ELON, N.C. – Ranked No. 15 in the nation, Elon University football posted its largest win over a nationally-ranked opponent Saturday, Sept. 8, in beating No. 21 Furman 45-7 in its 2018 home opener at Rhodes Stadium.
“I can’t say enough about the team effort and the effort the staff put in preparation for this game. It was a great team victory against a team that was a playoff team last year and is ranked,” said Elon head coach Curt Cignetti. “Our guys know and believe we have a chance to be a good football team if we do the things on a daily basis that enable us to be the best we can be.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
On the second play of the game, Greg Liggs, Jr. recovered a fumble forced by McAlister Ingram and took it to the house from 18 yards out to set the tone with a score 53 seconds into the game. Then on Elon’s first offensive drive of the game after Furman missed a field goal, Malcolm Summers broke loose through the middle for a 54-yard touchdown run, marking the longest carry of his career in maroon and gold.
Leading 14-0 after one quarter, the Phoenix engineered back-to-back lengthy touchdown drives to take a 28-0 lead to halftime. First, Elon put together a nine-play, 68-yard drive capped by De’Sean McNair touchdown run from three yards out before it connected a six-play, 80-yard drive that saw Davis Cheek throw for 70 yards with a 30-yard pitch and catch to Matt Foster finishing the drive.
After electing to kick to open the game, Elon received to start the second half and its first drive stalled out. But its next three drives all put points on the board with Jaylan Thomas bouncing a 39-yard carry down the Furman sideline, Skyler Davis hitting his first-career field goal from 36 yards out and Jalen Greene finding the end zone with a 19-yard carry for his second touchdown on the ground in as many weeks.
Elon: Davis Cheek (12-15, 173 yards, 1 touchdown)
Furman: Darren Grainger (6-11, 59 yards)
Elon: Jaylan Thomas (4 carries, 77 yards, 1 touchdown)
Furman: Kealand Dirks (14 carries, 72 yards)
Elon: Kortez Weeks (7 receptions, 114 yards)
Furman: Thomas Gordon (3 receptions, 27 yards)
Elon: Warren Messer (11 tackles, 2 TFL) | McAlister Ingram (11 tackles, 1.0 sacks)
Furman: Elijah McKoy (9 tackles, 1.0 sacks, 1.5 TFL)
-Elon’s 38-point victory is the biggest win over a ranked team since it beat No. 15 Furman back on Oct. 4, 2008, by the score of 31-10.
-Greg Liggs, Jr. returned Elon’s first fumble for a score since Daniel Everett returned a fumble 21 yards on Oct. 7, 2016, against New Hampshire. Saturday marked Liggs’ 21st birthday.
-Elon’s 275 yards mark the most in a game since the Phoenix ran for 368 at Richmond last season.
-The seven points for the Paladins are the fewest by a ranked opponent against the Phoenix since Elon shut out Albany last season. Before that, the six by Wofford on Oct. 31, 2009, marked the fewest.
The Phoenix will open its 2018 CAA Football slate next Saturday, Sept. 15, with a trip to William & Mary. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and will air on Cox Communications. Elon has won back-to-back games against William & Mary, beating the Tribe at Rhodes Stadium on Oct. 7, 2017, and in Williamsburg, Va., on Sept. 24, 2016, when the Tribe was ranked No. 8 in the country.