"We're not going to pull a Strasburg," Wilder laughed.
Heinicke's numbers heretofore this season could be discounted by ODU's comfortable schedule. Not Saturday. New Hampshire has reached the playoffs the last eight seasons, the nation's longest active streak, and allowed its first three opponents a combined 556 passing yards.
- Bio | E-mail | Recent columns
- Teel Time: Accounting for all records broken by Heinicke, ODU, New Hampshire
- Teel Time: Vanderbilt transfer Simmons sparks reeling ODU defense
- VIDEO: New Hampshire coach Sean McDonnell on ODU offense
- College Football
- College Sports
See more topics »
Old Dominion University, Old Dominion University's Stables Theatre, 4516 Monarch Way, Norfolk, VA 23508, USA
Wilder believes Heinicke is capable of similar performances, and barring serious defensive improvement, the Monarchs will need exactly that.
New Hampshire had runs of 61, 63 and 67 yards, plus a 75-yard pass. Nick Steriti, no sprinter he, rumbled for 201 yards and two scores on 21 carries. Making only his second college start, Andy Vailas passed for 336 yards and five touchdowns.
"When you blitz, if you're not gap responsible, you're gonna get gashed," Wilder said.
"We went away from the basics, missed a lot of tackles," linebacker Craig Wilkins said. "If we expect to win every week, we can't allow people to put up these kind of numbers. Some weeks Taylor's arm might be tired. He won't be able to hold us up every week."
Wilkins produced ODU's key stop, recovering a botched shotgun snap at the Monarchs' 2-yard-line late in the third quarter. If the Wildcats punch it in there, they lead 54-31 — the same margin they enjoyed early in the period at 47-24.
Heinicke promptly drove ODU 98 yards for a touchdown, part of a mind-bending second half that saw the Monarchs march 90, 98, 81, 75, 89 and 74 yards on successive possessions.
It was the nuttiest game I've witnessed in 30-plus years, and Wilder concurred.
"We normally work them out on Sunday," Wilder said of his players, "but they're not going to have a workout tomorrow."
The workout can wait. So can the humbling.