Dynamic athletes on offense
One of the more challenging aspects of playing Old Dominion is defending against their dynamic athletes which in turn makes their offensive skill positions really, really good.
The Miners have struggled against quarterbacks who can move, and David Washington is another one of those quarterbacks who needs to be contained. The 6'3, 210 pound converted receiver averages 6.3 yards per carry, and breaks a big run on 54.5% of his rushing attempts.
ODU has one of the top running back tandems in the league with Ray Lawry and Jeremy Cox splitting carries. Both average around six yards per carry, and have ODU ranked 35th nationally in the rushing S&P+ advanced stat category.
Sean Kugler expressed concern with ODU's bigger wideouts in Zach Pascal, Travis Fulgham, and Jonathan Duhart. All three are 6'2 or taller, and average 14 yards or more per catch this season.
The Monarchs have done a good job of cashing in on field position, creating explosive plays, and keeping teams off balance with their multiple ways of attacking defense's with a number of talented athletes.
ODU's turnover margin is jaw dropping
The Monarchs have forced a turnover in each game this season, and have also picked off seven passes. Six different players have recorded an interception with Aaron Young leading the charge with a pair of INT's.
They intercepted just seven passes all of last year, and have the fifth best turnover margin in the nation with a +9 margin on the season. Meanwhile on the offensive side, the Monarchs have it turned it over just five times this year which is tied for second in the nation.
They’ve also recovered seven fumbles this year. In a road game setting, forcing turnovers is the perfect way to steal a win against a UTEP team that up until last week was turnover prone.
Keep their front seven out of the backfield
UTEP's biggest struggle on offense has been keeping teams out of the backfield.
The Miners run game is being stuffed 26.2 percent of the time, and their rushing success rate ranks 108th in the nation. The Monarchs have four players who have four tackles for loss or more, and have also piled up 19 sacks in total.
Eight Monarchs have recorded at least a sack, led by linebacker Anthony Wilson who has four sacks.
Their defensive line havoc rate is the 30th best in the nation, and they also own a 6.7% sack rate on standard downs which is the 35th best rate in the nation.
How does ODU respond?
WKU put in some work on the ODU defense last week.
Just when most thought the Monarchs would turn the corner and become a legit factor in the C-USA East. The defending champs showed everyone who still runs things out east.
With a veteran team that returns 17 starters from last season, how will this group respond to a long road trip after a demoralizing loss?
2016 is ODU's third season in C-USA which also marks the final class of FCS recruits in their program.
The 2012 class was the final recruiting class when they were a FCS member featuring 26 signees. Only six players remain from the class including linebacker TJ Ricks who has led them in tackles the past two seasons.
Zach Pascal was an FCS walk-on and can be regarded as one of the top wideouts in C-USA today, and quarterback David Washington were also a part of that final FCS recruiting class.