ODU football’s thirst for a first as Monarchs host North Carolina

Head coach Bobby Wilder shakes hands with head coach Dave Doeren on September 17, 2016 in Raleigh, North Carolina. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)

NORFOLK, Va. - Old Dominion head football coach Bobby Wilder has a company line.

"Go 1-and-0 every week."

Wilder even says this when his Monarchs don't play. He wants them to then go 1-and-0 against the bye or against study hall. Therefore, Wilder will tell you this Saturday's contest is the most important game because it's the next game.

ODU will try to go one-and-oh this weekend. But, oh - there's never been one like this.

Saturday, the Monarchs welcome North Carolina to  Foreman Field. The Tar Heels, members of the Atlantic Coast Conference, are just the second team from a power five league to ever play in Norfolk.

Malik Carney of North Carolina after a sack.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

North Carolina State was the first - a 38-14 loss in 2015. That defeat is one of the seven losses in seven tries ODU has against programs from power five conferences: the ACC, SEC, Big 10, Big 12 and Pac 12.

"Eventually it's going to happen," Wilder noted. "We haven't played a lot of games against power five teams. Eventually that first win is going to come. We've had a lot of firsts in the brief history of this program, and eventually that's going to happen as well. Hopefully it's Saturday afternoon."

Saturday's contest vs. UNC is more than just an opportunity to end a streak and make history.

"It helps in so many ways," Wilder explained. "It helps in recruiting, it helps with your players. They're excited about this game. They understand the magnitude of this game. They understand how important this game is. They want to play well."

The Monarchs and Tar Heels kick off at 3:30pm Saturday.