Bahamas Bowl score: Old Dominion wins first bowl game, celebrates accordingly
ODU appeared in its first bowl, beating an Eastern Michigan team that hadn't been since 1987
Old Dominion topped Eastern Michigan for the third year in a row, this time taking the Bahamas Bowl title in the process in a 24-20 win in Nassau on Friday. For the Monarchs, it's the biggest moment imaginable: winning the program's first bowl game on its first bowl trip, and spending a few nights in the Bahamas to boot.
Coach Bobby Wilder was joyous on the sideline as his fans rushed the field after the game, telling ESPN that this program-defining win was the "best moment of his life." Wilder has been the program's only coach since it was brought back to competition in 2009, and only recently did ODU become bowl-eligible as a full member of Conference USA. They came a long way this season and have now posted a 10-win campaign due in large part to the reliable legs of Ray Lawry.
ODU came into the game with the matchup edge after winning both sides of a home-and-home agreement in 2014 and 2015, edging out EMU for a 38-34 win last season behind a 223-yard, four-touchdown performance by Lawry.
Lawry was the Offensive MVP of the bowl game after burning up the EMU defense again, totaling 133 yards on 23 carries. It was an unusually low-scoring version of the Bahamas Bowl -- also new to the bowl season at the young age of three -- with that ODU rushing attack making a difference in the fourth quarter.
Everything about the Bahamas Bowl is unique. Put yourself in the shoes of the players and you've got to think the game is no better than the third most exciting thing they're going to do on this trip to Nassau. The first two editions of the Bahamas Bowl, in 2014 and 2015, featured an average of 86.5 points per game as well as a Central Michigan last-minute Hail Mary hook-and-ladder attempt for the ages.
The halftime show is top-notch as well.
According to ESPN's Kaylee Hartung, there's also this: Eastern Michigan, making its first bowl appearance since 1987, got blasted by the sun due to its location on the sideline. The rays were impacting the team's gameplay and forcing increased efforts to hydrate in the roasting heat from the sky above. Meanwhile, on the other side, Old Dominion was much more comfortable in the shade.
Only in the Bahamas Bowl.
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