia Tech, completed 33 of 54 passes for 312 yards, but fumbled once and was picked off twice in the fourth quarter.
LaRussa was intercepted on the Monarchs’ first drive of the fourth quarter and was sacked for a loss of 10 yards — by Elijah Garcia — to end the next drive. Otoviano scored the insurance TD on the next play.
The Monarchs end their season with a historic home win over Virginia Tech, an improbable, wild win at Western Kentucky, and an upset win over Marshall in which the team ereased a 28-0 deficit.
The same team suffered blowout losses to Liberty, Middle Tennessee, and Florida Atlantic, close losses against Florida International and East Carolina, and a puzzling losses against Charlotte and now at Rice.