ELON, N.C. – Despite two interceptions, the host Elon Phoenix found itself on the wrong side of a 30-10 score against the 16th-ranked Richmond Spiders at Rhodes Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The loss dropped Elon to 1-7 overall on the year and 0-4 in CAA Football action. Richmond improved to 6-2, 3-1.
“That’s a good football team. I give Danny (Rocco) kudos, he’s got the team playing well. The last couple of weeks their defense has turned it up a notch. We struggled moving the ball throughout. On defense, we kept playing hard. We have to be able to take advantage of the turnovers.”
Three Phoenix defenders tallied double-digit tackle performances, including a career-best 14 stops by Chris Blair. Blair also broke up a pass and blocked a punt. Jonathan Spain and John Silas each added 10 tackles. Spain’s outing upped his career tackles total to 317, moving him into seventh place on the program’s all-time chart. Elon got two picks, one each from Julius Moore and Adrian McClendon.
Offensively, John Loughery stepped in at quarterback late in the first quarter and saw the most significant action of his career. Loughery ended the day with 110 yards passing.
The Spiders won the toss and elected to receive the opening kickoff, beginning their first drive at the 31-yard line. A 21-yard completion from Michael Rocco to Reggie Diggs moved Richmond to the Elon 43-yard line. Two plays later, Jacobi Green took a handoff and raced 39 yards for a touchdown that put UR on top 7-0.
Trailing 10-0, Elon began its first drive of the second quarter near midfield after Blair’s blocked punt, the first by Elon since October of 2011. The Phoenix looked like it would have to punt as it faced fourth-and-11 from its own 48 when David Petroni faked the punt and raced 15 yards for a first down. Elon then converted a fourth-and-six with a seven-yard toss from Loughery to Justin Osborne that moved the ball to the Richmond 35-yard line. Elon would reach the Richmond 13 before getting on the board with a 34-yard field goal from John Gallagher.
After Richmond built a 23-3 lead through three quarters, the Spiders’ Porter Abell capped a 16-play, 98-yard drive with a three-yard dive into the end zone.
Elon came back with a 67-yard drive that ended with Kelly Brooks-Muse toting the ball over the goal line from three yards out. It was the first score of his career.
The Phoenix will be on the road each of the next two weeks. First up is a trip to last year’s national runner-up, Towson. Elon will meet the Tigers at 4 p.m. on Nov. 1 in a game that will be televised in select markets by the American Sports Network.