Old Dominion to play in first ever bowl game in Bahamas

The following comes directly from Old Dominion:

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion University Football will play the first bowl game in school history in the third annual Popeyes Bahamas Bowl, Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig announced on Monday. The game will be played on Friday, Dec. 23 at 1 p.m. on ESPN.

“Today’s announcement represents the culmination of years of hard work, sacrifice and commitment. Our student-athletes have been grinding every day to improve and grow our program. Our coaching staff, led by head coach Bobby Wilder, have recruited wisely and served as great teachers to get the program to this level of success in such a relatively short period of time,” Selig said. “Our University administration starting with President John Broderick have generously provided the resources, facilities, and philosophical support needed to compete at this high level of FBS football. Our fan support for ODU football is second to none and continues to turn heads nationally with their incredible tangible support of our program. I am most impressed with the job done by our student-athletes and coaches this season and participation in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl is the perfect reward for a scrapbook season.”

The Monarchs are 9-3 overall, and finished 7-1 in Conference USA this season. ODU finished the regular season with a 42-28 victory over FIU, the 54th straight sellout since restarting the program in 2009.

“We are all thrilled to play in the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. The Coaches I spoke with about the Bowl said it is a great experience for the Kids, which is what this is all about. This is an historic moment for Old Dominion University and our Football program,” ODU Head Coach Bobby Wilder said.

ODU reaches a bowl game in just its eighth season of football and second full season of bowl eligibility.

The Monarchs are led by a trio of playmakers on offense in quarterback David Washington, running back Ray Lawry and wide receiver Zach Pascal. Washington is one of four FBS quarterbacks to have thrown for 25 touchdown passes and four or less interceptions. Lawry produced his second-straight 1,000 yard season and Pascal set ODU’s career record for receptions in the win over FIU.

Senior linebacker TJ Ricks leads the Monarchs with 93 tackles and Anthony Wilson adds 90 stops. Sophomore defensive end Oshane Ximines set the single-season record for sacks with 7.5.

“We are pleased that Old Dominion will be competing in the 2016 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl,” said Richard Giannini, executive director of the Popeyes Bahamas Bowl. “Coach Bobby Wilder and his staff have done a tremendous job in preparing the Monarchs all season long, and we look forward to hosting them in Nassau for their first bowl game.”

The Monarchs have been ineligible for postseason competition in four of eight seasons since 2009. In 2009 and 2010, ODU was not eligible for the FCS playoffs, and in 2013 and 2014, the Monarchs were not eligible for a bowl due to the NCAA transitioning rules, despite going 6-6 in 2014 and playing a full FBS schedule.

The inaugural Popeyes Bahamas Bowl in 2014 featured WKU hanging on to defeat Central Michigan 49-48, while last year Western Michigan defeated Middle Tennessee 45-31.