Elon Football to Open 2016 vs. Gardner-Webb

ELON, N.C. – Excitement surrounds the Elon University football team as the Phoenix is set to open up the 2016 season at home against Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 3:30 p.m.


Dave Armstrong and Richard Baldinger will have the call on television as the game will be carried by the American Sports Network (check your local listings for specific channels).

Fans unable to attend the game can listen to the game on WSML 104.5 FM and 1200 AM or at elonphoenix.com as David Hibbard and Taylor Durham will have the call. The radio broadcast will start at 2:30 p.m. Fans can also listen to all Elon football games via the TuneIn Radio app. This app is free to download to your smartphone.

A free video stream of the game will be available through Phoenix All-Access.

Fans can welcome the Phoenix to Rhodes Stadium for the first time this season during the Phoenix Walk down Bank of America Drive. This week’s walk will occur at 1:00 p.m.

Beginning with Saturday’s game, Elon University will implement a new policy for bags entering Rhodes Stadium. All bags entering the stadium will be checked before fans reach the ticket booths at the facility. Multiple lines will be available and there will be specific lines for fans entering with no bags.

The following items will be prohibited from Rhodes Stadium:
• Weapons
• Explosives
* Alcoholic beverages
• Outside food and beverages
• Smoking and tobacco products
• E-cigarettes
• Umbrellas
• Containers or coolers
• Flags on poles
• Bicycles, skateboards or rollerblades
• Pets (except service animals)

Saturday will mark the 31st all-time meeting between Elon and Gardner-Webb. The maroon and gold holds a commanding 21-9 advantage in the series that began in 1969. The Phoenix claimed a 21-13 victory on the road in triple overtime a year ago. The two have met at Rhodes Stadium just once before with Elon picking up a 27-14 win in 2001. As the host, Elon is 11-5 against the Runnin’ Bulldogs.

The Phoenix football squad elected two captains for the 2015 season. Serving as captain for the second year in a row is senior linebacker John Silas (Powder Springs, Ga.). He will be joined by first-year captain, junior offensive lineman Ikenna Nwokeji (Randolph, Mass.).

Each week the Phoenix will also name a game-week captain. The list of those captains is below:

• Gardner-Webb– LB Warren Messer (Garner, N.C.)

Elon’s 2016 roster sports 97 players total, including 46 from the state of North Carolina. The Phoenix roster also has players from 15 other states and Washington, D.C. – Alabama (1), Connecticut (2), Delaware (1), Florida (4), Georgia (11), Indiana (2), Massachusetts (3), New Jersey (8), New York (3), Ohio (2), Pennsylvania (1), South Carolina (3), Virginia (7), Washington (1), Wisconsin (1) and the District of Columbia (1).

Elon head coach Rich Skrosky had to replace Jerry Petercuskie who announced his retirement following two seasons as the Phoenix’s defensive coordinator and linebackers. Skrosky promoted former defensive line coach Patrick Madden to the defensive coordinator and linebackers position before bringing aboard Gerald Chatman as the new defensive line coach. Chatman spent last season as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M and has made stops at Butler, Ball State and Wisconsin Oshkosh.

The 2016 season marks Elon’s 95th year of football. In that time, the maroon and gold has posted an all-time record of 492-434-18 (.531) – including a sizzling 176-84-3 (.674) mark in 52 seasons of home games at Burlington Memorial Stadium. In its current home of Rhodes Stadium, the Phoenix has gone 37-47 (.440).

Elon’s 2016 schedule features six opponents, all members of CAA Football, that are ranked in the preseason top 25. Earning a spot in the STATS poll are Richmond (4th), William & Mary (9th), James Madison (12th), New Hampshire (22nd), Villanova (23rd) and Towson (24th). The coaches poll ranks Richmond (4th), William & Mary (10th), James Madison (11th) and Villanova (22nd) among the top 25. During its tenure at the FCS level, Elon has twice faced off with six ranked foes in a season – 2001 and 2008.

The Phoenix will get to play its first game of the season at Rhodes Stadium for the first time since 2009 when it hosts Gardner-Webb on Sept. 3. Elon has opened at an FBS opponent in each of the past six seasons since that 2009 victory over Davidson.

Three of Elon’s four victories last season came on the road. That marked the most road wins for the Phoenix since winning three contests away from home in 2011.