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ODU faces 2nd ACC opponent in 3 weeks

The Monarchs brutal early schedule continues, but they've had little trouble in the underdog role

NORFOLK, Va. — "I always believe in our team, I think we've got guys that could play anywhere in the country. I think we've got coaches that put them in positions for them to be very successful. I've never gone into a game in my life saying "we can't win this game." 

Old Dominion Head Coach Ricky Rahne didn't sound like an underdog at this weekly press conference Tuesday. Peppered with questions about a second ACC opponent in this young season, Rahne references a contemporary rather than a goliath. Unlike their most recent Power 5 contemporary, this time they hit the road for Charlottesville to take on UVA.

Perhaps it helps that Rahne's squad has already toppled on ACC opponent, and played a formidable ECU team tough on the road. The more likely answer is that most competitors who reach this level have spent a lifetime searching for slights to turn to fuel, and that process has instilled an underdog mentality unbroken by opponent. 

"Michael Jordan still considered himself an underdog because he didn't make the varsity as a sophomore. What are we talking about? He's the greatest player of all time and he's still mention that in interviews," Rahne references the most famous chip on the most famous shoulder to drive his point home, "we search for things to make ourselves underdogs."

When it comes to the sportsbooks, ODU enters a third straight game as the underdog, but in the locker room the Monarchs travel to battle an equal. 

Now, in order to beat that equal, they'll look to turn their flashes of on field success into play in and play our consistency. The offense has made big plays, specifically Ali Jennings, who is playing like one of the best receivers in the country. This week they'll look to "keep drives alive" against Virginia. Then there's the defense, which has proven effective at getting into opponents' backfields, while equally adept at giving up chunks of yardage. 

Big plays were enough to beat one ACC opponent, but it's that consistency that will make the opponent less and less important as time goes. 

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