Blake LaRussa actually grew up watching Virginia Tech football games. Until he enrolled at Old Dominion two years ago, he considered himself a Hokies fan. His older brother, Mike, is a Virginia Tech graduate, and Mike informed Blake before Saturday's game that he probably would be cheering for his alma mater.
"He told me, 'If you go in, I'll root for you,'" Blake LaRussa said after pulling off the season's biggest upset. "'Otherwise, I'll be rooting for the Hokies.'"
LaRussa didn't start the game for Old Dominion, but he did get in on the Monarchs' second drive, and he gave his brother plenty to cheer for -- and lament -- in a stunning 49-35 win over the No. 13 team in the nation.
ODU entered the game as a 29-point underdog, making this the biggest upset by point spread of 2018, but that only begins to tell the story.
The Monarchs were 0-3 entering Saturday, including a blowout loss to Liberty, a first-year FBS team, and coming off a humiliating defeat to Charlotte. ESPN's Football Power Index gave ODU a 1.8 percent chance of winning, making this the largest upset by an FBS opponent in the metric's 14 years of existence.
Heck, this program didn't even exist a decade ago, and in its seven years playing at the FBS level, it had been 0-9 against Power 5 opponents with an average margin of defeat of 28 points per game.
But if every ounce of history suggested this would be a one-sided affair, head coach Bobby Wilder had his team sold on a different outcome.
"Our kids believed in it, and we just made history," Wilder said after the game.
LaRussa was among the many stars for ODU. He threw for 495 yards and accounted for five touchdowns, including a 4-yard pass to tie the game just before halftime and a gorgeous 29-yard pass to Jonathan Duhart with 5 minutes, 11 seconds to play that gave the Monarchs a 42-35 lead and all but put the dagger through Virginia Tech's heart.
That dagger actually came one drive later, when ODU was in position to simply kneel and run out the clock. Instead, tailback Jeremy Cox scampered 40 yards for another score.
"Just go out and throw the ball around and have fun," LaRussa said. "That was literally our plan."
Fans poured from the stands and onto the field, hugging players and coaches. A half-hour later, the crowd was still cheering behind LaRussa as he relished the win.
"It's just a moment we'll never forget," he said.
If Old Dominion's win over Virginia Tech was the story of the day, it was also something of a trendsetter. We saw Army nearly pull the upset against Oklahoma, while unranked Texas Tech beat No. 15 Oklahoma State, unranked Kentucky upended No. 14 Mississippi State, unranked Texas knocked off No. 17 TCU and unranked Purdue beat No. 23 Boston College.
Of course, college football trends come and go by the week, so we figured it made sense to look at what was hot and what was not in a wild week.
OUT: Kneeling to run out the clock (East Coast)
ODU could've taken a knee and run out the clock for a seven-point win over Virginia Tech. Instead, Jeremy Cox took a first-down carry with 1:34 left, burst through the line and rumbled 40 yards for a touchdown and a shaker full of salt into the Hokies' wounds.
IN: Kneeling to run out the clock (West Coast)
Oregon could've taken a knee and run out the clock for a three-point win over Stanford. Instead, C.J. Verdell took a first-down carry with 1:35 left and fumbled. Stanford recovered, drove 45 yards in 45 seconds and kicked a game-tying field goal, then later won it in overtime.
OUT: Running backs for Heisman
Bryce Love was fine, but he needed a special game to work his way back into the Heisman discussion. AJ Dillon was bottled up by Purdue as BC lost, too. And Jonathan Taylor looked decent enough, but Wisconsin's offense remains enigmatic. If there was hype for another Year of the Running Back a month ago, it's all but over now.
IN: Quarterbacks for Heisman
Here's where the real debate begins. Kyler Murray nearly was upended by Army, but he still padded his stats with four touchdowns. Meanwhile, Will Grier was exceptional once again, tossing five TDs, Tua Tagovailoa continues to dominate for Alabama, and Ohio State's Dwayne Haskins added five TD passes of his own.
OUT: Power 5 dominance
OK, the big boys still have a pretty hefty advantage, but one week after nine Group of 5 teams toppled Power 5 foes, Old Dominion and Buffalo added a couple of more notable wins for the less powerful five. So far, the Group of 5 has 18 wins over Power 5 teams -- just one fewer than it managed all of last season.
IN: Shoddy 'Karate Kid' references
It's Blake LaRussa, not Daniel LaRusso, but let's not let that get in the way of quoting one of the great '80s movies to celebrate one of the great college football upsets of this decade. QB who catches Hokies with 0-3 team can accomplish anything.
OUT: Rat poison
Too quotable. Need something equally masochistic but less likely for Lane Kiffin to tweet.
IN: Begging for criticism
After Alabama's latest dominance, Nick Saban eschewed the colorful dialogue he made famous a year ago, instead begging the assembled media to please -- pretty please with a houndstooth fedora on top -- avoid being nice to his team. This is asking a lot. Alabama is 4-0, having topped 500 yards of offense in all four games. Know how many times the Tide did that last year? Four. All season. We know there are some fine reporters in Tuscaloosa, but good luck coming up with negative storylines about the Tide this week.
IN: Using a second QB
Notre Dame's offense found its groove after Brian Kelly benched Brandon Wimbush in favor of Ian Book, who torched Wake Forest for 368 yards and five touchdowns. Miami's offense took off with N'Kosi Perry replacing Malik Rosier, too. Perry completed 14 of his first 15 throws while leading the Canes to a 31-17 win over FIU. And while Clemson certainly hasn't officially turned the page on Kelly Bryant, it was Trevor Lawrence who looked sharp, tossing four TDs in a win over Georgia Tech.
OUT: Using no kickers
It was a rough day for Wake Forest, so it's hard to blame kicker Nick Sciba for wanting to skip the whole thing. Still, when you line up for a field goal try, it helps to have a guy there to kick the ball.
OUT: Joking that Texas is back
It was fun while it lasted.
IN: Texas is back!!!
The Longhorns upended TCU for their second straight win over a ranked opponent. That hadn't happened since Texas beat No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 11 Missouri and No. 6 Oklahoma State in consecutive weeks in October 2008. The Horns had been just 14-31 vs. ranked foes in the interim. Turns out, Tom Herman really does seem to have figured things out, and the Big 12 is looking like the most interesting conference in college football.
IN: Basketball schools
Duke, Syracuse and Kentucky all cut down the nets -- or whatever it is you cut down in football -- on Saturday. The Orange are now 4-0 and next week have the chance to knock off Clemson, also 4-0, for the second straight season. Kentucky's win over Mississippi State was a major stepping-stone for the program, which is also 4-0 and potentially shaping up as Georgia's biggest challenger in the SEC East. And then there's Duke, which will play host to reeling Virginia Tech next week with a chance to get to 5-0, too. That's, like, 12 shining moments.
OUT: Hockey schools
Boston College and Minnesota entered Saturday a combined 6-0. They both lost, by a combined score of 72-26. That's uglier than Don Cherry's suits.
OUT: Running Khalil Tate
The Arizona QB has only 24 carries so far this year, totaling 31 yards. To put that in perspective, Tate had 15 different runs of at least 31 yards last season.
IN: Running J.J. Taylor
OK, so maybe Arizona doesn't need Tate to run. Taylor, the Wildcats' sophomore tailback, erupted for 284 yards in a win over Oregon State. It's the most by an FBS player in a single game since ... Tate had 327 against Colorado last October.
IN: The cold tub for Oklahoma's Kenneth Murray
It was hardly a banner day for the Sooners, but you can't blame Murray, who finished with 28 tackles in the overtime win against Army. That's a school record and the most by an FBS player since at least 2000, which is as far back as the NCAA officially tracked tackles.
OUT: The cold tub for Arizona State's Chase Lucas
He picked off a pass against Washington and celebrated by doing bicep curls on the sideline. This is getting a bit ridiculous. Until someone wants to drive a tank to midfield and have trained elephants shoot off fireworks, let's just chill on all of the turnover swag.
TURNOVER. CURLZ. pic.twitter.com/wPWaN3Zq8B— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 23, 2018
OUT: The mullet
Sorry, Mike Gundy. On the 11th anniversary of "I'm a man, I'm 40!" the mullet was trimmed by a dominant Texas Tech offense.
IN: The Ryan Gosling look
Oh, Kliff Kingsbury. How do you have an offense that good and a hairstyle so perfectly manicured? Seriously, though, the Red Raiders' defense was frisky, the offense continues to dominate and, all of a sudden, Texas Tech is a real player in the Big 12.
OUT: Knocking Jim Harbaugh
Maybe we wrote off Michigan a bit too early. Since falling behind Notre Dame 14-0 in the first quarter of their season, the Wolverines have outscored their competition 167-43. Shea Patterson has already thrown seven touchdown passes -- just two shy of Michigan's total for all of 2017.
The famed hashtag symbolizing the league's ability to find misery around every corner had largely been retired, but this week, it was back with a vengeance. Virginia Tech loses to 0-3 Old Dominion. No. 23 Boston College is hammered by 0-3 Purdue. Wake Forest gets demolished on its home field against Notre Dame. Louisville's offense is a mess, Georgia Tech looks lost, Pitt is a disaster. But hey, Florida State didn't embarrass itself. So, you know, progress.
OUT: Clemson's title hopes if it loses a game
Seriously, have you looked at how bad the ACC is? There's simply not going to be enough meat on the Tigers' résumé for a flubbed game like they've had the past two seasons (Pitt in 2016, Syracuse last year) to automatically come with a mulligan.
IN: North Carolina's title hopes if it played every game vs. Pitt
In its past 15 games vs. Power 5 opponents, UNC is 2-13. Both wins came against Pittsburgh. There aren't enough Primanti Bros. sandwiches in Allegheny County to dull that pain.
IN: The Big Ten (except Rutgers)
One week after the conference looked like a hot mess, things came out quite a bit better in Week 4. Ohio State dominated. Penn State rolled. Maryland rebounded. Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin all won. The league isn't perfect, but it showed its depth this weekend, which certainly helps as we start thinking about playoff résumés.
The Scarlet Knights got trounced on their home field by Buffalo. They've now lost six straight to FBS foes by a combined score of 265-43. But they do bring the New York market for the Big Ten, so they've got that going for them. Which is nice.
IN: Hot-seat coaches
Kingsbury, Kalani Sitake and Ed Orgeron are off to great starts, significantly cooling their once-hot seats. Larry Fedora and Clay Helton both got much-needed wins this week, too, staving off the torches and pitchforks from angry fan bases. Not every hot-seat coach is sitting pretty now, but a few of the most-buzzed-about names have found a way to quiet the masses.
OUT: New coaches
Willie Taggart's win over Northern Illinois should at least slow the donations coming in to all those crowdfunding sites hoping to raise enough for his buyout, but many of the other first-year coaches are still trying desperately to find answers. Scott Frost said Nebraska hit rock bottom after getting manhandled by Michigan. Jeremy Pruitt's tenure at Tennessee is off to a rocky start after getting pummeled by Florida. Chad Morris' Razorbacks are an outright disaster. And while Jimbo Fisher's Aggies looked at least passable against Alabama, they still lost by 22. But hey, at least Chip Kelly got the week off.