Updated: Monday, 27 Aug 2012, 11:51 AM EDT
Published : Monday, 27 Aug 2012, 11:41 AM EDT
NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Old Dominion University can't win the CAA championship, but has a much loftier goal in mind.
The Monarchs are banned from CAA title contention because they are jumping to Conference USA next year, but they have the pieces in place to challenge for the national championship.
Quarterback Taylor Heinicke (25 TDs, 1 INT), wideout Nick Mayers (62 catches) and a trio of talented tailbacks should continue to make an explosive offense a staple for Old Dominion.
On defense, preseason All-CAA tackle Chris Burnette and linebacker Craig Wilkins lead the way among seven returning starters intent on improving their 104th-ranked passing defense of 2011.
When the offense stalls, standout punter Jonathan Plisco averaged 46.2 yards last year.
Old Dominion is 27-8 since bringing football back three seasons ago.
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