Vailas, Wildcats drop heartbreaker at Old Dominion

NORFOLK, Va. – Andy Vailas passed for 336 yards and five touchdowns Saturday afternoon at S.B. Ballard Stadium, but Old Dominion QB Taylor Heinicke set an NCAA Division I record by amassing 730 passing yards as the fifth-ranked Monarchs outlasted the No. 18/19 University of New Hampshire, 64-61, in the highest-scoring game in CAA history.

The Wildcats, who led by as many as 23 points (47-24) in the second half, dropped to 2-2 on the season and 0-1 in the league despite setting a school record with 35 first downs. ODU upped its overall record to 4-0 by winning its conference opener, and the Monarchs established an FCS record by racking up 824 yards of total offense.

Jarod Brown snapped a 61-61 tie by kicking a 25-yard field goal with 41 seconds remaining to cap a record-shattering game that featured an astounding 1,549 yards of total offense – another NCAA FCS record.

Heinicke completed 55 of 79 passes for five touchdowns without an interception. The sophomore added 11 rushes for 61 yards and a TD to set an FCS record with 791 yards of total offense.

ODU’s top receivers were Nick Mayers, who snared 12 passes for 271 yards and three touchdowns, and Antonio Vaughan, who posted 12 catches for 143 yards and a score.

Vailas went 23 for 38 and was not picked off until his final pass of the game, a desperation second-and-11 pass from the ODU 49 intended for Joey Orlando with six seconds left. Vailas added 14 carries for 80 yards and a rushing TD to finish with 416 yards of total offense.

Nico Steriti led all ball-carriers with 21 rushes for a career-high 201 yards and two TDs, and R.J. Harris collected eight receptions for a career-high 191 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

Harris was on the receiving end of a 45-yard TD pass from Vailas with 3:22 left in the fourth to tie the game, 61-61.

UNH plays host to Delaware on Saturday at noon.