ODU Adds a Road Football Game at Liberty in 2023; Will be Fifth Meeting Between FBS In-State Rivals
By ODU Athletics
By Harry Minium
Old Dominion and Liberty universities have announced that their football teams will meet on Oct. 7, 2023 in Lynchburg.
The schools have signed a one-game contract that calls for ODU to receive an $800,000 guarantee. It will be the fifth game played between the two Virginia schools. ODU won in Norfolk in 2013 and lost at Liberty last season.
The Monarchs and Flames have a two-game, home-and-home series that begins in 2021 with a game at Liberty and ends in 2022 with a game in Norfolk.
ODU and Liberty are relative newcomers to the Football Bowl Subdivision. ODU spent two years transitioning to FBS in 2013 and 2014. Liberty is in the second year of its transition this season. They join Virginia and Virginia Tech as the state’s four FBS programs.
ODU senior associate athletic director Bruce Stewart, who handles the University’s football scheduling, said the 2023 game was scheduled because it meets the needs of both schools. Liberty needed a home game and ODU was looking for a game that produced revenue.
ODU athletic director Wood Selig said playing Liberty makes sense for ODU.
“This is the right thing to do for our student-athletes, our program and our fans,” he said. “Lynchburg is a relatively short drive for our fans. We want to play as many games against Virginia schools as possible.
“It’s a difficult balance for us to play a competitive schedule and yet generate the revenue you need while balancing a non-conference schedule. You’ve got to be smart when these opportunities present themselves.”
Selig and Stewart both have good relationships with LU athletic director Ian McCaw and with Mickey Guridy, the senior associate athletic director who handles football scheduling for the Flames.
“Ian has been great to work with,” Stewart said. “I’ve been working with Mickey Guridy since I worked at Coastal Carolina University.
“We have high regard for Liberty’s program. Their athletic aspirations are similar to our goals.”
ODU coach Bobby Wilder said he is pleased his team will play the Flames.
“It’s good for us to get out to that part of the state,” he said. “We recruit there. Our games are on radio in the Lynchburg and Roanoke areas because we have a good alumni base there.
“I’m always glad when we play in-state games because that means so many of our fans can travel with us, including the parents of so many of our players.”
The Monarchs opened the newly renovated Kornblau Field at S.B. Ballard Stadium on Aug. 31, defeating Norfolk State, 24-21, before a sellout crowd of 21,194.
After undergoing a $67.5 million renovation, the stadium offers 2,200 more sideline seats than Foreman Field, all with back support and more leg room. It also features new and modern restrooms and concessions, a new sound system, three ribbon scoreboards and a new video board.
ODU fell at Virginia Tech last week, 31-17, but the Monarchs scored consecutive second-half touchdowns to narrow the Hokies’ 24-3 lead to 24-17 early in the fourth quarter.
ODU next plays again on Saturday, Sept 21, when the Monarchs venture to Scott Stadium for their first ever meeting with the University of Virginia. The game was selected by ESPN for prime time and will be televised on ESPN2 at 7 p.m.