NORFOLK, VA - Senior quarterback Mike Callahan connected with senior tight end Gareth Hissong on a 4-yard go-ahead touchdown pass with 4:45 remaining to help lift the No. 12/13 William and Mary football team to a 21-17 victory at Old Dominion on Saturday night. The reception was the first of Hissong’s career and gave the Tribe its 19th consecutive victory against a non-conference FCS opponent.
After trailing 14-7 at halftime, the Tribe (2-1, 0-1) outgained Old Dominion (1-2) by more than a 100 yards of total offense in the second half (225-123) en route to claiming victory in the teams’ initial meeting.
Payton Award candidate running back Jonathan Grimes rushed for a game-high 124 yards and a touchdown, while Callahan completed 21-of-31 passes for 290 yards and a pair of scores.
Defensively, linebacker Dante Cook totaled a game-high 11 tackles with a fumble recovery, while safety Brian Thompson and linebacker Wes Steinman recorded 10 and nine stops, respectively. All-American candidate cornerback B.W. Webb registered his first interception of the season, and the ninth of his career, in the game’s waning seconds to help preserve the win.
ODU provided the game’s first score when quarterback Thomas DeMarco found Kai Blanco on a 4-yard touchdown strike with 5:40 remaining in the opening quarter. After taking over near midfield on an interception by Michael Williams, the Monarchs marched 48 yards on five plays in 2:09 to record the initial score. The drive was keyed by a 33-yard pass from DeMarco to Marquel Thomas.
W&M looked as if it might put points on the board early in the second quarter, but David Miller missed a 31-yard field goal attempt with 12:23 showing.
The Tribe had another opportunity in the red zone moments later, however, when ODU lost a fumble at its own 7-yard line on a botched reverse on the first play of the ensuing drive. The College was unable to move the ball, though, and Miller’s 34-yard field goal attempt from the right hash hit the right upright.
W&M evened the score at 7-7 on a 30-yard touchdown run by Grimes down the Tribe sideline with 6:23 remaining in the second quarter. Callahan completed 3-of-4 passes for 53 yards on six-play, 84-yard drive that lasted 2:18.
Old Dominion answered with a touchdown on its next drive when Colby Goodwyn scored on a 41-yard scamper with 3:06 remaining in the opening half.
Although ODU led by a touchdown at the half, both teams’ yardage was nearly even in the opening 30 minutes as the Tribe held a narrow 199-192 edge.
W&M wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in the second half, as Callahan connected with senior wide receiver Chase Hill on a 55-yard touchdown strike on the opening play from scrimmage to knot the score at 14-14 just 22 seconds into the third quarter.
After forcing a three-and-out on ODU’s next possession, the Tribe marched 80 yards and looked as if it might take its first lead of the game. However, a fumble by fullback Jimmy Hobson at the goal line was recovered by the Monarchs in the end zone to halt the drive.
The Tribe had another opportunity to take the lead on its next possession, but Miller’s 46-yard field goal attempt from the left hash was wide right.
In addition to limiting the Monarchs to just 29 yards of total offense in the third quarter, the Tribe defense did not surrender a first down.
A 20-yard field goal by Jarod Brown with 9:38 remaining gave the Monarchs a 17-14 advantage. The successful kick capped off a 15-play drive that covered 70 yards and lasted 5:34.
The College then responded with an 8-play, 65-yard drive that culminated with Callahan’s go-ahead 4-yard touchdown pass to Hissong with 4:45 remaining. The scoring drive was aided by a pair of 15-yard penalties on ODU.
While the Monarchs moved to W&M’s 38-yard line on their ensuing drive, the Tribe picked up a big stop on a fourth-and-4 with 3:03 remaining when DeMarco threw an incomplete pass intended for Prentice Gill.
ODU got the ball back once more with 34 seconds remaining, but Webb’s interception near midfield with 5 seconds left on the clock sealed W&M’s victory.