ELON, N.C. – Elon University football achieved its highest Division I national ranking since the 2008 season Monday, Oct. 8, by checking in at No. 5 in the nation in the STATS FCS poll while ranking No. 6 in the AFCA Coaches Poll.
The advance comes on the heels of the Phoenix defeating previously second-ranked James Madison 27-24 on Saturday, Oct. 6, at Bridgeforth Stadium in Harrisonburg, Va. This week, Elon received 3,281 points in the STATS poll and stands between No. 4 Eastern Washington and a tie for No. 6 between James Madison and Wofford. In the AFCA poll, Elon is sixth with 528 points and is between No. 5 South Dakota State and No. 7 Jacksonville State.
The Phoenix climbed as high as No. 7 last season, but had not reached higher than that since reaching No. 6 for three weeks during the 2009 season. Elon has played two games as a Top 5 Division I program, checking in at No. 3 twice during the 2008 season.
On Saturday, Elon outgained JMU 498-416, marking its best offensive output to date this season. Malcolm Summers ran for 186 yards on 20 carries with a touchdown that put Elon up eight at 20-12 in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter. For his efforts, he was named CAA Offensive Player of the Week and CFPA National Performer of the Week honorable mention. Entering Saturday’s game, the Dukes were allowing opponents just 78.4 yards per game on the ground.
Defensively, Elon came up big on JMU’s final two drives of the day in forcing a pair of turnovers. With 4:16 to play, Jarquez Bizzell punched the ball loose from Dylan Stapleton and Greg Liggs, Jr. fell on it to setup Elon’s game-winning drive. After the Phoenix took the lead at 27-24 with 1:17 to play, Connor Christiansen intercepted Ben DiNucci with 23 seconds to play to seal the Elon victory.
Elon leads CAA Football at No. 5 in the STATS poll and is followed by five other teams in James Madison (No. 6), Rhode Island (No. 16), Towson (No. 17), Stony Brook (No. 19) and Maine (No. 21). In the AFCA poll, No. 6 Elon leads James Madison (No. 8), Rhode Island (No. 15), Towson (No. 18), Stony Brook (No. 20), Maine (No. 22) and Villanova (No. 25).
Up next, the Phoenix will visit Delaware on Saturday, Oct. 13, at Delaware Stadium. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m.