Elon Phoenix Football Continues on the Road With Date at Furman

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University football team will take to the road again in week two, as the Phoenix heads south to take on former Southern Conference rival Furman. The Phoenix and Paladins are slated to kickoff at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 9 at Furman’s Paladin Stadium.


Fans can watch the game live on ESPN3 and can hear the radio call on WSML 104.5 FM and 1200 AM. Elon’s pregame radio coverage will hit the airwaves at 12 p.m. The radio broadcast is also available at elonphoenix.com.

• Elon played eight true freshmen in its season opener at Toledo last Thursday night.
• The Phoenix did not allow Toledo’s Logan Woodside to throw a touchdown pass last week. Woodside had thrown at least one TD pass in 12 consecutive games and led the nation with 45 scoring tosses a year ago.
• This will mark Elon’s first game against a Southern Conference member since the maroon and gold left the league following the 2013 football season.
• Furman is the first of four Elon opponents to be under the leadership of a new head coach. The others are Charleston Southern, Richmond and Villanova.
• The Phoenix has won each of the last three meetings at Paladin Stadium and has come away with a victory in five of the last six contests against Furman.

Elon and Furman played every season from 1999-2013, the final 11 meetings coming as SoCon rivals. Overall, the two programs have squared off 17 times with the Paladins holding an 11-6 edge in the series that dates to 1920. While Furman leads the series, Elon has had more success lately. The Phoenix has come out victorious in five of the last six meetings and has won each of the last three in Greenville.

In its history, Elon has posted a 61-75-2 record against current Southern Conference programs. Western Carolina is the most common SoCon opponent for the maroon and gold as the two have met 43 times with Elon holding a 24-17-2 advantage in that series.

Elon’s 2017 roster sports a quartet of players who call South Carolina home. Senior linebacker Johnathan Jackson hails from Moore (Dorman), while junior quarterback Daniel Thompson is from Boiling Springs (Boiling Springs). Red-shirt freshman kicker Jack Pawloski calls Florence (Wilson) home and true freshman linebacker Tiras Williams is from Anderson (T.L. Hanna).

Now in its 96th season, the Elon football program is closing in on its 500th all-time victory. Elon has an all-time record of 494-444-18 (.526) and needs just six wins to reach the milestone of 500 victories.

Elon is under the leadership of Curt Cignetti who was named the program’s 22nd head football coach on Dec. 31, 2016. The assistant coach/recruiting coordinator on Nick Saban’s undefeated 2009 National Championship team at Alabama, Cignetti spent the previous six seasons as the head coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, amassing a record of 53-17.

Cignetti is the sixth man to guide the Phoenix since the program moved to Division I play for the 1999 season.

Elon’s first-year head coach Curt Cignetti grew up around football. His father Frank compiled a career 199-77-1 record as a collegiate head coach at West Virginia and IUP and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013. His brother Frank Jr. is currently the quarterbacks coach for the New York Giants.

Elon returns five players who started all 11 games of the 2016 season – offensive linemen Ikenna Nwokeji, CJ Toogood and Oli Udoh as well as defensive lineman Dondre Howell and defensive back Chris Blair.

Nwokeji has now made 35 consecutive starts, while Udoh’s streak is at 23 games and Toogood’s is at 12 contests. Toogood has made total of 20 career starts. Blair has started 32 straight games and Howell is at 12.

Other players who have started double digit games are offensive lineman Alex Higgins (19 total, eight consecutive), wide receiver Corey Joyner (15 total), wide receiver Tre Lennon (17 total) and quarterback Daniel Thompson (16 total), defensive lineman Nick Groll (14 total) and linebacker Johnathan Jackson (15 total).

Elon’s 2017 roster features five players who earned their bachelor’s degrees last spring. Those five are defensive back Chris Blair, offensive linemen Graham Albright and Ikenna Nwokeji and defensive linemen Nick Groll and Dondre Howell. That number rates second in CAA Football behind James Madison’s 10 graduates.

Taylor Durham ’96 has assumed the play-by-play duties for the Phoenix for the 2017 season. Durham moves to the play-by-play role following eight seasons as the primary color commentator for Elon football. Durham will continue his duties on men’s basketball radio broadcasts this upcoming season on WSML 104.5 FM and 1200 AM as well.

Joining Durham this year will be Matt Krause ’16 who returns to his alma mater as the color analyst for Phoenix football. Krause has previously served Elon Athletics as the play-by-play voice for women’s basketball on Phoenix All-Access and called baseball and basketball games on WSOE, Elon’s student radio station. Krause currently serves as the radio voice of the Burlington Royals minor league baseball team and will continue to serve in play-by-play duties on men’s basketball broadcasts on Phoenix All-Access.