Elon Football to Host Albany in Top-25 Showdown

ELON, N.C. – Riding a three-game winning streak that includes a pair of decisions over ranked opponents, the Elon University football team comes back to Rhodes Stadium for a top-25 matchup with the Albany Great Danes. Elon, which is ranked #23 this week, and the Great Danes, ranked #19, will square off in a 2 p.m. contest on the Elon campus on Saturday, Sept. 30.

Fans can watch the game live as part of CAA Football’s Game of the Week package through College Sports Live. Scott Sudikoff and Brandon Noble will have the call on that broadcast. Phoenix faithful can also listen to the game on WSML 104.5 FM and 1200 AM as well as at elonphoenix.com as Taylor Durham and Matt Krause will call the action. The pregame radio coverage will begin at 1 p.m.

9:00 a.m. – Parking lots open
11:30 a.m. – Phoenix Walk
11:40 a.m. – Shuttle bus service begins (route map)
12:30 p.m. – Ticket windows, bag check and gates open
12:30 p.m. – Phun Zone opens
1:45 p.m. – Fire of the Carolinas performs / National anthem
1:45 p.m. – Letterwinner’s Lounge opens in the Walker Room of Alumni Field House
1:59 p.m. – Elon takes the field
2:03 p.m. – Kickoff of Elon vs. Albany

Led by the cheerleaders and band, fans can welcome the Phoenix to Rhodes Stadium during the Phoenix Walk down Bank of America Drive. This week’s walk will occur at 11:30 a.m.

Elon University has implemented a 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)

For more information on ticketing, parking and directions to Rhodes Stadium, please visit the Football Game Day web page.

For the second straight year, Elon will offer a digital game program that includes rosters, stats and video features. Make sure you are prepared for the game by utilizing the digital program.

• After knocking off #6 Richmond 36-33, the Elon University football team returned to the national rankings as the Phoenix checked in at #23 in this week’s STATS FCS poll. Elon’s last national ranking came in late October of 2010.
• With an eight-tackle performance at Richmond, senior Chris Blair became the 10th player in program history to reach 300 career tackles; Blair now has 302 career stops.
• Malcolm Summers recorded the third 100-yard game of his career in the win at Richmond (294 yards), becoming the first Elon player to rush for 100 or more yards in back-to-back games since Jamal Shuman in 2009; Summers also became the first Elon back to run for 200 or more yards since Rashaud Palmer ran for 245 yards in 2002; The rushing total was the 10th-highest in CAA Football history and the most by any player in FCS this season.
• Elon won its CAA Football opener for the third straight season and is now 3-1 in league openers since joining CAA Football.
• The Phoenix enters the game with Albany in search of a fourth consecutive victory; the last time that Elon won four straight was in 2010.

The lone meeting between Elon and Albany occured last season with the Great Danes earning a 27-3 victory in Albany, N.Y.

Elon’s 2017 roster sports just two players who call New York home. Senior defensive lineman Nick Groll hails from Armonk (Byram Hills), while sophomore tight end Matt Foster is from Williamsville (Williamsville South).

Among the coaching staff, a few members have had stints with schools in New York. Defensive coordinator Tony Trisciani spent time at Alfred University and offensive coordinator Drew Folmar was at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. Offensive line coach Damian Wroblewskialso has ties to New York, having coached at both Hofstra University and Stony Brook University. Before returing to Elon, defensive line coach Jerrick Hall coached at Fordham University.

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 497-444-18 (.528) and needs just three 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 38 consecutive starts, while Udoh’s streak is at 26 games and Toogood’s is at 15 contests. Toogood has made total of 23 career starts. Blair has started 35 straight games and Howell is at 15.

Other players who have started double digit games are offensive lineman Alex Higgins (22 total, 11 consecutive), wide receiver Corey Joyner (18 total, four consecutive), wide receiver Tre Lennon (19 total, two consecutive) and quarterback Daniel Thompson (16 total), defensive linemen Nick Groll (14 total) and Daniel Everett (10 total) and linebackers Johnathan Jackson(15 total), Warren Messer (12 total, four consecutive) and Matt Baker (12 total, five consecutive).

For the first time since the 2008 campaign, Elon defeated back-to-back ranked opponents. The Phoenix dropped #16 Charleston Southern 19-17 a week before going on the road and handing #6 Richmond a 36-33 defeat. In that 2008 season, Elon earned wins over #15 Furman and #21 Charleston Southern.

After knocking off sixth-ranked Richmond 36-33, the Elon University football team has returned to the national rankings as the Phoenix checked in at #23 in this week’s STATS FCS poll.

Elon (3-1) is off to its best start since 2011.

The Phoenix earned a total of 743 points, besting #24 Tennessee State by 388 points. Elon is one of six CAA Football programs in the top 25, joining #1 James Madison, #14 Villanova, #15 New Hampshire, #16 Richmond and its opponent this week, #19 Albany.

Elon’s win over #6 Richmond matched the highest-rated opponent that the Phoenix has defeated at the FCS level. In 2007, 24th-ranked Elon went on the road and knocked off sixth-ranked Wofford by a 24-13 margin. It was the third time that Elon has ever defeated a top-10 opponent as the Phoenix won at #8 William & Mary last season.

A week after rushing for 178 yards on 30 carries, junior running back Malcolm Summers carried the ball 40 times for 294 yards in Elon’s win at #6 Richmond. Both numbers were new personal bests. His performance gave him back-to-back games with at least 100 yards rushing, a first for the Phoenix since Jamal Shuman did so in the first two games of the 2009 season. Summers also became the first Elon back to rush for at least 200 yards since Rashaud Palmer ran for 245 yards in 2002. The rushing total tied for the second most ever by an Elon player, was the 10th-highest in CAA Football history and the most by any player in FCS this season.

Following an incredible individual performance in a win at #6 Richmond, Elon junior running back Malcolm Summers was named the CAA Football co-Offensive Player of the Week. Summers rushed for a career-high 294 yards on a career-best 40 carries as Elon picked up a 36-33 win. The rushing total was the 10th-highest in CAA Football history and the most by any player in FCS this season. Summers became the first Elon back since 2002 to top 200 yards and the first to exceed the 100-yard mark in back-to-back games since 2009.