The 2022 season appeared promising when Old Dominion opened the year with a three-point victory over Virginia Tech.
ODU is hoping for a better result in 2023, especially if its offense makes some improvements.
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Old Dominion Football’s Over/Under Win Total
Old Dominion’s win total Over/Under is 3.5, with Under 3.5 at +125 and Over 3.5 at -150.
Old Dominion Football’s Schedule
9/2 at Virginia Tech
9/9 vs Louisiana
9/16 vs Wake Forest
9/23 vs Texas A&M-Commerce
9/30 at Marshall
10/7 at Southern Miss
10/21 vs Appalachian State
10/28 at James Madison
11/4 vs Coastal Carolina
11/11 at Liberty
11/18 at Georgia Southern
11/25 vs Georgia State
Bold indicates Sun Belt contests.
Key Old Dominion Football Returners
2022 All-Sun Belt 1st Team
LB Jason Henderson
P Ethan Duane
Old Dominion’s Offense Experiencing Turnover
The Monarchs were 11th in the Sun Belt with 339.7 yards per game and last with 19.5 points per game scored. And they don’t return their leading rusher, passer, or receiver and lost most of their starting offensive line from a year ago.
Hayden Wolff, who threw for 2,908 yards, 18 touchdowns and six interceptions with a 57% completion rate in 2022, transferred to Western Michigan. Redshirt sophomore Jack Shields, who didn’t throw a pass last year, and Fordham transfer Grant Wilson were competing to become ODU’s starting quarterback this spring.
Blake Watson ran for 916 yards and five touchdowns before heading to Memphis. But Keshawn Wicks is back after ranking second on the team with 125 rushing yards and adding 72 yards on 13 receptions last year.
Ali Jennings III, who paced the team with 959 yards and nine touchdowns on 54 receptions, is also gone. But Javon Harvey could be ODU’s leading receiver this year after catching 30 passes for 558 yards and four touchdowns in 2022.
ODU, which tied for the fourth-most sacks allowed (35) and was second to last in rushing yards per game (92.5) in the Sun Belt last year, lost three of its primary starters on the offensive line. That includes Nick Saldiveri who was drafted by the Saints in the fourth round this offseason.
But center Xavier Black and right guard Leroy Thomas are back after starting most of the Monarchs’ games in 2022.
Jason Henderson Serves As Focal Point of Old Dominion’s Defense
Jason Henderson is arguably the best player at any position in the Group of Five.
Henderson, a junior linebacker, led the FBS last season with 186 tackles. He also added 10 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, and a sack.
But not many of ODU’s best defenders are back this season. Only four of the Monarchs’ top 11 tacklers are back after ODU was eighth in scoring defense in the Sun Belt with 26.6 points per game allowed and 13th with 442.6 yards per game allowed.
Defensive tackle Denzel Lowry is among those returning players. He tied the team lead with four sacks while adding 35 tackles, five for loss.
Terry Jones is also back. The redshirt junior safety was tied for first on the team with two picks. He added 63 total tackles, six TFLs, and a sack last season.
Sayyid Stevens, a linebacker from Duke, transferred to ODU and should help the Monarchs up front.
Old Dominion Football Season Prediction
ODU won’t take home the Sun Belt title and won’t win more than three games again this year.
The Monarchs have to play Power Five opponents Virginia Tech and Wake Forest as well as Texas A&M Commerce and Liberty. ODU proved it can pull off an upset against Power Five teams, so I’m going to account for two wins in the Monarchs’ non-conference slate.
But things will be tough in Sun Belt play. I don’t see ODU besting some of the top teams in the league like Coastal Carolina, James Madison, Marshall, Louisiana, or App State.
Games that could be close for ODU like Southern Miss or even Georgia Southern will be played on the road, so I don’t think the Monarchs have an advantage there. I could potentially see ODU pulling off a win at home against Georgia State, though.
Even if that happens, that’s still just three victories for ODU. The Monarchs will have to pull off several upsets to be .500 or better in 2023.