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W. Kentucky rallies to stun Old Dominion in Famous Toastery Bowl

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Caden Veltkamp came off the bench to pass for 383 yards and five touchdowns and Western Kentucky overcame a 28-point deficit to notch a 38-35 overtime victory over Old Dominion on Monday afternoon at the Famous Toastery Bowl in Charlotte, N.C.

Lucas Carneiro kicked the decisive 29-yard field goal on the Hilltoppers’ first overtime possession to end it. The kick came after Talique Allen blocked a 23-yard field-goal attempt by Ethan Sanchez on Old Dominion’s possession.

Veltkamp completed 40 of 52 passes with one interception and also rushed for a team-high 53 yards for Western Kentucky (8-5). Dalvin Smith caught three touchdown passes, two of them one-handed, for the Hilltoppers.

Grant Wilson rushed for 126 yards and two touchdowns and threw for 123 yards and a TD for Old Dominion (6-7). Kris Caine returned an interception for a touchdown but the Monarchs failed to win despite forcing five turnovers.

Western Kentucky quarterback Austin Reed opted out of the contest and Veltkamp led a late-game charge with 21 fourth-quarter points to force overtime.

The Hilltoppers pulled within 35-21 when Elijah Young caught a short pass, hurdled a defender and ran down the right sideline for a 37-yard scoring play with 14:09 remaining in regulation.

Less than 4 1/2 minutes later, the Hilltoppers moved within seven when Smith — using two hands — grabbed a 14-yard touchdown pass from Veltkamp.

Western Kentucky knotted the score with 19 seconds left when Veltkamp threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to K.D. Hutchinson on fourth-and-goal.

Old Dominion forced four first-half turnovers while taking early control of the contest.

The Monarchs drove 89 yards on five plays on the game-opening drive for the early lead. Wilson’s 79-yard keeper set up the score and he completed the excursion with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Isiah Page.

Turner Helton drew the start for Western Kentucky with Reed sitting out, and he made miscues on his two possessions before being pulled.

First, Helton was sacked by Denzel Lowry and fumbled the ball and it was recovered by LaMareon James as Old Dominion took over at the Hilltoppers’ 17-yard line. Four plays later, Kadarius Calloway scored from the 5 to make it 14-0 with 9:06 left in the opening quarter.

Just 1:12 later, the Monarchs held a 21-point lead as Caine intercepted Helton and returned it 30 yards for a score.

Old Dominion pushed the lead to 28-0 when Wilson scored on an 11-yard run with 13:38 left in the first half.

Western Kentucky got on the board with 8:14 left in the half when Smith made a one-handed touchdown grab on a 14-yard toss from Veltkamp.

Smith’s second stellar grab came on an 18-yard touchdown pass to pull the Hilltoppers within 28-14 with 10:24 left in the third quarter.

Old Dominion answered on Wilson’s 21-yard scoring run to take a 35-14 lead with 3:04 left in the quarter.

–Field Level Media

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