NORFOLK, Va. -- No drama this time.
An Old Dominion team that had specialized in fourth-quarter heroics of late landed the decisive blows quickly Saturday and cruised past Rhode Island 66-14 at S.B. Ballard Stadium.
The Monarchs had been involved in games that were decided in the final minute in three of their previous five outings, including a 27-24 decision at Norfolk State last week that came down to the final play.
On Saturday, however, Taylor Heinicke tossed four of his season-high six touchdown passes in the first half as the Monarchs scored the first 17 points and rolled up a 31-7 lead by halftime.
The victory boosted ODU (6-3) to 6-0 against FCS schools. The Monarchs, former rivals with Rhode Island out of the Colonial Athletic Association, are technically an FCS independent this season as they transition to the FBS and Conference USA.
Bob Bentsen hooked up with Ross Kim for a 41-yard touchdown pass -- the Rams' longest TD pass of the season -- and also added a 16-yard scoring pass to Robbie Jackson. But it wasn't nearly enough against an ODU team that came in averaging 40.1 points per game and cracked the 50-point barrier for the fourth time.
The 66 points were the most allowed in program history by Rhode Island (3-7), which lost for the fourth time in five games.
Heinicke went 28-of-35 for 293 yards and no interceptions before giving way to backup David Washington late in the third quarter. Washington produced ODU's seventh TD pass of the day when he hooked up with Jakwail Bailey from 2 yards out early in the fourth quarter.
Antonio Vaughan, Zach Pascal and Larry Pinkard each caught a pair of touchdown passes.
The Monarchs also were buoyed by a surprisingly potent rushing attack. The Monarchs lost starting tailback Gerard Johnson to an ankle injury in the first quarter yet still racked up a season-high 252 yards on the ground. Cam Boyd led the way with 119 yards, 70 of them on one electrifying TD dash. It was the longest scoring run in school history.
Colby Goodwyn added 76 rushing yards and a 3-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter to close out the scoring.
NOTES: Goodwyn is ODU's all-time leading rusher. The Monarchs senior passed former ODU quarterback Thomas DeMarco (1,456 yards), who plays for the British Columbia Lions of the Canadian Football League. ... Bentsen's two TD passes vaulted him into fourth place on Rhode Island's all-time passing list. ... The announced crowd of 20,118 marked ODU's 34th consecutive sellout. The Monarchs have sold out every game since the program's rebirth in 2009. ... Saturday's game marked the second meeting between the two schools. ODU nipped Rhode Island 31-23 in 2011.