WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – An impressive defensive effort and the first career 100-yard rushing game for Malcolm Summerslifted the Elon Phoenix to a 27-10 victory over the eighth-ranked William & Mary Tribe at Zable Stadium on Saturday night.
The win was just the second for Elon over a top-10 program at the FCS level and the first since a 24-13 decision at seventh-rated Wofford in 2007. The maroon and gold won its second straight CAA Football opener as the Phoenix moved to 2-2 overall and 1-0 in conference action. The Tribe dropped to 2-2, 0-1.
Quotable: “I’m really proud of the kids. I thought the first half, the offense struggled, but the special teams and defense really stepped up. Then they come out and hit the long pass to cut it. After their touchdown drive, we had two pretty substantial drives. The ability to run the ball in the second half provided some play-action passes and … able to score touchdowns when we got in. We have to keep it in perspective. It’s a game that I think can help us. We have to make sure we come in tomorrow and go to work.” – Elon head coach Rich Skrosky
How it happened: Elon took control of the contest from the outset, forcing William & Mary to punt after just three plays. On the punt, Demetrius Oliver knifed through the line and blocked the kick and Elon recovered the ball at the Tribe’s 22-yard line. The Phoenix would turn that in to three points when John Gallagher drilled a 35-yard field goal.
It remained a 3-0 game until Elon’s second drive of the second quarter when the Phoenix took over at the William & Mary 36 after a 15-yard punt return by Tereak McCray. On second-and-six, Daniel Thompson hit McCray for 11 yards to the 21-yard line. Summers then took the handoff and followed his blocks before darting around the end of the line on his way to a 21-yard touchdown, the first of his two scores in the game.
William & Mary’s next drive also ended with a punt, but this one was a bad snap that resulted in Elon taking over at the six after Oliver and Cole Taylor brought down the punter. On third-and-goal, Thompson lofted a pass to the back right corner of the end zone where Taylor out-jumped the defensive back for his first career touchdown as the Phoenix took a 17-0 lead with 7:32 left in the first half of play.
The Tribe would put together a 12-play drive and get on the board thanks to a 43-yard Nick Dorka field goal late in the half.
After forcing an Elon punt to open the second half, William & Mary pulled within seven as Steve Cluley completed a 77-yard touchdown pass to DeVonte Dedmon.
Two drives later, the Phoenix put together a 12-play, 80-yard drive to move its advantage back to two touchdowns. Summers touched the ball on eight of the plays, including the final five that accounted for 18 yards. The final play was a two-yard touchdown run by the sophomore with 4:11 to play in the third quarter.
Elon’s final scoring drive started late in the third quarter and went in to the fourth stanza. The maroon and gold drove 70 yards on 14 plays to the Tribe’s 10-yard line where Gallagher hit a 27-yard field goal to complete the scoring effort.
Elon’s defense provided the offense numerous short fields in the first half as five of the team’s seven drives began in plus territory.
Elon – Malcolm Summers (26 carries, 120 yards, 2 TD)
W&M – Albert Funderburke (12 carries, 57 yards)
Elon – Daniel Thompson (13-24, 96 yards, 1 TD)
W&M – Steve Cluley (23-41, 231, 1 TD)
Elon – Tereak McCray (3 receptions, 29 yards)
W&M – Jonathan Dunn (5 receptions, 22 yards)
Elon – John Silas (12 total tackles)
W&M – Stephen Lubnow (7 total tackles, 2 QBH)
Noteworthy: John Silas’ 12 total tackles, the 13th double-digit tackle performance of his career, moved him past Chris Worst (1978-81) into eighth place on the program’s career tackles chart with 313… The Phoenix defense intercepted three passes – one each from Adrian McClendon, Malcolm Galloway and Daniel Reid-Bennett… Summers ran for two scores for the second time in his career… The last time that Elon blocked a punt was in 2014 against Maine… Elon’s last win over a ranked opponent was a 41-34 win at 17th-ranked Furman in 2011
Up Next: Elon returns home to Rhodes Stadium to take on a ranked Villanova squad for Family Weekend. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m.