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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Recalling a historic football victory

By Carrie Anderson

When Old Dominion University played Virginia Tech on a brisk, clear day in September, many thought the game was over before it started. But the Monarchs pulled off what was probably the biggest upset of the college football season when they scored four touchdowns in the fourth quarter to stun the Hokies 49-35 for the program's first win over a Power 5 program. The student section at S.B. Ballard Stadium at Foreman Field took to the field to celebrate.

During Homecoming Week, ODU Libraries collected student memories from that historic victory to add to the Libraries Archive. Libraries staff talked to 24 undergraduate and graduate students and heard stories from people in the stands, in the band, on the parking garage and in their residence hall rooms.

Da'Quan Stith, a sophomore, is a member of the Monarch Marching Band and had made the trip to Blacksburg in 2017 for the inaugural game in the series, a 38-0 Hokies victory.

"It was a very organized, chaotic vibe," he said about ODU's victory. "You hear rumors about like 'if we win we were storming the field.' It was back and forth that day. ... It was very exciting because that was our first win of the season and I was there for our very first trip to Virginia Tech. We were just excited to be out there. So to have them come to us and we win - that was the game-changer."

"I was at the parking garage on the top floor watching the game because I didn't get a ticket," senior Austin Ball said. "There were a ton of people up on top. It was very fun and exciting and when the big run happened at the end, they were crazy and people were running around the parking lot."

Clarissa May, a senior, was in the student section and recalls tensions were high.

"Everyone was like on edge," she said. "We were on our phones, too, keeping track of the game. ... We were like, 'Oh is this real, is this not?' We were keeping track on the ESPN app to track like what the percentage of winning was. It was surreal (when we won). It was just, like, electric. Like a lot of adrenaline rushing."

Students also talked about the importance of the game.

"It was just a really huge upset," said John Brooks, a junior. "We were cast against ridiculous odds and we were supposed to lose the game by a lot. And we didn't get blown out. We took them out ... and it's Tech. It was good to see ODU take that underdog status."

Judging by the media attention and student accounts, this is not a game that will soon be forgotten. And future generations will be able to relive it through the ODU Libraries Archives.

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