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Asked Sunday whether he'd ever heard the name David Klingler before this weekend, Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke admitted he had not. Told that the former Houston quarterback was a first-round NFL draft pick in 1992, Heinicke, who was born a year later, replied, "Hah ... I didn't know that."
Heinicke and Klingler are now etched together in history. The former broke the latter's 22-year-old Division I record by passing for 730 yards in a 64-61 win over New Hampshire. Heinicke ran for an additional 61 yards to finish with 791 yards of total offense, capturing that record, too. And oh, by the way, Heinicke rallied the Monarchs from a 23-point deficit as part of the highest-scoring game in CAA history.
"It still hasn't settled in yet," said the sophomore, who completed 55-of-79 passes without an interception Saturday. "I'm pretty sure it wont 'til after the season because I'm so busy around here."
Arguably more amazing than Heinicke's feat is the story of how he even became a college quarterback -- and just how much he's accomplished in a little more than a year on campus.
Despite being named the Old Spice Player of the Year in Georgia, the 6-foot quarterback went nearly his entire senior season at Collins Hill High in Atlanta without receiving a scholarship offer. "I had decided by then that the first person that offered, I was going to commit to," said Heinicke, who once told the Virginian Pilot he used to "stand on my tippy toes" when he went to college summer camps and "sucked air into my lungs and puffed out my chest the entire time" while attending Georgia's.
Heinicke's big break came when his Atlanta-area personal trainer, Earl Williams, happened to board the same LaGuardia Airport rental-car shuttle as Alonzo Brandon, vice president for university advancement at Old Dominion, in September 2010. Old Dominion was entering its second season of football at the time, and Brandon struck up a conversation. Williams told him about Heinicke and word got back to the Monarchs' coaches. Soon, Heinicke had his offer.
Even then, Heinicke was supposed to redshirt as a freshman last season. But he was called into action after senior Thomas DeMarco got hurt in the fifth game. Heinicke proceeded to compile a staggering 25-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio and lead Old Dominion to the second round of the FCS playoffs. He threw three picks in the 2012 opener against Duquesne, but he has now thrown for 1,921 yards and 19 touchdowns in four games, all of them victories.
If all goes according to plan, he'll lead the Monarchs back to the playoffs and, over the next two years, through their transition to FBS. (Old Dominion will join Conference USA in 2015.) "It's amazing," Heinicke said of his -- and the program's -- meteoric rise. "There are a lot of people out there now that wish they could commit to Old Dominion." The Monarchs are indebted to their vice president that Heinicke ever committed to them.
If Miami's coach looks like he just spent four hours in the baking heat dressed in a long-sleeve dress shirt ... well, he did.
If Notre Dame's coach looks like he just came in from a leisurely stroll around campus ... well, he didn't. He actually coached a football game.
Mini-previews for three of Week 5's big games:
Baylor at West Virginia, Saturday (Noon ET): In Friday night's 47-42 win at Louisiana-Monroe, we learned Baylor is primed for another year of defense-optional shootouts. The Bears happen to be the opponent for high-flying West Virginia's Big 12 opener. Oh, there will be touchdown passes.
Ohio State at Michigan State, Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET): Urban Meyer and Braxton Miller finally take their first trip outside of Columbus, as they'll travel to East Lansing to face a stout Spartans defense. They'll also see a Michigan State offense that needed Le'Veon Bell's 36 carries and 253 yards to put away Eastern Michigan in Week 4.
Texas at Oklahoma State, Saturday (7:30 p.m. ET): Texas' David Ash ranks third nationally in pass efficiency, but he's yet to face a top-60 defense. Oklahoma State's J.W. Walsh ranks sixth, but he's not even supposed to be starting. (Wes Lunt is hurt.) This game should serve as an interesting litmus test for both players.
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