Norfolk, VA – The Battle of Norfolk was like a scrimmage for Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke.
The freshman sensation made winning look too easy on Saturday.
Heinicke completed 21-of-30 passes for 269 yards and five touchdowns to lead ODU to a 35-18 home victory over neighboring Norfolk State in a much- anticipated FCS first-round playoff game at Forman Field.
ODU, ranked 10th in The Sports Network/Fathead.com FCS Top 25, overcame an early 7-0 deficit with 35 unanswered points to advance to the second round. The Monarchs (10-2) will visit Southern Conference champion and No. 3 seed Georgia Southern (9-2) on Dec. 3 in Statesboro, Ga. (1 p.m. ET kickoff).
Norfolk State and ODU, whose campuses are separated by five miles, got an early start on a rivalry that originally was scheduled to begin until 2013.
And after Norfolk Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion Norfolk State (9-3) got off to a 7-0 lead on Chris Walley's 98-yard touchdown pass to Derrick Demps just 1 minute, 43 seconds into the game, Heinicke and the Monarchs from mighty CAA Football took control.
They scored on three of their next four possessions to build a 21-7 halftime lead, then extended it to 35-7 in the third quarter.
Heinicke threw two touchdowns to both Prentice Gill (four receptions for 95 yards) and Nick Mayers (six receptions for 65 yards), and one to Larry Pinkard.
The Monarchs' starter since midseason, Heinicke has thrown 20 interceptions against one interception.
No. 19 Norfolk State outgained ODU 406 to 385 on the strength of Walley's 363 passing yards. He was 28-for-43 for two touchdowns, including a 5-yarder to Victor Hairston in the fourth quarter, and two interceptions.
A MEAC team has not won a playoff game since 1999 - a span that grew to 16 games with Norfolk State's loss.