Elon Football to Host William & Mary on Family Weekend

ELON, N.C. – Winners of four straight games, the Elon University football team will play host to the William & Mary Tribe in a CAA Football contest on Saturday, Oct. 7. The Phoenix and Tribe are scheduled for a 2 p.m. kickoff on Family Weekend at Elon’s Rhodes Stadium.

Fans can watch the game for free on Phoenix All-Access. Phoenix faithful can also listen to the game on WSML 104.5 FM and 1200 AM as well as at 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. William & Mary

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.

• In its win over #19 Albany, Elon posted its first shutout since a 56-0 decision over Davidson in the 2009 season opener
• 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
• The Phoenix, which last earned three wins over ranked opponents in a season in 2008, has defeated three consecutive top-25 opponents for the first time at the FCS level
• Linebacker Warren Messer tallied 12 tackles against the Great Danes and has posted double-digit tackles in all five games this season
• Running back Malcolm Summers has carried the ball 109 times for 643 yards over the last three games after posting 108 carries for 513 yards last season

Elon trails the all-time series with William & Mary by a 2-1 margin. The two did not meet until the Phoenix became a member of CAA Football beginning with the 2014 season. The Tribe won the first two meetings before the Phoenix picked up a 27-10 victory in Williamsburg, Va., last season.

Elon’s 2017 roster sports seven players who call Virginia home. Sophomore linebacker Stephen Copeland (Kellam) and red-shirt freshman Brelynd Cyphers (Green Run) both hail from Virginia Beach. Sophomore twins Ryan (linebacker) and Eric (offensive lineman) Whitehead attended Freedom High and are from South Riding. Red-shirt freshman tight end Chris Rowe (Colonial Forge) is from Fredericksburg. True freshman linebacker Zach Stanley (Woodgrove) hails from Leesburg, while freshman receiver Sam R. Smith (Bishop Ireton) is from Alexandria.

Defensive backs coach Ryan Smith also has Virginia ties, having played at William & Mary.

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 498-444-18 (.528) and needs just two 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 39 consecutive starts, while Udoh’s streak is at 27 games and Toogood’s is at 16 contests. Toogood has made total of 24 career starts. Blair has started 36 straight games and Howell is at 16.

Other players who have started double digit games are offensive lineman Alex Higgins (23 total, 12 consecutive), wide receiver Corey Joyner (19 total, five consecutive), wide receiver Tre Lennon (20 total, three consecutive), quarterback Daniel Thompson (16 total), defensive linemen Nick Groll (14 total) and Daniel Everett (10 total) and linebackers Johnathan Jackson(16 total), Warren Messer (13 total, five consecutive) and Matt Baker (12 total).

For the first time since becoming an FCS member, the Phoenix defeated three straight top-25 opponents. Elon last won two straight over ranked foes in the 2008 campaign. 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 #14 Georgia Southern, #15 Furman and #21 Charleston Southern with the later two coming in consecutive weeks.

Riding a four-game winning streak that includes three consecutive victories over ranked opponents, the Elon football team continued its rise in the national polls on Monday, Oct. 2. The Phoenix climbed from #23 to #18 in the STATS FCS Poll, and moved from the others receiving votes category to #23 in the FCS Coaches Poll this week following a 6-0 victory over #19 Albany. At 4-1, Elon is off to its best start since 2009.

After helping Elon to its first shutout since 2009, junior defensive back Tyler Campbell was selected as the CAA Football Defensive Player of the Week as announced by the league on Monday, Oct. 2.

Campbell made four tackles and intercepted two passes in #23 Elon’s 6-0 shutout of #19 Albany on Saturday. He was part of a sensational defensive effort by the Phoenix, which allowed just 224 total yards to the Great Danes. His second interception was returned 48 yards and set up a fourth-quarter field goal.

In Elon’s victory over #19 Albany, Malcolm Summers continued his string of outstanding rushing performances. The junior toted the ball 39 times for 171 yards, giving him three consecutive outings with at least 170 yards on the ground. In that three-game span, Summers carried the ball 109 times for 643 yards, besting his 2016 season totals of 108 carries for 513 yards.

Over the course of the first five weeks of the season, only two Division I football programs have earned three victories over ranked opponents. Elon has picked up wins over #16 Charleston Southern, #6 Richmond and #19 Albany. The other team to do so is the Clemson Tigers. Clemson has wins over #13 Auburn, #14 Louisville and #12 Virginia Tech.