Every so often, after Old Dominion scored a touchdown, quarterback Taylor Heinicke completed a long pass or the defense made a stop, the 5,000 or so fans who traveled from Hampton Roads to East Carolina’s Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium Saturday night would begin the familiar chant, “ODU, ODU.”
Though most of ODU’s fans were packed in the far left corner of the stadium’s visitor’s side, coach Bobby Wilder and his players clearly heard them.
“It was inspiring,” Wilder said. “There were moments in that game where I felt like it was almost a home game.
"We talked about it when we met Sunday, and the players are very grateful for the support.”
ODU took 22 bus loads of people to Greenville, where the Monarchs fell to ECU, 52-38, in their first game against a Football Bowl Championship team.
“Someone at East Carolina made a comment that the most buses they’ve ever had show up was 10 when they played North Carolina State,” Wilder said. "That speaks well for our fans."
Wilder posted a letter to ODU supporters on the school’s sports Web site – odusports.com – late Tuesday afternoon, thanking them for their support.
ODU plays at Maryland Saturday at 4 p.m. It will be the Monarchs first game against an ACC school. Oddsmakers have made Maryland an 18-point favorite. ECU was a 14 1/2 favorite over ODU.
The text of the letter follows:
Dear 12th Monarchs,
From your Old Dominion Monarch football team we would like to say thank you for your performance on Saturday at East Carolina. Words cannot express the gratitude our team feels towards all of you. Never in 26 years as a college coach have I been a part of so much school spirit and pride for an away game as I felt on Saturday from all of you.
Alex Trevino and our Band, our dance and spirit squad, our student’s faculty and administration, alumni and fans of the program all were “in it to win it” on Saturday night. I was informed that East Carolina has never seen an away team have the support that Old Dominion had at this game. They were overwhelmed when 22 bus loads of 12th Monarchs pulled into Greenville!
At one point during the game I could hear the chant of “ODU” coming from our end zone section that clearly caught our attention and inspired everyone on our sideline. This game was what I refer to as a ‘life changing” experience for our student-athletes. Very few times as a player are you involved in something like Saturday night that involves 45,000 people watching them play the game they love.
Our kids will never forget the way the 12th Monarchs made them feel before, during, and after this game. East Carolina is the best team in C-USA this year and we went into the 4th quarter with an opportunity to win the game. We will grow from this experience as a team.
Although we are disappointed we lost the game, our resolve was not broken and we will come back even stronger this Saturday vs. Maryland. I hope you can join us in person or in spirit as we take on the Terrapins!
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