NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Blake Watson scored on a 1-yard run with 33 seconds to play and Old Dominion beat Virginia Tech for the second time in as many tries on its home field, 20-17 on Friday night.
The Monarchs made a big splash in their debut as a member of the Sun Belt Conference and spoiled the debut of Hokies coach Brent Pry. He was coaching against a longtime colleague at Vanderbilt and Penn State, Ricky Rahne.
When it was over, as they had in 2018 when the Monarchs knocked off the then-No. 13 Hokies 49-35, fans streamed on to the field in celebration. ODU is 2-12 in its history against Power Five programs, but 2-2 against Tech.
Keshawn King ran for 111 yards and caught a touchdown pass from transfer quarterback Grant Wells for the Hokies. Wells also ran for a score, but threw two first-half interceptions, and then one to set up the decisive drive.
The Hokies were driving and trying to put the game away when Wells’ pass from ODU’s 40 bounced off of Jalen Holston to the Monarchs’ Ryan Henry. A 15-yard penalty against ODU moved the ball back to their 26 with 2:58 left, but a long completion by Hayden Wolff and then a defensive pass interference call near the goal line on Dorian Strong set the Monarchs up at the 1-yard line.
Watson needed two tries to make it, but tumbled in with 33 seconds left.
Wells, who threw a fourth interception on a desperation pass in the final seconds, wasn’t the only one with an auspicious debut for the Hokies. They were whistled for more than a dozen penalties, many of them costly.
Virginia Tech: Wells showed ability with both his big arm and feet, bit that arm also had him overthrowing receivers by a lot, including the interception that led the ODU’s first field goal. He had 34 TDs and 22 interceptions in 23 starts at Marshall and Pry will want him to get more consistent quickly.
Old Dominion: The Monarchs lone touchdown before the decisive run by Watson was a gift when the snap on a 38-yard field goal try by Virginia Tech sailed well over the holder’s head and, in the scramble to recover the ball, ended with Robert Kennedy scooping it and taking it the final 25 yards.
UP NEXT Virginia Tech: The Hokies open their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule at home against Boston College.
Old Dominion: The Monarchs go on the road to play at East Carolina.