Chanticleers seek to defeat, duplicate ODU’s success

In 2005, when Old Dominion was planning to launch its football program, the school sent administrators to Coastal Carolina to learn a few things about how to build a championship contender.

It’s no surprise that ODU would want to check out CCU, which went from upstart program to the playoffs in four short seasons.

But when the two teams meet in the FCS playoffs today, it may be the Monarchs taking the Chanticleers to school.

Four seasons since teeing it up for the first time, Old Dominion (10-1) is a favorite to compete for the FCS championship and on the verge of moving up to the FBS level in Conference USA next year.

Sounds a lot like the goals expressed by Coastal when it fired football founder David Bennett and hired a longshot CEO turned coach in Joe Moglia. That move is already paying off in a first-ever trip to the second round of the playoffs, but the Chants (8-4) have their hands full against the Monarchs.

“Old Dominion is a very talented team. Take a look at their offense and take a look at their entire program,” Moglia said. “They’ve got tremendous aspirations. They are in a hot bed as far as recruiting talent. They sell out pretty much for each game. The community is 100 percent behind them. They’ve got a lot of great things going up there. They’ve done a great, great job with their program.”

Moglia’s praise was not pre-game hype. The Monarchs are ranked No. 1 in total offense, they are joining Conference USA net year, they have recruited excellent talent in a short period of time and crowds of 20,000 pack the house to support the program. It’s almost like Moglia was reading a wish list.

The Chants have made strides this season, winning their last six games, including the school’s first-ever postseason victory last week at Bethune-Cookman. But recruiting championship-caliber players, reigniting the school and community’s passion for the program and, most important of all, competing for FCS titles are still on the to-do list.

The Chants know they have a long way to go to reach the level of ODU, but an upset today would go a long way.

“They’ve got a culture that’s thinking winning, they’ve got a culture in terms of thinking and trying to be big-time,” Moglia said. “They’re going to have 20,000 people at the game. I doubt 20,000 people there will be rooting for us, that is okay too. We’ve got to be able to handle that.”

And duplicate it.

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