Commentary

America Needs More Underdog Stories Like ODU’s LaRussa and His Team’s Upset of Va. Tech

Michael Morris
By Michael Morris | September 26, 2018 | 4:36 PM EDT

Old Dominion University quarterback Blake LaRussa after beating Virginia Tech on Saturday (Screenshot)

If you’re a college football fan, or a football fan at all for that matter, you probably heard that little Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia took down the previously 13th-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on Saturday. Or maybe you’ve been too distracted by Washington D.C.’s antics in the Kavanaugh hearings.

Either way, America needs more underdog stories like ODU’s Blake LaRussa and the Monarch’s upset of previously 13th-ranked Virginia Tech.

After starting the season 0-3, and coming off of a humbling defeat by a Liberty University program in their first season at the FBS level, it was a true David versus Goliath-type scenario. Indeed, according ESPN, ESPN’s Football Power Index gave the Monarchs only a 1.8 percent chance of winning – “making this the largest upset by an FBS opponent in the metric’s 14 years of existence.”

Though beat a ranked foe the underdog Monarchs did, by a final score of 49-35.

But it’s Old Dominion University backup quarterback Blake LaRussa that really makes this upset story special.

Not much unlike the small, humble shepherd boy David in Scripture who led a small seemingly outmatched and outsized nation in Israel to victory over a vaunted and much more powerful foe with but a sling and some stones, Old Dominion Athletics describes the Monarch’s backup quarterback Blake LaRussa as a “modest, hard-working, faithful but diminutive guy” and “perhaps the most unlikely football hero.” Going further, they say LaRussa is “[g]enerously listed by ODU at 5-foot-10 and 185 pounds” and has “always been told he’s too short, too weak and too slow. No Division I teams offered him a scholarship, and only ODU offered him the chance to walk on without a scholarship.”

It was not his size or his experience that mattered in the game last Saturday, but the young man’s poise, completing 30-49 passes for 495 yards and four touchdowns, also running for a score himself, that led  to an unlikely victory.

But was it just behind the arm of a young man that ODU toppled an encroaching giant, Va. Tech?

No. If you asked LaRussa, which ODU Athletics did, he’d give you a different answer.

“‘It’s been an uphill battle since I was a little kid,’ he said. ‘I didn’t have a lot of offers, and I’m a short guy, so I get it.

“‘But we are all given an opportunity in life, and we just have to take advantage of it. For me, it has always been about God. That’s what has allowed me to get through everything.

“‘I’ve always had bad odds, but no matter what the odds are, God has been my source of faith.’”

And that’s not all. Again, like David of the Bible, LaRussa claims it was not his doing, but instead gave credit to Almighty God.

When asked whether it was hard to stay humble, LaRussa responded by paraphrasing part of Jesus’ words in Matthew 21:21, “Not hard to stay humble cause it wasn’t me. God moved mountains on Saturday.”

He continued, “I hope everyone would look at this and realize that Jesus is real and that He Loves us and that He has a plan for each of us.

“It was all Him on Saturday,” concluded LaRussa.

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