Elon Football Defense Stifles Albany in Shutout Victory

ELON, N.C. – The Elon University football team continued its hot start to the season behind a strong defensive effort that saw the Phoenix record its first shutout since 2009 as the maroon and gold blanked the Albany Great Danes 6-0 in CAA Football action at Rhodes Stadium on Saturday afternoon.


Elon improved to 4-1 for the first time since that 2009 campaign and is 2-0 in CAA Football play for the first time ever. Albany saw its three-game winning streak snapped and sits at 3-2, 1-1 on the year.

The Phoenix defense took the ball away four times, including two interceptions from Tyler Campbell. The unit added four sacks and tallied eight total tackles for a loss in the victory.

Quotable: “It was a great team win. I’m really happy for our guys. It was a tremendous effort by our defense. We just wouldn’t let them in the end zone. A great job by our defensive staff, our players. We wouldn’t be denied. When you win, you win a lot of different ways and this is how we won today. I thought going in that it would be a low-scoring game because I thought we could shut them down, and I thought there defense was pretty good. We did run the ball fairly well on offense a couple of times. We made two key field goals. We keep it exciting.” – head coach Curt Cignetti.

How it happened: The defensive battle was scoreless until less than five minutes remained in the first half. Elon began a drive at its own 34-yard line and handed the ball four straight times to Malcolm Summers who gained 20 yards to the Albany 45. After completions of seven and six yards took the ball to the 33, Summers moved the ball to the 30. The drive would move to the Albany six where the Phoenix would settle for a 23-yard Owen Johnson field goal.

Elon’s second score was set up by Campbell’s interception that was returned 48 yards to the Albany 15-yard line. The Phoenix would gain just five yards, but extended the lead to 6-0 on Johnson’s 27-yard field goal 10 seconds in to the fourth quarter.

It remained a 6-0 game when Albany took over at its own 25 with 1:34 left to play. The Phoenix saw the Great Danes use modest gains to move down the field, reaching Elon territory for just the second time in the half when Will Brunson threw to Jerod Diggs for a gain of 11 yards. After Karl Mofor hauled in a first-down pass for a gain of 11, Albany to get the ball to the Elon 26 with just seconds remaining. Neven Sussman’s first down pass fell incomplete before Daniel Reid-Bennett and Greg Liggs Jr. combined to breakup a heave to the end zone as time expired.

Stat Leaders:
Elon – Malcolm Summers (39 carries, 171 yards)
Albany – Karl Mofor (19 carries, 95 yards)

Elon – Davis Cheek (9-17, 81 yards)
Albany – Will Brunson (14-28, 125 yards)

Elon – Tre Lennon (2 receptions, 47 yards)
Albany – Anthony Manzo-Lewis (5 receptions, 41 yards)

Elon – Warren Messer (12 tackles, 1.0 TFL, 2 PBU
Albany – Nate Hatalsky (12 tackles, 2.0 TFL)

Noteworthy: Elon has defeated three consecutive top-25 opponents for the first time at the FCS level… Elon last defeated three ranked opponents in the same season in 2008… The Phoenix’s four-game winning streak is its longest since closing the 2010 season with four straight wins… Warren Messer tallied 12 tackles and has posted double-digit tackles in all five games this season… Malcolm Summers has carried the ball 109 times for 643 yards over the last three games (he ran 108 times for 513 yards last season).

Up Next: Elon remains at home for another CAA Football contest, this time against William & Mary. The Family Weekend kickoff is set for 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 7.