ELON, N.C. – Playing the longest football game in Elon University history, the Phoenix and William & Mary Tribe went five overtimes to decide a winner with the Tribe taking a 31-29 victory to spoil Homecoming at Rhodes Stadium.
Heading to the fourth quarter down 23-17 after a Tribe touchdown and missed extra point, Elon (4-5, 3-3 CAA) rallied thanks to Skyler Davis hitting two field goals from 31 and 30 yards out with the second connection splitting the uprights with 1:35 to play to tie the game. With William & Mary (3-6, 1-4 CAA) driving for the win, Kris Hooper’s 49-yard field goal attempt missed wide right, sending the game to overtime.
Five sessions later with the game transitioning to one-play drives from the three-yard line in the fifth overtime, William & Mary converted on its possession as Owen Wright carried the ball in for what was effectively a two-point conversion on the scoreboard. Elon’s possession saw Davis Cheek look for Cole Taylor on the left side of the end zone, but the pass was broken up as Taylor went to the ground with William & Mary taking the win.
To start overtime, Greg Liggs, Jr., punched the ball free on the first possession to set Elon up with a chance to win. Tribe quarterback Hollis Mathis rushed 21 yards to the goal line, but Liggs poked the ball free at the one and McAllister Ingram fell on the loose ball. Though Elon went backwards on its ensuing possession, Davis connected on a 53-yard field goal but William & Mary called timeout before the snap. After the stoppage, Davis’s would-be school record-long field goal hit the right upright to send the game to a second overtime.
With neither side able to convert in the second overtime, both teams found the end zone in the third overtime. William & Mary scored first to put the pressure on the Elon offense, but the Phoenix answered with Cheek hitting Matt Foster in the back of the end zone to tie the game. With teams required to go for two once the game reached the third overtime, both sides couldn’t convert and the game pressed on to a fourth extra session, resulting in two missed field goals to send the contest into what was the decisive fifth overtime period.
In regulation, Elon answered William & Mary’s first-quarter field goal with a 13-play, 80-yard drive that saw Joey Baughman carry in from one yard out. Trading touchdowns in the final minutes of the second quarter, Elon took a 14-10 lead to the locker room at halftime with Cheek finding Kortez Weeks from four yards out with 1:58 to go before half. After the break, three Davis field goals were all Elon could put on the board, but it was enough to send the game to overtime.
Elon: Davis Cheek – 28/42, 247 yards, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception
William & Mary: Hollis Mathis – 10/21, 176 yards, 1 touchdown
Elon: De’Sean McNair – 8 carries, 34 yards
William & Mary: Owen Wright – 13 carries, 113 yards, 1 touchdown
Elon: Cole Taylor – 7 receptions, 61 yards
William & Mary: Kane Everson – 4 receptions, 64 yards
Elon: Greg Liggs, Jr. – 12 tackles, 8 solo, 1 forced fumble, 2 PBU
William & Mary: Gavin Johnson – 9 tackles, 6 solo, 3.0 TFL, 3.0 sacks, 1 QBH
-Elon’s previous longest game was in 2015 when it beat Gardner-Webb in triple overtime 21-13 on the road.
-Last time Elon went to overtime was Homecoming 2017 when the Phoenix beat Towson 33-30. That game just went two overtime sessions, though.
-With William & Mary putting points on the board first, it marks the first time this season Elon has not scored first against FCS competition with the only other occasion in 2019 coming at Wake Forest.
-Joey Baughman’s second-quarter touchdown marks the third-straight game he’s found the end zone and the fourth rushing TD of the stretch.
-Though not coming away with an interception, Greg Liggs, Jr. had a career-high 12 tackles – eight solo – with a forced fumble and two pass breakups.
-Devonte Chandler also had a breakout day with a career-best 11 tackles and 0.5 for loss.
Elon will close the regular-season home slate on Saturday, Nov. 9, with a 2 p.m. contest against Maine at Rhodes Stadium. Last season, Elon and Maine battled to the bitter end with the Black Bears earning a 27-26 win in Orono to claim the 2018 CAA Football regular-season title.