GREENVILLE, NC (WAVY) - With 45,000 fans on hand, Old Dominion began its ascent to the FBS level of college football.
Offensively, junior Quarterback Taylor Heinicke was his same old self, passing for over 330 yards and 3 touchdowns, including a 43-yard bomb to Jakwail Bailey that gave ODU a 21 to 17 lead late in the first half.
"I felt as an offense we did good, but not good enough," Heinicke said.
ECU's ensuing possession was a game changer. On 4th down, Pirates quarterback Shane Carden threw a touchdown pass as time expired.
"Definitely the last play of the first half when they score with no time left, otherwise we're going in at the half and we're up," coach Bobby Wilder said.
ODU's first possession of the second half was another momentum shifter. Heinicke was sacked and fumbled and ECU returned it for a touchdown.
"The turnover in the second half, that got us off schedule that got us a touchdown behind," Wilder said. "The turnover definitely gave them the momentum back."
Down 11, ODU started trading touchdowns with the Pirates, and the Monarchs even cut the lead to 4 points going into the 4th quarter after a Colby Goodwyn touchdown run.
The ODU defense though, could not stop ECU quarterback Shane Carden. He was 46-of-54 for 447 yards and 5 touchdowns as the Pirates pulled away in the fourth quarter on way to a 52 to 38 win.
"It was frustrating, he probably had a 90 percent completion percentage and he was just dishing the ball to everyone out in the field. It's frustrating to see another quarterback and watching him do that, he's a great quarterback," Taylor Heinicke said.
"I knew they were going to have success, I was hoping we would bend but not break not give up the touchdowns," Wilder said. "I did see a lot of things tonight that I'm encouraged with defensively. I saw I a lot things I'm encouraged with and we've just got to come up with the ability to have some stops."
ECU converted 12 of its 17 third down attempts, something the Monarchs will have to improve on moving forward.
"It's a lot we can take from the game, we got to clean up everything," said defensive lineman Nate Barnes. "We got to go and watch film, we got to look at our mistakes and correct our mistakes and have a better focus as a defense and overall when we are successful on defense I think we can be successful as a team."
With the journey to FBS underway, coach Wilder's young team, with over 30 freshman, showed up and had its chances against an ECU picked to win its division in Conference USA.
"What I'm most proud of is the fact that we were in the football game in the fourth quarter," he said. "I had said at the start of the year that if all 12 games this year that if we were in the fourth quarter with an opportunity to win then I'd feel good about that."
ODU is at the University of Maryland on Saturday.
An plane landing at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport experienced mechanical difficulties Friday afternoon.
Old Dominion University's Board of Visitors has unanimously endorsed a campus master plan, which includes a brand new, 30,000-seat football stadium.
Two dogs were rescued from a house fire in Portsmouth Friday afternoon.
The Marines have announced the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point Air Show has been canceled for 2014.
Virginia State Police has rolled out a new mobile app to help combat crime.
Gov. Bob McDonnell's biennial state budget provides funding for operations and management of historic Fort Monroe.
A student at Old Dominion University was arrested Thursday and charged with filing a false report. Police say he lied about being robbed.