ELON, N.C. – Having to play a day earlier than regularly scheduled, the Elon University football team’s two-minute drive was stopped as the visiting New Hampshire Wildcats used two fourth-quarter field goals to defeat the Phoenix 13-10 on Friday night at Rhodes Stadium.
Elon dropped to 2-4 overall and 1-2 in CAA Football action, while UNH improved to 4-2, 3-0 on the year.
Quotable: “I was proud of the way we came out, the energy in which we played with. We were able to put away that bad taste (from last week). It’s a tough loss, though, no question about it.” – Elon head coach Rich Skrosky
How it happened: Elon trailed 7-3 at the break, but was able to grab a 10-7 advantage when Daniel Everett stripped Dalton Crossan of the ball and returned it 21 yards for a touchdown with 4:08 to go in the third quarter.
UNH was able to even things back up at 10 with 10:07 to play as Morgan Ellman, who had already missed one field goal and had another blocked by Malcolm Galloway, finished off a 14-play Wildcat drive with a 40-yard field goal. A 12-yard completion from Trevor Knight to Malik Love on third-and-10 from midfield keyed the drive. UNH would also convert a third-and-six when Knight dashed for 10 yards on the same possession.
The Phoenix saw Malcolm Summers return the ensuing kickoff to the Elon 32 and the Wildcats gave the maroon and gold 15 yards on a pass interference penalty on the first play of the drive. On third-and-three at the UNH 46, Daniel Thompson connected with Jeremiah Bridges for 14 yards to move the chains. Two plays later, Thompson tossed to John Luke Arrington for a gain of 16 to the UNH 16-yard line. The Phoenix would reach the 10 before John Gallagher, who had made his first nine field goal of the season, saw his 27-yard try miss left as the game remained even at 10 with 5:33 showing on the game clock.
Crossan ripped off runs of seven, five, 13 and 30 yards on the first four plays of the UNH drive to take the ball to the Elon 25-yard line. The Wildcats picked up seven yards on the next three plays before Ellman snuck a 35-yard field goal inside the right upright to give UNH the 13-10 lead with just 2:09 remaining.
Elon’s final drive began at its own 27 and the Phoenix faced fourth-and-eight when Thompson and Bridges connected again, this time for a 21-yard gain out to midfield. A 13-yard pass to Brandon Gentry on second down moved the chains to the UNH 37. Thompson’s next three passes were incomplete and Elon went for it on fourth down. Thompson lofted a pass to the back corner of the end zone for Cole Taylor, but Prince Smith made a leaping breakup to secure the game for the Wildcats.
UNH started the scoring when Knight found Jelani Greene open in the end zone for a seven-yard touchdown on the game’s opening drive. Elon got its first three when Gallagher hit a 39-yard field goal midway through the second quarter.
Elon – De’Sean McNair (16 carries, 37 yards)
UNH – Dalton Crossan (28 carries, 152 yards)
Elon – Daniel Thompson (18-34, 176 yards)
UNH – Trevor Knight (22-42, 186 yards, 1 TD)
Elon – Jeremiah Bridges (6 receptions, 56 yards)
UNH – Neill O’Connor (6 receptions, 56 yards)
Elon – Warren Messer (11 total tackles, 0.5 TFL, 2 PBU, 1 QBH)
UNH – Pop Lacey (13 total tackles)
Noteworthy: Everett’s return of a fumble in the field for a touchdown was the first by an Elon player since Mark Hatch’s 20-yard return against Delaware State on Sept. 18, 2004 (Travis Greene recovered a fumble in the end zone for a score against Furman in 2009)… The defensive score was the second for Elon under head coach Rich Skrosky, the other coming on an Adrian McClendon 30-yard interception return against Maine on Nov. 15, 2014… Elon is now 28-28 in games decided by just one score since 1999… The Phoenix has played in 10 games decided by one score under Skrosky.
Up Next: Elon will take next weekend off before playing host to nationally-ranked Richmond for Homecoming at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 22.