ATLANTA – Bladder control isn't a factor you hear mentioned very often when coaches describe the keys to success, but it definitely played an important role in Old Dominion's 40-17 win over Georgia State on Saturday at the Georgia Dome.
An over-hydrated Blair Roberts was on his way to the locker room in the second quarter when he was stopped and rushed back to the field as part of the punt-blocking team. Seconds later Paul Morant came flying through to block the kick and Roberts was there to pick it up up and run it 36 yards into the end zone. The play gave the Monarchs a 20-10 lead they never relinquished and gave Roberts an opportunity to take care of a little personal business.
"That was probably one of the funniest things I've seen in 23 years of coaching," said ODU coach Bobby Wilder. "Blair Roberts almost wasn't out there because he had to go to the bathroom. We almost lost him to a restroom break, but he agreed to stay through it, scored a TD. That really turned it when we blocked that punt and scored. That's when the momentum swung."
Wilder could laugh about it afterwards. It was that sort of day for the Monarchs (2-0), who did more than enough good things to offset a handful of bad things that kept the game close for a quarter.
"I thought this would be a really big test because I felt coach (Bill) Curry and his staff had a better football team. They are bigger, faster and stronger," Wilder said. "And to dominate the score speaks very well to where we are as a team right now."
The blocked punt was the first of two by Morant and gives the program 15 blocked kicks in its short life. It was just another phase of the game that was controlled by ODU, which used its no-huddle offense and corps of experienced linemen to stay a step ahead of Georgia State, especially in the first half.
"Our offensive line dominated the football game," Wilder said. "Because of that we were able to run the ball consistently."
The efficient line made things easier for tailback Colby Goodwyn, who carried 23 times for a career-high 168 yards and one touchdown.
"Our main focus was to establish the running game more," Goodwyn said. "The offensive line played great. When I first got in there the holes were there. They just opened up."
The line protected quarterback Thomas DeMarco, too. He ran eight times for 17 yards and a pair of touchdowns and completed 12 of 20 passes for 127 yards and one touchdown, a 8-yard toss to Reid Evans that came after Morant's second block.
The ODU defense allowed only one sustained drive for a touchdown; the other 10 Georgia State points were the result of fumbles. The Monarchs shut down Georgia State quarterback Bo Schlechter, who had thrown for 196 yards and three touchdowns in the season opener. Schlechter completed 10 for 27 for 142 yards and rushed 12 times for only one yard. He was yanked in the fourth quarter in favor of Drew Little, who completed 6 of 17 for 59 yards.
"The key was applying pressure to whoever they were going to start at quarterback," Wilder said. "We were able to get pressure all day long."
It marked the second straight year that ODU has beaten Georgia State. The Monarchs began competing in the Colonial Athletic Association this season and GSU will join them in 2012.
"It's obvious that what happened today was a failure of leadership by all of us," said Georgia State coach Bill Curry. "I seldom felt better about preparation and I've seldom been more disappointed with the result. I would love to play a good game against ODU someday, but we seem to save our worst for ODU. So hat's off to a good job by that team."