ELON, N.C. – In its regular season finale on Saturday, Nov. 18, the 11th-ranked Elon University football team suffered a 31-3 setback to the nation’s top rated team, the James Madison Dukes.
The Phoenix saw its record dip to 8-3 overall and 6-2 in CAA Football play, while JMU improved to 11-0, 8-0 on the year. Elon will now await announcement of the NCAA Division I FCS Playoff field to see if its season will continue. The field will be revealed in an 11 a.m. show on ESPNU on Sunday, Nov. 19.
Quotable: “They’ve (JMU) got a lot of talent, but they’re also very experienced and mature. That’s a seasoned football team, and they played like a championship team today, and they deserve a lot of credit. I did think early in the game we ran the ball fairly well. We had a couple of fourth-down opportunities where we took a shot and tried to isolate a safety on a double-move route for a big hit. I thought… we’d have to hit one or two of those kinds of things. We didn’t play quite as well defensively as I thought we would in the first half, but I thought we tightened up defensively and played well in the second half.” – Curt Cignetti, Elon head coach
How it happened: JMU was able to get on the board first as Ethan Ratke’s 19-yard field goal capped a 10-play, 78-yard drive to make it 3-0 with 1:27 to go in the first quarter.
It remained a 3-0 contest until about five minutes into the second period. The first JMU drive of the quarter began at its 36 after Elon was unable to convert on fourth down. A 10-yard connection from Bryan Schor to Ishmael Hyman on third-and-five gave the Dukes a first down just across midfield. JMU would move the chains again on third down when Schor hit John Miller for a gain of 25 to the Elon 21-yard line. On the next play, Schor kept on the read option and ran around the left end for a 21-yard touchdown.
JMU would carry a 17-0 advantage into halftime after Schor finished off a 45-yard drive with a two-yard plunge. The lead then grew to 24-0 when D’Angelo Amos knifed through the line to block an Elon punt. Amos would pick up the loose ball at the six-yard line and carry it in for the score.
The Phoenix got on the board in the fourth quarter thanks to an Owen Johnson 30-yard field goal. During the 78-yard drive, Davis Cheek completed two passes for 60 yard thanks to strikes of 29 yards to Cole Taylor and 31 yards to Matt Foster.
Schor would finish off one more drive with a rushing score, this one coming from six yards out to cap the scoring.
Elon – Brelynd Cyphers (20 carries, 74 yards)
JMU – Bryan Schor (9 carries, 76 yards, 3 TDs)
Elon – Davis Cheek (8-18, 125 yards)
JMU – Bryan Schor (22-29, 214 yards)
Elon – Cole Taylor (2 receptions, 50 yards)
JMU – John Miller (7 receptions, 59 yards)
Elon – Chris Blair (9 tackles, 0.5 TFL)
JMU – Kyre Hawkins (11 tackles, 0.5 TFL)
Noteworthy: Connor Christiansen intercepted the first pass of his career… Elon concluded the regular season with a 4-1 record at Rhodes Stadium, its best home record since an identical 4-1 ledger in 2010… Six of Elon’s 10 regular season games against FCS opponents were against ranked foes.