SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Though 17th-ranked Elon University football led by one at halftime, the Phoenix dropped a 19-7 contest in the first round of the FCS Playoffs on Saturday, Nov. 24, inside Gibbs Stadium.
“It was a hard-fought game, Wofford is a good football team,” said Elon head coach Curt Cignetti. “We certainly had our chances, particularly early, but didn’t convert. On our defense, I’m really proud of their effort and their fight and their tenacity. It wasn’t always perfect – we gave up too many yards between the tackles in the second half – but we fought until the end.”
After Wofford (9-3, 6-2 SoCon) took its first drive of the game 51 yards on 13 plays for a field goal, Elon (6-5, 4-3 CAA) answered with a 16-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Brelynd Cyphers spinning in for a one-yard touchdown run on the second play of the second quarter. On the drive, Daniel Thompson hit Cole Taylor for 22 yards on third-and-11 and Jaylan Thomas broke an 18-yard run to help the Phoenix take a four-point lead.
Defensively throughout the first half, Elon came up with three big third-down stops to get off the field. On Wofford’s first drive, Stephen Copeland came up with a big tackle for loss to hold the Terriers to a field goal. On its second drive, Cole Coleman made a big stop that led to a missed field goal. Deep in the red zone on the third drive, Connor Christiansen went one-on-one with Wofford quarterback Miller Moseley and made the stop to force another field goal.
In the second half, Wofford opened the frame with its first touchdown drive of the game with Nathan Walker carrying in from four yards out. He had 12-, 14-, 15- and eight-yard carries on the way to the score. Following a fumble that gave Wofford the ball back at midfield, the Elon defense forced another field goal that pushed the lead to 16-7 after three quarters. In the end, Wofford added its fourth field goal of the day early in the fourth quarter to take the 19-7 win.
Elon: Jaylan Thomas – 16 carries, 38 yards
Wofford: Nathan Walker – 14 carries, 90 yards, 1 touchdown
Elon: Daniel Thompson – 20-32, 209 yards
Wofford: Joe Newman – 3-5, 12 yards
Elon: Cole Taylor – 9 receptions, 83 yards
Wofford: TJ Luther – 1 reception, eight yards
Elon: Cole Coleman – 11 tackles, 10 solo
Wofford: Jireh Wilson – 7 tackles, 4 solo, 2.0 TFL
-After not turning the ball over in the first half, Elon’s first two drives of the second half ended in turnovers.
-The 12-point loss is the largest for Elon in the FCS Playoffs after dropping its first two games by three points and one point, respectively.
-Elon is now 10-2 when leading at halftime in two seasons under Curt Cignetti. Both losses came this season with defeats to Delaware and Wofford. Elon led 7-6 at the break Saturday.
-With 51 rushing yards on the day, it’s just the third time under Cignetti Elon has been held under 100 yards on the ground and the second-fewest in a game. The only other two occasions came in 2017 against New Hampshire (31 yards) and James Madison (97 yards).
-Cole Taylor has caught 15 passes over the course of Elon’s last two games. He entered last week’s game at Maine with 16 receptions for the season in the first nine games.
-Wofford carried for 344 yards in the contest. It entered the day averaging 330.9 per game for the season.
Elon’s 2019 season will start on Aug. 31 with a trip to Greensboro, N.C., to visit North Carolina A&T. For more information about the 2019 schedule, click here.